4GB DDR3 module prices rise, are still dirt-cheap

— 10:00 AM on February 1, 2012

We all love to hear about memory contract prices, right? Then, boy, does DigiTimes have a story for you all this morning.

In all seriousness, the site does have some interesting news: according to DRAMeXchange, contract prices for 4GB DDR3 modules went up slightly in the latter part of last month and hit $17.25. That might sound worrisome, but the site points out that prices for the 2Gb (256MB) DDR3 chips used to make those very same modules are "slightly above . . . cash cost" at just 90 cents.

And that's the cash cost for manufacturing using a 3x-nm process, mind you. Making 2Gb DDR3 chips using 4x-nm equipment reportedly costs $1.20-$1.30—so, memory makers can't afford to fall behind on ramps to new fab processes. DigiTimes says 2Gb DDR3 contract prices will fall even further to 80 cents a chip as 3x-nm output increases.

More than anything, I think this story highlights just how ridiculously affordable system memory has gotten—even despite occasional fluctuations here and there. Slapping together an 8GB DDR3 dual-channel kit at the quoted price would cost just under $35, which corresponds to the lowest price on Newegg. 4GB kits are even cheaper, with prices starting at $20. DigiTimes says 4GB modules (and hence 8GB kits) will become the "mainstream memory density in PCs in 2012."

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