DRAM Prices Projected To Rise 23 Percent During Q2 In Latest Blow To PC Enthusiasts

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It is currently a horrible time to build a new gaming PC. From COVID-19 demand to chip shortages, droughts, and a cryptocurrency boom, many factors make obtaining critical components like high-end processors and graphics cards hard to find at MSRP. Over the weekend, we even heard about the potential for a shortage of SSDs and HDDs due to rising Chinese crypto coin.

Today, more bad news is coming in for those looking to build a new rig or upgrade an existing one. Research firm TrendForce projects that DRAM prices will surge between 18 to 23 percent for Q2 2021 versus Q1 2021. The 18 to 23 percent range is for the overall DRAM market, but higher increases are expected for consumer PC DRAM versus the server DRAM market.

According to TrendForce, there has already been a 25 percent increase in the average selling price (ASP) of DDR4-2666 modules, which is trending higher than previously forecast. This comes at a time when DRAM suppliers are negotiating with PC OEMs are contract pricing.

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Much of the upwards pricing pressure is attributed to the soaring demand for laptop computers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, laptops have been leading PC market sales resurgence. This is compounded by the fact that Q2 tends to be the peak seasonal period for laptop production.

"PC ODMs are now estimated to increase their quarterly production of notebook computers by about 7.9% QoQ in 2Q21," writes TrendForce. "[COVID-19] vaccination rates remain relatively low across the globe, meaning WFH and distance education are likely to persist and create continued demand for notebook computers, thereby further expanding the hike in PC DRAM prices."

Not only will PC DRAM be affected by rising prices, but RAM used for smartphones, graphics cards, and other critical sectors will also, unfortunately, feel the pressure. As for server DRAM, an increase in demand for cloud services due to the work from home (WFH) boom means that pricing in this sector could surge by as much as 25 percent.

We're in for some tough months ahead when it comes to secreting key components for DIY rigs. And if comments by TSMC are accurate, it may be late 2022 (or later) before we see any real relief in the chip sector.