System memory prices were expected to level off last quarter, but things turned out differently after a fire at an SK Hynix factory in China. Can we look forward to lower prices in 2014? Probably not, according to DigiTimes.
The site, which was tipped off by "industry sources," expects PC DRAM to stay in tight supply "through the entire year of 2014." The result, DigiTimes adds, will be a continued rise in contract prices. I presume retail prices will swell up accordingly.
SK Hynix is apparently still to blame for the supply shortfall. While the factory where the fire occurred has "resumed full operations," DigiTimes says, production remains below pre-fire levels—and yields are poor, with "some PC vendors rejecting some of its shipments due to poor quality of the chips." The fab's output reportedly accounts for 10% of global DRAM wafer production.
When we put together our last system guide in December, one of the least expensive 8GB DDR3-1600 dual-channel kits we could find cost $57.99. Today, that same kit sells for $84.99, and the lowest-priced alternative at Newegg isn't much cheaper, at $76.99. If things are only going to get worse from here, I shudder to think how much 8GB kits will retail for by year's end.
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