That’s what memory manufacturers are afraid they’re going to be saying shortly.

Spot memory prices have been slipping the last couple months, and while they are still about double what they were during the Great Memory Bonanza of 2001, more factors lean towards a continued drop than a price increase.

  • The Micron-Hynix merger blowup reduces the possibility of rationally reducing overcapacity in the market.
  • Micron’s next fiscal quarter ends at the end of May. Micron has the habit of dumping inventory just before the end of the quarter to improve their fiscal numbers.
  • Micron has even more incentive to do item two than usual because of item one. Call it spurned lover, call it driving the weak to the wall; Hynix is a high-cost memory provider, and Micron isn’t.
  • Much of the increase in memory pricing (well, excuse) was due to memory manufacturers saying “Oh gee, Intel is going DDR now. How could we have possibly guessed that?” I guess their memory is in their products, not their heads. Nonetheless, there’s been plenty of time to shift production, so that excuse really doesn’t hold water anymore.

    The only real factor that can fight these downward trends is demand. Roughly speaking, high CPU demand means high memory demand, and vice versa.

    CPU demand was pretty good last quarter, but some of that was inventory-building in anticipation of revived computer demand. The early indicators out there seem to indicate that isn’t really happening. The drop in memory prices itself is an indicator that there isn’t seething demand out there.

    Nor does it look like the CPU manufacturers themselves will be doing much product-pushing until the fall. Intel will do a little with official 133Mhz PIVs, but that’s unlikely to be a barnburner. AMD talks more about hammers than horses, which is pretty strange when the horse is due to show up first.

    So I think we’ll see these drops continuing, through May, then, with a few interruptions, throughout most of the summer. I doubt we’ll see prices like 2001 again, but if you’re looking at buying some ultra-high speed RAM fairly shortly, you might want to wait.

    P.S. When and if you do buy, you may also want to start taking a look at 512Mb modules. They now cost about the same as two 256Mb sticks, and with mobos being as finicky about memory as they are, this is an area where less is more.


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