PC DRAM Contract Prices Continue Downward Spiral, Good News For Consumers

Memory prices are falling, folks, and just in time for the holiday shopping season. That's the good news. The even better news is that this might be the start of a longer term price drop, or price correction, if you prefer, after the cost of memory chips skyrocketed over the past year. We're not talking about nominal price drops either, but significant ones.

According to DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, major DRAM suppliers are coming off of contract negotiations that saw the contract prices of PC DRAM products "turn downward sharply" in October. Compared to the previous quarter, the average contract price of a 4GB DRAM module dropped 10.14 percent. Similarly, the contract price for an 8GB DRAM module fell 10.29 percent sequentially.

"As the indicator of the price trend in the contract market, spot prices have kept falling since the early 2018 and continued their downtrend from September... While the oversupply situation and the falling spot prices pull contract prices of PC DRAM modules downward, the market penetration of 8GB modules is starting to increase very rapidly because suppliers have aggressively expanded shipments of the higher-density products," said Avril Wu, senior director of DRAMeXchange.

Prior to the recent price drops, the cost of DRAM had risen for nine consecutive quarters. The timing couldn't have been worse, either. For one, PC gaming has seen a bit of a resurgence over the past year, thanks in part to the growing esports category. The rising cost of RAM put new and existing PC players in a bind—either pony up for more RAM and perhaps sacrifice another part of the PC build, or go with a less capacious and slower memory kit.

On top of that, the cryptocurrency gold rush wreaked havoc on the graphics card market for most of the past year. So, anyone planning to build a new PC or upgrade an existing one had to contend with jacked up prices on both the GPU and memory.

Cryptocurrency mining on GPUs has since bottomed out, and DRAM is getting there. Looking ahead, DRAMeXchane expects the average selling price to decline by as much as 20 percent year-over-year in 2019. So, be on the lookout for cheaper memory kits.