This September was a gorgeous time for those who wanted to buy some PC memory. The prices remained almost unchanged throughout the month, since the next dead season had come. The much-hoped-for “back-to-school” time had already ended, without provoking any stir, while the Christmas shopping is still too far ahead. Well, it’s even doubtful whether Christmas will ever revive the demand. As far as the anticipated back-to-school agitation is concerned, the sales volumes during this period of time for the last few years have proven that it has nothing to do with reality anymore.
Since there were no signs of activity in the market in the last month, its disposition remained unchanged. There is still an interest in chips and SDRAM modules, which production is being phased out, although customers seem to be more interested in SO-DIMM modules rather than full-size ones. Thus, there are no reasons for the demand for DDR SDRAM modules to grow. On the other hand, the supply is not enormous, either. The negative stance of the prices made the manufacturers shift to more promising niches, like flash-memory, for instance.
The ones who stayed in the standard memory market managed to drive the price of a 256Mbit chip to $4.5 in average. This price equally applies to DDR266 and DDR333 as well as to DDR400. The situation we saw in August is the same: the dead-fixed DDR400 price is like a ceiling to DDR333, which could otherwise cost more. DDR266 hit this ceiling, too, and we can now even witness a curious thing when DDR333 is selling cheaper than DDR266 some days. The price range for the three memory types has become too narrow.
The most unpleasant thing for memory makers is that there seems to be nothing able to change this unnatural situation in the near future. They have nothing to look forward to, nothing that would push this ceiling of the DDR400 price up before the end of this year. Thus, junior memory types have no opportunity to develop any further. The i848P chipset will not possibly skyrocket DDR400 demand just like the Athlon 64, which is shipped in too small quantities yet. As for the Athlon FX, it is produced in even smaller amounts and also demands registered modules, which are still rather exotic for the PC market.
Of course, memory module makers will catch at this opportunity. At least, this niche - exotic products - is still flourishing with new products coming out every now and then. 433-500DDR modules (PC3500-4000) are a kind of routine nowadays. For example, such modules, introduced in September by Transcend and OCZ, are nothing new really. Among those who caught the spotlight, Corsair was with its XMS Pro Series.