Optimistic DRAM Pricing Forecasts Spell Good News For PC Users In Q4 2021
This has been a tough year to try and build a new PC, with a shortage of components affecting certain high-end CPUs and especially the GPU market. We could use a bit good news at this point, right? Well here it is—at least memory pricing is predicted to come down a bit, with supply expected to outpace demand in the fourth quarter of this year.
According to the market research folks at TrendForce, memory makers hit peak production levels in the third quarter of this year. As we roll into the final three months of the year, the firm says there will be a surplus of DRAM, on top of suppliers already having a "healthy level of inventory" to begin with, resulting in a dip in price.
To what extent? Parts that are in oversupply could see a decline exceeding 5 percent sequentially. And looking at the DRAM market as a whole, the firm expects the average selling price to drop by around 3-8 percent in the fourth quarter.
Those figures apply to all types of DRAM. Regarding memory products specifically for PCs—assuming both notebooks and desktops—prices could drop by as much as 10 percent next quarter.
"It should also be pointed out that, on average, the current spot prices of PC DRAM modules are far lower than their contract prices for 3Q21. TrendForce therefore expects an imminent 5-10 percent QoQ decline in PC DRAM contract prices for 4Q21, with potential for declines that are even greater than 10 percent for certain transactions, as PC OEMs anticipate further price drops in PC DRAM prices in the future," TrendForce says.
Server DRAM pricing is expected to decline as well, though quite as sharply—by up to 5 percent. At present, vendors and North America and China are sitting on more than eight weeks of inventory in the server sector.
Not surprisingly, consumer DDR4 memory products could see the biggest decline in pricing. TrendForce mostly pins this on the "gradual easing of lockdowns in Europe and North America," but interestingly does not point to the impending launch of DDR5 memory products.
Intel is getting ready to bring its next-generation Alder Lake CPUs to market, which will officially begin the DDR5 era in the consumer sector. Alder Lake and its accompanying Z690 platform also support DDR4, though enthusiasts building or upgrading their PCs to Alder Lake might be more inclined to go with a DDR5 platform, even if the initial DDR5 products aren't much faster than DDR4 (in a bid to future-proof, as much as that is possible). Or maybe not—time will tell.