2014 was a year of high DRAM prices for the desktop market as a combination of low production and high demand caused prices to surge. Production issues were caused by an earthquake that struck Taiwan in April 2014, damaging wafer yields for many vendors, as well as the notorious fire at SK hynix's Chinese fabrication plant in late 2013 that continued to slow its production. On the demand side many vendors had turned their focus towards mobile devices rather than the declining PC desktop market putting further pressuring on desktop DRAM supply.
During 2015, however, that trend has changed with the DRAM industry moving back towards a DRAM-oversupply scenario. According to a recent report from DRAMeXchange the market price for 4Gb (512MB) DDR3 chips has fallen to $2.92, the lowest price in 26 months. Such a decline represents a 9 per cent fall compared to the previous quarter.
There is the potential for further reductions in DRAM prices throughout the rest of this year should vendors maintain high production, however, memory giant Micron will likely do all it can to prevent any steep declines by appropriately adjusting production downwards. Analysts also note that new iPhones will be set to enter production later on this year and, if popular enough, could drive significant DRAM demand.
Market DRAM prices are expected to increase in Q3 and Q4 of this year so savvy consumers would do well to make their upgrades sooner rather than later. A quick scout around UK retailers reveals 4GB of DDR3 currently fetches about £22 while 8GB starts at around £42, a far cry from late last year where prices started at £30 and £60, respectively, for the equivalent items.