Micron Explains Reason For DDR5 Shortage And It's Not Because Of Memory Chips

Micron DDR5 Memory Module
If you head over to Newegg, you'll notice that almost all of the DDR5 memory listings carry the dreaded 'OUT OF STOCK' badge, and in all-caps for good measure. The only DDR5 kits available are from marketplace sellers who have jacked up pricing beyond the premium that DDR5 already commands. Given that Alder Lake is the only platform that supports DDR5 memory, how is it that companies like Micron are having a hard time making enough chips to satisfy demand? Simply put, they're not.

During a recent earnings call to discuss its quarterly earnings, Micron explained that the reason DDR5 demand is "significantly exceeding supply" is because suppliers are having a rough time sourcing non-memory components. The insinuation is that Micron can make enough DDR5 chips to satisfy demand, it's just that the other parts that comprise a memory module are not as readily available.

The good news is, this should ease a bit next year.

"Across the PC industry, demand for DDR5 products is significantly exceeding supply due to non-memory component shortages impacting memory suppliers' ability to build DDR5 modules. We expect these shortages to moderate through 2022, enabling bit shipments of DDR5 to grow to meaningful levels in the second half of calendar 2022," Micron CEO and president Sanjay Mehrotra said during the call.

Micron did not get into specifics about the components that are in short supply, but it likely means power management ICs (PMICs), voltage regulating modules (VRMs), and possibly even printed circuit boards (PCBs) that are strained right now.

It's those first two parts that are the most likely culprits, though. DDR5 employs both components rather than continue to have the motherboard handle those chores, and it will take some time for the industry to adjust.

There's plenty of motivation to get on the ball, too. Intel is about to expand its Alder Lake lineup with a bunch of less expensive SKUs, more mainstream chipsets are coming, and AMD will get around to supporting DDR5 with the arrival of Zen 4 next year. In addition, Micron anticipates a ramp in demand for DDR5 memory in the server space next year as well.