Samsung sees DRAM prices falling, NAND flash rising

Samsung predicts DRAM prices will rebound in the second half of this year, and NAND flash will keep rising, so users might want to buy now

Users looking for bargains in DRAM (dynamic RAM) for their PCs or laptops might see bargain prices within the next few weeks, but anyone looking for new USB (universal serial bus) flash memory sticks, iPods, or memory cards for digital cameras and other devices should think about buying soon.

The DRAM market is in oversupply right now and it might not recover until the second half of this year, said Chang-Gyu Hwang, president of Samsung Electronics' semiconductor business. Samsung is the world's largest producer of DRAM and NAND flash, and many industry watchers pay close attention to its market forecasts.

"We expect that in the second half of this year, some demand for Windows Vista will start accelerating," said Hwang, adding that demand for PCs armed with Vista, in addition to other products such as mobile phones, will drive up DRAM demand.

In NAND flash memory, demand is increasing earlier than normal for this time of year, and prices will continue to rise in the second half as the iPhone, iPod and a host of other products hit the market, said Hwang.

"In the second half [of the year], I think NAND flash demand will be very strong," he said.

Apple's iPhone is a huge factor in the NAND flash memory market this year, he said, because "all the major phone makers are creating music phones" to compete with the device. He forecast heavy demand for 4G byte and 8G byte NAND flash this year, specifically for handsets, and said a lot of demand will come from other devices, including game machines.

The lesson for users may be that it's time to buy DRAM before prices rebound in the second half, and NAND flash products before prices rise further.

The price of the most widely used DRAM chips, 512M bit, 667MHz DDR2 (double data rate, second generation), has been slashed by more than half since the beginning of this year, to US$2.92 per chip early Tuesday, according to DRAMeXchange Technology Inc., which runs an online DRAM market.

Last year, DRAM prices surged 61 percent to end at US$6.36 as PC makers started making Vista-capable PCs and stockpiled excess chips ahead of the launch of the new OS. But it turns out that PC makers stockpiled too many of the chips, causing a glut and massive price declines.

It takes two to four weeks for price movements on the DRAM market to trickle down to users, DRAMeXchange says, and price declines are not likely to continue for too much longer. At US$2.92 per chip, some DRAM makers are losing money on the chips they make, and if the price drops much lower, the chips won't be profitable for anyone, therefore chip makers will try to hold prices around current levels.

The situation in NAND flash is far different. Chip prices are rebounding after nearly six months of declines.

The price of 8G byte NAND flash memory chips rose to US$8.21 per chip early Tuesday, up 23 percent from its low this year of US$6.69, on March 20, according to DRAMeXchange. Prices will continue to rise. The Samsung executive said he's "very bullish on flash prices in the second half of the year," which should be warning enough for users in need of the chips.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?