It's a great time to buy RAM: DDR3 prices lowest in 26 months

Ddr Ram

If there's a new PC build in your future, you're in luck: it's a great time to buy DDR3 RAM. DDR3 has hit its lowest price point in 26 months, according to a recent report from the DRAMeXchange. A chip of DDR3 memory now costs only $2.92. As Overclock3D points out, that works out to $27.50 for a full 4GB DDR3 module. Even if you don't have a pressing need for new RAM, well, it might be time to stock up anyway.

It may seem like hardware component prices should always be trending downwards. New advancements in technology should make older tech cheaper and easier to produce year after year, right? While that may be true in general, the physical realities of manufacturing often throw a wrench in things. Flooding in Thailand in 2011 sent hard drive prices soaring for two years. In the case of RAM, a fire at a Hynix factory in late 2013 sent DDR3 prices spiking upwards.

Today's news is significant, since it means DDR3 is finally cheaper than it was two years ago. If you're not in a hurry to buy new PC components, you don't need to rush out to grab a handful of DDR3 kits—it's always a good idea to wait for a a killer sale. But looking at a few RAM kits on Amazon, prices are clearly better than they've been in a long time. This Corsair Vengeance kit is a good example of the arc over the past four years, although it's still sitting at a higher price than it reached in early 2013.

Charts via

By comparison, this particular Kingston HyperX kit hasn't been on sale as long, but the price has dropped steadily since early 2014, and is now at its lowest point ever.

RAM prices Kingston HyperX

According to the Digitimes report, DRAM prices are expected to rise in Q3 of this year as new iPhones go into production. That makes this summer the best time to buy some new DDR3 for your existing rig or a new build, with one exception: if you plan on updating to Intel's Skylake or AMD's next-gen Zen CPUs in 2016, you may want to make the move to DDR4 RAM. Both new platforms will support DDR4 as well as DDR3. Right now, DDR4 is still very expensive, and its faster speeds don't make much of a difference in gaming. Unless you want to be on the cutting edge, DDR3 is still a safe (and cheaper) buy for another year or two.

The RAM from our recommended gaming PC build has dropped $25 in the past two months, while the RAM in our high-end gaming PC build has dropped $20. Our recommended budget RAM has dropped a couple bucks as well.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).