PC Memory Prices Are Hitting Bottom

Some analysts warn that prices could double or triple in the coming months.

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DRAM module
DRAM module

More analysts agree that the steep discounting in DRAM prices is just about over. And at least some think the coming jump in prices could be steep. That reinforces the notion that now's the time to fill a PC with RAM, which can make a huge difference in running Windows Vista and Macintosh Leopard.

The volatile chip market saw prices quickly jump after previous price collapses, say market trackers at Dramexchange. Prices for DRAM—for dynamic random access memory—plummeted in the year after the Internet bubble burst and the 2001 terrorist attacks. But once they hit bottom, they tripled in a matter of months. Prices also crumbled in 1998 because of overproduction. But after hitting bottom, prices doubled in less than three months.

DRAM prices seem to be stabilizing, Dramexchange analysts say. Demand appears to be picking up in western countries, including those in North America, and chipmakers have cut production. They can't make money at today's prices, which don't even cover the carrying costs of the factories themselves.

Still, nobody expects prices to rebound to last year's levels. Near the end of 2006, a 1-gigabyte stick of DRAM sold for more than $100. Even if today's price of $25 triples, it'll be lower than a year ago. It just won't be as cheap as today.