In the midst of a global DRAM shortage, Digitimes reports that the market prices for graphics memory from Samsung and SK Hynix have increased by over 30% for August. This latest jump in memory prices is apparently due to the pair of DRAM manufacturers repurposing part of their VRAM production capacities for server and smartphone memories instead. As Digitimes’ sources report, this VRAM pricing is expected to increase further in September, impacting graphics card and gaming notebook manufacturers. Consumers have already felt the pain through skyrocketing DDR4 prices, and TrendForce/DRAMeXchange expects the upward trend of PC DRAM chips to continue to 2018.

Generally speaking, this production prioritization is not new. Late last year, the top three memory suppliers, Samsung (55% market share), SK Hynix (35% market share), and Micron (10% market share) shifted production capacity to prioritize servers and smartphones, causing the initial spike in PC DRAM prices. Overall, DRAMeXchange attributes the tight supply to lack of short term capacity expansion, as well as yield issues with new processes. The research firm had also noted that capacity expansion will be rather subdued as manufacturers try to keep commanding the higher margins of an undersupply environment.

In light of recent GDDR6 announcements by Micron and SK Hynix, these supply/price issues could have knock-on effects for both current and upcoming graphics cards. Additionally, as both Samsung and SK Hynix are the only HBM2 suppliers, HBM2-equipped cards may be adversely constrained by supply. Earlier this month, an SK Hynix executive stated that customers were willing to pay 2.5 times more for HBM2 over HBM1; this sentiment may soon be put to the test. The situation with Micron is a little less clear, as they not only have their unique GDDR5X memory, but also may not have raised VRAM prices. If they haven't, they may have an opportunity on their hands.

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Source: Digitimes

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  • Communism - Thursday, August 17, 2017 - link

    Guess I'm waiting for the Skylake HEDT successor now then.....

    I waited this long, i guess i'll just have to wait some more.
  • BeamytSunop - Thursday, August 17, 2017 - link

    And then wait some more.
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, August 17, 2017 - link

    RAM and solid state price increases at the same time make this a yucky point in history to do upgrades or build a new system. Price inflation of late is sort of discouraging me from buying parts, but it almost feels like there's component shortages for something new just as another component's shortages are easing off a little.
  • edcoolio - Saturday, August 19, 2017 - link

    So, SK Hynix and Samsung control about 85-90% of the market. As early as last year, headlines were screaming "Samsung prepares for memory price war" and that Samsung specifically wanted market share over profit margin. I guess now that they believe they have maxed out their share, it is time to cash in with greater margins with their new friends.

    If I were a bit paranoid, I might consider that Samsung and SK Hynix, have been sued for anti-trust practices over the hot item at the time : flash memory. If I were a bit more paranoid, I might point out that Samsung's Choi Soon-sil scandal (along with the saga of SK and LG) may have something to do with it. If I were a flat out lunatic, I might believe that they have banded together to gather a legal war-chest through the same back-channel deals that got them in trouble in the first place.

    Just less than 7 months ago, prosecutors were trying for the second time to get an arrest warrant for Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong.

    Naw. Nothing to see here.
  • sonalimahajan93 - Monday, August 21, 2017 - link

    not again....whats wrong with samsung

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