DDR5: Availability Improving, Prices Dropping

PC demand is believed to decrease, but prices should continue to increase.

After Intel released its 12th Generation Core ‘Alder Lake’ processors for enthusiasts in early November, it quickly turned out that the supply of DDR5 memory modules was insufficient, causing prices to skyrocket. Those shortages were expected to worsen with the release of the mainstream 12th-Gen Intel processors, but availability is now improving and prices are falling. 

Due to the tight supply of power management ICs (PMICs) and voltage regulation modules (VRMs) for DDR5 memory sticks, prices of dual-channel 32GB DDR5 memory kits reached as high as $1,300 late last year. Today 32GB DDR5 kits are less expensive, which is great news for the enthusiast crowd.  

To examine DDR5 pricing trends, we looked at several 32GB dual-channel DDR5-4800, DDR5-5200, DDR5-5600, and DDR5-6000 kits.

Dual-Channel 32GB DDR5 Memory Kits at Amazon

If you look at the table and the graphs, one thing that will catch the eye is the fact that the modules come from third-party sellers on Amazon. This is a good indicator that the availability of DDR5 memory kits is still very limited, which is why manufacturers like Corsair sell DDR5 SDRAM memory sticks directly and to some distributors (who then ship the products to various resellers). Yet, even dealers have been forced to lower their prices as availability improves.

While Amazon tends to sell at prices close to those recommended by the manufacturer, prices set by dealers tend to fluctuate per supply and demand. This is why some of these retailers charged large sums of money for rare high-performance modules in late December. Now the supply of DRAM has improved, which is why prices dropped anywhere from 26% to 80% per kit in just a few weeks.

Since Intel has started shipments of mainstream 12th Generation Core processors with DDR5 support, memory makers like Micron, Samsung, and SK Hynix will inevitably increase volume production of their DDR5 ICs, which will, in turn, lower prices. What remains to be seen is whether makers of PMIC and VRM components can also keep up with supply as every DDR5 module requires these chips. Given that demand for these components is fairly predictable, companies like Renesas should be inclined to increase their shipments of these ICs. 

In general, DDR5 memory module supply is getting better, but we are still not quite out of the woods yet. It remains to be seen when DDR5 matches DDR4 pricing, but at least a 32GB kit no longer costs $1000.

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