The price of DRAM chips has been relatively stable throughout the mess that was 2020, but according to hkepc, the stock price of the DRAM memory chips found within our PC's RAM has shot up by a whopping 20-30 percent since December last year.
That's thanks in no small part to the latest movements of memory manufacturers, along with a continually increasing demand for PC parts. And it doesn't look like its going to stop there.
It seems that SK Hynix, Micron and Samsung, leading memory manufacturers who take up around 95 percent of the market combined, have been slowly reducing their investment in memory throughout 2020, or at least not sink much more into the production of said chips.
Samsung, in particular, the world’s largest DRAM chip manufacturer, has been switching things up to cope with the many pressures of the market. It's reported (via etnews, hkepc) that Samsung's plans to convert its 300mm "13 line" DRAM production facility in Hwasung to produce contact image sensors (CIS), for use within flatbed scanners, instead of DRAM.
13 line currently produces about 100,000 units of DRAM per month. But once the conversion is over, production capacity will be reduced by about 50 percent.
Plans have already been underway since last year to convert another Hwasung DRAM line to the same effect, and the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
With 13 line following suit soon after, capacity for memory production will be dropping quite significantly over the next year. This decision will likely mark a further upturn in DRAM prices—which doesn't bode well for us PC builders.
We've already seen issues with GDDR6 supply wracking the global GPU market, and this all comes at a time when manufacturers are increasing prices due to increased component costs and tariffs. Now we're going to have to worry about being able to afford memory upgrades, too.
So, if you're planning to upgrade your PC, maybe now's the time. Before the memory giants abandon us to our expensive fate.
It wasn't that long ago that memory was far more expensive than it is today, however, costs crashed pretty swiftly over the past few years. Perhaps that leaves some some hope for RAM prices to maintain at a steady low ebb over 2021 yet.