In context: While prices for computer hardware have remained relatively high in the past few years, the slowing of PC and component sales are starting to take effect. DRAM is the latest piece of hardware to become even cheaper, and projections show that prices will continue to fall in the coming months.
According to a report from TrendForce, DRAM prices have fallen 20% in the first quarter of 2023. This is a continued decline for the DRAM market as sales have been slowing for all sectors of the industry. Some DRAM manufacturers have already started layoffs as they see their revenues on a steep decline. For the second quarter of 2023, TrendForce says that prices are expected to fall another 10 to 15%.
Despite production cuts already in effect, PC makers still have between 9 and 13 weeks of DRAM inventory. The mobile sector seems to be having healthier levels of inventory as mobile manufacturers were more conservative in their plans.
Nonetheless, mobile DRAM pricing is also expected to decline by 10 to 15%. As consumer demand for DRAM was sluggish, suppliers looked to the server side of the business for sales, however this simply resulted in a huge pile-up of inventory for server DRAM.
The recent boom of machine learning-based tools like ChapGPT, which rely heavily on computing power from GPUs, has seemingly not impacted demand for graphic based DRAM either as it faces a similar projected decline to the other categories seen in the table above. TrendForce does not yet make predictions for the second half of 2023 as it says "It's uncertain whether or not demand will recover."
All of these are, of course, good news for consumers. Along with the dropping storage prices, and GPUs seemingly making a return to MSRP (albeit with high price points), builders and PC buyers can now get their systems for a much lower total cost. For mobile devices, the mid-range have better specifications than ever, while the average device price has gone down, though that could be impacted by Arm's new proposed pricing model.
Image credit: Sergei Starostin