Memory Prices Climb to Multiyear Highs as Shortage Continues into 2017
DRAM Market Update
Personal computer memory prices have climbed to multiyear highs as chipmakers give priority to meeting demand from smartphone manufacturers, restricting the supply of memory chips for PCs. DRAM prices are now at a 19-month high.
The February price of 4-gigabit DDR4 DRAM, installed in many of this winter’s new models, rose 3% from the prior month to around $3.30 apiece. The price of benchmark 4-gigabit DDR3 DRAM is around $3, remaining high after rising for eight straight months through January.
NAND Flash Chips Used In Solid State Drives (SSD)
The prices PC manufacturers paid in February for 64-gigabit MLC-type NAND flash memory rose 1% to around $3.60, while 128-gigabit chips climbed 4%. NAND prices have hit the highest in three years. In response to soaring demand for memory used in smartphones, chipmakers have ramped up production of those products at the expense of chips for PCs. Many point out that Chinese smartphone manufacturers have increased procurement for new models due out in the spring or later.
Given the higher DRAM and NAND prices, prices of solid-state drives, or SSDs, are rising as well. The February price of 128-gigabyte MLC SSDs was around $54, up 3% from the prior month. Officials at NEC Personal Computers indicate that these drives are starting to be installed in high-end laptops in particular, but are in short supply.
Manufacturers are racing to begin mass production of 3D flash memory to cope with the demand surge. For now, such chips are pricier than older technologies, but promise higher storage capacity and energy efficiency. Prices on the components are seen dropping to mass-market levels starting next year, putting them into wider use.