Desktop memory prices are on the rise again

Desktop RAM has been spectacularly cheap for quite some time. Now, it's in the process of becoming... somewhat less spectacularly cheap. Quoting "industry sources" and figures from market tracking firm DRAMeXchange, DigiTimes reports that desktop DRAM prices are going to rise through next month.

The site says contract pricing for 4GB DDR3 modules was around $17 to $17.50 in the first half of the month, but some vendors are already demanding more than $20. Prices "will continue their upward trend in February," add the site's sources—although unfortunately, they don't seem to speculate about the extent of the expected rise.

Why are prices going up? "A combination of supply-side factors, such as a cutback in production of PC DRAM and more capacity allocated for mobile DRAM and server-use memory," according to DigiTimes. It's not all bad, though. The site reckons the higher prices may give struggling DRAM manufacturers a chance to become profitable again. Some of them badly need it—last quarter, Inotera and Nanya reportedly posted net losses of $128 million and $301 million, respectively, marking both companies' 12th consecutive unprofitable quarter. These firms have apparently been hemorrhaging money for three years straight.

The upward pricing trend is already visible at Newegg. When we put together our December System Guide, an 8GB dual-channel kit of Corsair ValueSelect DDR3-1600 memory cost $37.99. Now, the same kit will set you back $46.99 at the e-tailer. The cheapest available alternative—a "Team" brand kit—costs $40.99.

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