IC Insights: Memory prices to level off next quarter

Bad news: memory prices are still going up. Good news: according to IC Insights, the continued rise in PC DRAM prices will taper off in the fourth quarter of this year.

The market research firm says average selling prices for PC memory jumped from $1.97 in the first quarter to $2.42 in the second quarter. (There's no mention of what these ASPs correspond to, but I assume they apply to individual memory chips.) Prices are expected to climb further to $2.53 this quarter. However, IC Insights predicts a slight decline to $2.52 in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Source: WSTS, IC Insights.

That's still going to be much higher than what memory vendors charged last year, of course. As you can see in the chart above, ASPs hovered around $1.70 for most of 2012. Current ASPs are reportedly the highest they've been since October 2010.

Memory prices are ballooning up for three reasons, IC Insights says. First, there aren't as many DRAM suppliers as there used to be, thanks to industry consolidation and bankruptcies. Second, production capacity has remained stagnant due to "greatly reduced capital expenditures." And third, DRAM suppliers are said to be re-allocating capacity from PC memory to more lucrative mobile DRAM.

IC Insights doesn't say why prices might taper off next quarter, but I hope the prediction comes true. Right now, eight-gig DDR3-1600 memory kits from reputable manufacturers aren't much cheaper than $70. That's getting a little pricey. When we put together our Christmas 2012 system guide, similar kits were selling for under $40. (Thanks to EE Times for the link.)

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