Don't Panic But DDR5 And DDR4 Are Poised For Price Hikes, SSD Storage Too

G.Skill RAM installed in a motherboard.
As consumers, we've been a little spoiled with RAM prices over the past few years. A continued overabundance of chips on the supply side kept retail prices steadily trending downward, even (and especially) for DDR5 kits, which were sky high (compared to DDR4) at the outset. Unfortunately, DDR5 and DDR4 kits are about to cost a bit more, according to a fresh TrendForce report.

The market research firm anticipates a "universal price increase" on both DRAM and NAND flash memory chips starting this quarter. Chip suppliers have grown tired of taking it on the chin and are now "resistant to further price reductions, instead pushing for aggressive increases," the report states.

"This stance sets the stage for an anticipated rise in DDR4 prices by 0–5% and DDR5 prices by around 3–8% in the fourth quarter. Overall, as DDR5 adoption accelerates, an approximate 3–8% quarterly increase is projected for PC DRAM contract prices during this period," TrendForce says.

According to the report, Samsung's DDR4 wafer inputs have "notably shrunk" after the chip maker "intensified production cutbacks." This in turn caused a "supply crunch" for inventory levels of server-based DDR4 memory.

"This scenario leaves no leeway for further server DDR4 price reductions. In response, manufacturers, aiming to enhance profits, are accelerating DDR5 output," the report states.

Those significant production reductions purportedly began in September as a means to diminish a surplus of old inventory. It's said that those cuts will hit 30% this quarter. More importantly, the report says manufacturers are aiming to drive up consumer DRAM contract prices by at least 10% to stave off further losses.

Here's a broad overview of what this all means...
  • DDR5: going up 3-8%
  • DDR4: going up 0-5%
  • Graphics DRAM: going up 3-8%
  • Mobile LPDDR5X: going up 3-8%
  • Mobile LPDDR4X: going up 5-10%
The report also mentions a price hike for NAND flash memory but doesn't go into any real detail. If that plays out, however, it means that solid state drives (SSDs) could become more expensive too.

Why You Shouldn't Panic About Rising RAM And SSD Prices

G.Skill RGB RAM installed in a Falcon Northwest PC.
We're never keen on paying more for the same products but that doesn't necessarily mean you should start  hording RAM and SSDs as if a PC component apocalypse looms. There are some key factors to consider. For one, we're on the cusp of the holiday shopping season, which means Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts will flood the marketplace. These aren't just single day events anymore, either. Retailers typically begin pushing deals and doorbuster discounts in early November and then continue the shopping frenzy into December.

Secondly, anticipated price hikes of up to 5% for DDR4 and 8% for DDR5 won't be felt in same way that higher priced GPUs were during the shortage. For example, this 16GB Kingston DDR5-5200 RAM kit is $69.99 right now. If it did shoot up by 8%, it would cost $75.59.

Obviously the increases get amplified when looking at pricier kits. But memory pricing is in a good place right now, to where a single-digit percentage increase wouldn't necessarily amount to a whole lot of money. That said, you definitely want to keep an eye on the market to see where things trend in 2024. And if you are in need for a RAM or storage upgrade, you'll want to pull the trigger sooner than later, just in case prices do keep ascending into next year.
Tags:  SSD, DRAM, ddr4, ddr5