Late last year, we saw prices for 4GB dual-channel memory kits quickly rise from below the $50 mark to $80 and up. Will DRAM pricing head back down anytime soon? Don't count on it. DigiTimes has had a chat with A-Data Chairman Simon Chen, who believes DRAM supply will continue to run tight this year.
Chen says major memory makers have been "restraining their capacity expansion over the past two years," so they won't be able to catch up with demand "for most of the time in 2010." Chen doesn't go into details, but we can hazard a guess as to why that is. Oversupply led to the rock-bottom memory prices everyone enjoyed in 2008 and 2009, and it left many memory makers in financial trouble (Qimonda actually filed for insolvency about a year ago). Those firms are probably not looking for a repeat of the previous couple of years.
On the upside—for consumers, that is—Chen doesn't expect DRAM prices to "rise sharply."
Apparently, Chen isn't the only one to predict shortages. DigiTimes writes that market research firm DRAMeXchange gave the same prognosis in a recent report, and Elpida CEO Yukio Sakamoto "was quoted in previous reports as saying that he believes supply will run short of global DRAM demand in 2010."