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Why Do RAM Prices Change So Much?

Why Do RAM Prices Change So Much

If you’ve ever suddenly needed to buy a computer memory or an SSD, there’s a good chance that you have either experienced sticker shock or a pleasant surprise when you looked up how much it costs. Both the RAM and the NAND flash holding the inside SSDs are notorious for fluctuating in price more than other components. But why? Before we answer that, let us tell you about Augusta Computer Experts in Grovetown GA. The best when it comes to computer and laptop repairing services in town.

RAM And Flash Memory Prices Seem To Go Up And Down A Lot – But Why?

As it turns out, the main reason is that RAM is a commodity good. When we say commodity we mean that good which can be used in different type of markets. Think about corn for example. You can eat it but it can also be used for everything from animal feed to biofuel. So large amount of it are regularly sold to many types of businesses. The DRAM and NAND markets work in a similar way. Nearly all modern electronic devices need both RAM and flash storage, not just computers.

By comparison, something like an x86 computer from Intel is really only being sold to two kinds of market. System integrators like Dell or HP; or retailers. You also have the fact that DRAM and NAND can be shipped off more or less unchanged to these different customers. For example the RAM that is inside your computer is not too dissimilar from the RAM inside your phone. So if the RAM manufacturer is trying to increase the supply to serve a bunch of different user cases. All they really have to do is shrink the process note so they can fit more RAM chips on wafer. Then they put it up like a square cut pizza and send however many chips to buyers, serving each of these different segments.

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Contrast that with something like contrasting displays where different resolutions and panel types mean that serving many different markets is much more challenging for any single consolidated manufacturer. So this ends up meaning more external forces on how much DRAM and NAND will cost you. Also means that manufacturers have a much harder time estimating how much supply they need to keep on hand. That means supply shortages are more likely.

Shortages Can Be Caused By Many Different Things Like:

  • There can be unforeseen high demand when a hot new phone comes out.
  • A service that cause spike in demand on the server side of things.

Think about how much memory Google might suddenly require if their Stadia game streaming services take off. Other times, supply can be strained by production problems such as power outages. That disable the system’s use to maintain their dust-free environment on the production line. It means that manufacturers have to scrap whatever’s on the line and start from scratch. This might only set things back a week or two and has a minimal impact on prices. But other times natural disasters like earthquakes and fires shut down factories for month at time. This results in significant shortages in supply.

There have even been times when memory prices have pushed down below the manufacturing cost for the DRAM chips because it’s worse for the manufacturer to shut down the factories than to keep pumping out chips at a loss.

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