January was an interesting month for memory, with several factors affecting the market. Here’s where things are today:
DDR3 – after falling to $11/$17/$37 for 1G/2G/4G PC/laptop modules, DDR3 rallied some and now stands at $12.50/$20.50/$40.00. This was caused by a couple of things:
- Chinese New Year – US vendors stocked up to bide the week while Asia suppliers are out.
- Due to the Sandy Bridge production problems, some newly produced modules were not compatible with the Sandy Bridge technology. In order to grab their needed quantity of modules that would work with Sandy Bridge, computer makers bought up the shelf stock of older production model modules which were not having compatibility problems.
- Most chip manufacturers are converting to new, smaller dies but are having some yield issues, so are not producing as many chips as they forecasted
The x16 in all technologies continues to get a premium of price versus their computing x4 and x8 equivalents, largely due to consumer electronics strength and need. PC133/SDRAM usage is down significantly, though the Samsung 8x16 is still the most popular item we see in shortage. DDR1 usage has also decreased significantly over the last two quarters, and pricing is stable, though not many parts are getting moved around. DDR2 is still the most active among x16 product and is a bit tight in the market with stable pricing that has not fallen for a quarter. DDR3 is becoming more widely used, but product from chip manufacturers is still not available to a large part of the open market. Pricing is coming down some, since new technology pricing always does.
Most large block NAND chips (densities 2GB or more) have increased in price significantly in the last six weeks, especially since mid January. 8GB MLC have gone from an average of $4.75 to $6.00, 8GB SLC from $5.50 to $7.50. 16GB & 32GB are the other sizes mainly hit with the pricing hikes, while 64GB has increased a smaller fraction and 128GB maintains about the same price. (The 128GB stays flat because even though it’s tight in delivery, as a new technology it still has a downward pricing momentum – so the two cancel each other out, in essence).