RAM PRICES STILL SKY HIGH

US $100We have continued to notice RAM prices are still double what they were only a few years ago. The usual scapegoat is digital coin miners.

One problem is that RAM is now consolidated into only 3 larger companies with Samsung being the largest supplier.

The chart tracks 4 sticks of 4GB DDR4-3000 which has been around for a few years now. The chart is from pcpartpicker.com which has been archiving prices which we are grateful for.

We are aware that an investigation into possible illegal price fixing but we are aware that Samsung is operating at capacity so they are not taking any illegal actions. Micron is also near capacity.

crucial_ddr4_memoryThe US and China both are investigating the high prices and China is especially unhappy as they currently have no foundries making memory. Chinese smartphone manufacturers such as Huawei, Xiaomi and Vivo have very high demand for memory chips to equip millions of devices.

Hynix makes memory for video cards in addition to standard DRAM and they have been able to keep up with AMD and NVIDIA orders for video cards. Video card prices have come down closer to MSRP.

We are aware that more foundries are being built to manufacture semiconductors and we suspect more RAM will be manufactured as the margins are so lucrative at the moment.

China has some companies who are building foundries to make DRAM. Xi-an UnIC Semiconductor bought the assets of Infineon and they are now producing a wide range of DRAM memory. Fujian Jin Hua Integrated Circuit and Innotron Memory are similarly working to start shipping DRAM before the end of 2019, though it is unclear if these products will make it outside of China.

Sales of memory are about 75% higher than 12 months ago which can account for only some of the price increases.

In 2005, Samsung was fined $300 million for DRAM price fixing. The case also involved Hynix (now SK Hynix), Infineon and Micron. Here is the 2118 lawsuit filed on April 27, 2018, filed in US District Court, Northern District of California.

VIDEO CARDS

If you look at a post from l18 months on video cards and look at prices today, your eyes would bulge out. Prices for even mainstream cards are double what MSRP were.