If you're in the market for some DDR4 RAM, now...is not a great time to buy. While updating our high-end PC build guide, we noticed that DDR4 prices had spiked in recent weeks, from a relatively steady $60-$70 for 2x8GB to $75+. For example, take a look at PC Part Picker's price history for G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 over the last six months:
So what's the deal? We reached out to a few memory makers to find out. According to our sources, the DDR4 price increase is due to a number of factors, but primarily smartphones are to blame. Essentially, mobile phone production using DDR4 chips is on the rise.
The most recent generation of smartphones from the last year or so have been utilizing DDR4 memory, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the HTC One M9, but thus far that hadn't really affected RAM prices. But that's changed in recent days. The launch of the Google Pixel as well as the Le Pro 3 from LeEco, the Chinese hardware conglomerate currently moving in on the US technology market, has increased demand for DDR4 memory. Combine that with the recent Samsung Note 7 debacle—and the company scrambling to produce replacements for its exploding phones—and the DDR4 market is under more strain than ever.
So what does this mean for for DDR4 prices? The market should stabilize, eventually, especially after the Note situation becomes less relevant. But more and more smartphones are utilizing DDR4 memory, so we might have to start getting used to a new normal when it comes to RAM prices. We'll see.