Ask any gamer and he’ll tell you; “Random Access Memory” is an integral part of his/her PC. Now, this phrase CAN sound alien to some of you. How does RAM sound, then? Yup! This is a PC component the size of a candy bar.
This thing determines how fast our PC is. Also, how well can it handle taxing tasks like rendering complex graphics in Gaming. If you’re a video editor, you’ll need a high-capacity ram stick to render frames at a decent rate. Otherwise, be prepared to sit through countless hours while your PC scampers.
Yes, High-speed ram sticks and THAT much crucial to your setup. Every PC enthusiast, gamer, and video editor should keep these sticks at the top of their priority list.
Apparently, it’s easier said than done. RAM sticks are rather expensive to get. I mean, even more than before. Just to give you a general rundown on how bad the situation is, DDR4 RAM prices are 10% higher than expected as of March 2021.
Get this: With the increased price, even if you get one, you’ll have to set it carefully with the same breed to get maximum output. Last I checked, two DDR4 sticks cost more than one.
In this article, we’ll be trying to answer, “Why is RAM so Expensive?” For that, we’ll have to go through the two types of Random Access Memory you can get and their differences as well.
Different Types of RAMs You’ll Get This Year!
This is a sort of detour where I explain the differences between two of the RAM-stick types available this year. Once in every few years, reputed brands decide to upgrade their chips in accordance with the latest innovations of intel and Ryzen motherboards.
2021 just happens to be the year where DDR3 and DDR4 Rams collide. What are DDR3 and DDR4 Ram sticks, you ask? We’ll be diving into the topic. Brace yourselves!
DDR3 is less enthusiastically called, Direct Data Rate Version 3. Quite a mouthful, I know. Back in 2007, it arrived with numerous promises. It’s been dominating the PC market until now.
These babies have lower latency, can compress data thanks to ECC chip, and can conduct self AND auto refreshes. Among other things, it runs on 1.50V. Also, you’ll find it backward compatible.
Well, DDR4 runs on 1.20V. It can only Self-Refresh. You’ll find a higher latency on these babies. I could vouch on the data transfer rate. It’s faster than older generations (duh). DDR4 is NOT backward compatible. To cap it all off, it comes with 288-pin interface.
Why Does My New RAM Cost Me So Much?
DDR4 is the shiny new thing off the blocks. Of course, it’ll cost you more, right? That’s partly true. DDR4 RAM sticks cost you more than usual thanks to the added features. However, that’s not the only reason. Let me point you towards a couple (may be three) more!
Newer Generation Has a Wider Use!
As it happens, DDR4 rams are not exclusive to PC users. No, sir! As newer smartphones and tablets populate our homes, the need for “Speed” does as well. To get the “Speed,” smartphone companies made the leap from DDR3 to DDR4.
There’s this Age-Old Rivalry between Google and Samsung when it comes to mobile devices. These guys want their phones to run on state-of-the-art technology. RAM included.
These guys are willing to pay top bucks to manufacturers just to get their hands on the chips. That’s why, brands are producing more DDR4 RAM sticks.
More RAMs mean a drop in the price, right? No. Tech giants like Apple, Google, Samsung, and others are paying the makers top bills. Now, manufacturers won’t produce as much for PC (more on this later) as they would for mobile devices.
Also, they won’t stoop down for PC while smartphone brands are paying them more, will they? Hence, we’re seeing an “All-time Rise” in RAM prices.
More of the Demand, Less of the Supply!
As you can guess, Smartphone manufacturers have their share of orders that they want RAM manufacturers to come up with this year. As we’re combing through 2021 at a rapid rate, that demand is increasing as well. However, many of the RAM manufacturers weren’t prepared for this.
They are switching to DDR4 chips only recently. Since the cellphone companies are paying them more, priority goes to them. Hence, the supply is lower than the demand. You’ll have to shell out some bucks (more than the usual) to get your fix on the upgrade.
As it happened with DDR2 and DDR3 Ram sticks, the market will slowly stabilize. 2022 might see supply and demand slowly coming to terms as the makers pull the leash on the growing needs of people. Until then, it’s better to wait before you purchase one for yourselves.
Just a Quick Note: We mustn’t forget COVID-19 as well. Like all things, COVID threw a wrench in the production of PC components as well. This created a supply shortage and inflated RAM prices through the roof.
Price Fixing might be the Culprit Here!
Full Disclosure: I’m not super confident that this is EXACTLY the case here. However, price fixing is not something new to PC components. Especially, when it comes to GPUs. Why should DDR4 RAMs be excluded, right? As it was the case with DDR3 RAMs, the price should remain this high for a while.
RAMs are made using costly technology. You’ll have to assemble numerous chips on a 3D Printed circuit board using state-of-the-art equipment. This WILL cost makers a fortune. I’m not surprised if the makers don’t keep the price of DDR4 RAMs high just to mitigate the cost and make some quick profit.
Wrapping It All Up!
Judging by the stock prices of popular RAM manufacturers, these are the next big eye-candies after the GPU crisis. RAM prices are at an “All-Time” high, I admit. Go through this piece and you’ll find some legit reasons working behind the scenes. However, things are already looking up.
Major companies are moving to RAM making as we speak. Companies like Samsung is en route to improving their factories and bringing things up to speed. They are revamping their RAM factory in Korea. SK Hynix, a major player in the RAM industry is closing in on a deal with China regarding a facility.
Once these tech giants get onto the field, they’ll be able to stabilize the demand in three or four months. Plus, the existing high prices are more than enough to attract new players as well. Obviously, they will compete over the price and keep it at a consumer-friendly level to achieve big numbers in sales.
Case and Point: All things point towards it being a temporary crisis. People should ride out the storm in hopes for a sunny day ahead.