IHS iSuppli: DRAM prices to keep falling, but more slowly

Recent whispers from the Far East suggest Taiwanese DRAM makers might cut production to curb the vertiginous downward trend in system memory pricing. Now, IHS iSuppli has chimed in with some numbers pertaining to the entire DRAM industry, and it's got both good news and bad news.

The good news is that, at least according to the research firm's estimates, memory prices will continue to decline through next year. The bad news? That decline will slow quite a bit—devastating, I know.

Following a drop of 14.2 percent in the first quarter of 2011, the global average decline in pricing for DRAM slowed to 12 percent in the second quarter. The rate of decrease is expected to decline to 9 percent in the third quarter and then dwindle to just 4 percent in the fourth quarter. The rate of decrease will further slow to just 1 percent in the first quarter of 2012, and then remain in the 3 to 4 percent range during the rest of 2012.

IHS iSuppli goes on to say fluctuations in the decline rate of memory prices "parallels a deceleration in the rate of migration to more advanced lithography." In other words, DRAM makers are taking longer to switch to new, finer process nodes that allow for greater memory density and thus lower prices per gigabyte. Right now, IHS iSuppli says the manufacturers are transitioning to "4x-nanometer" fab processes.

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