An ordinary PC end-user, like him or me, is very much interested in any information about prices in the today’s market. It is even more interesting to find out what is going to happen to these prices in the future. However, the two are usually so closely interrelated that you should sort out the present to guess the future, and all this with a recollection of the past.
By the beginning of August, the prices in the memory market, which seemed to be half-dead and half asleep, finally froze at a certain level, with an upward tendency. The major players in the memory market were most happy with that and wished to have no downfall at least. Some of the most optimistic even ventured a supposition that August would be a month of the rising price due to speculation deals, if not for a real demand betterment. They were totally wrong…
Anyway, there indeed could be observed as certain slight growth in the beginning, but first of all for the PC133 SDRAM price. Demand never goes down in this niche market, and we also have to keep in mind the following: the launch of Centrino solutions line catalyzed the growth of notebook sales, which in its turn pushed the demand for SO-DIMM modules of large capacities to go up. Meanwhile, the supply is on the fall for a number of quite natural reasons. SDRAM has changed its status from a standard memory solution to niche memory type. In the middle of the month, Hynix even raised spot prices for SDRAM by 10-15%: a number of Taiwanese and Chinese companies have switched from SDRAM to other production, with all the consequences for the demand-supply balance.
However, the low and central parts of the DDR segment also showed signs of life in the beginning of last month. It was all calm in the high-performance sector, where DDR400 has settled down, because it didn’t enjoy any high demand, but the prices for DDR266 and DDR333 did grow up little by little. As a result, we had DDR333 and DDR400 chips costing about the same amount of money. The difference made only a few cents. Thus, there is a curious situation: DDR400 is not selling well and its price is a kind of virtual notion. At the same time, it doesn’t allow the price of the popular DDR333 to increase, as it just cannot be that DDR333 is more expensive than DDR400.
DDR266, popular in China and Europe, was trying to reach this double peak, too, although its sales volumes were low. Overall, the market was keeping very quiet, waiting for the manufacturers announcing the contract prices. Of course, these changed towards an increase, about 5-10% growth was expected at that time. By the end of the first week, Korean manufacturers were really going to increase the contract price: Hynix by 8% and Samsung by 12% even. Anyway, this information provoked just a short term of activity in the market, subsiding into a dead calm. Nothing was in demand, save for SDRAM.