The Pickup of DDR4 vs DDR3 Slowdown

Mainstream DDR4 memory modules are getting more affordable every day. There are some exceptions, due to product transitions and other reasons, but we could observe that since January all DDR4 memory modules rated for 2133 to 3000 MT/s data-rates got at least 20% cheaper. Some dual-channel kits reduced their price by 40% and some by 50%, which is well ahead of DDR4 memory chip price declines. Due to increasing competition, module manufacturers simply have to cut their prices in a bid to maintain market share (and some large customers demand a good market share). When it comes to higher-end DDR4 kits, especially those with 3600+ data-rates, then we can notice that they are getting more affordable as well but perhaps not very rapidly due to their difficulty in manufacturing. Moreover, the price decline is step by step, and can be difficult to predict.

As for DDR3 modules, their prices have come down since early 2016 as well, primarily due to DRAM ICs getting cheaper. When it comes to a 16 GB (2×8 GB) dual-channel DDR3-1866/DDR3L-1866 kit, the price iscomparable to the price of a DDR4-2133/DDR4-2400 kit, and sometimes even to DDR4-3000. Such products from well-known brands cost around $70 and sometimes DDR4-based kits are a cheaper than DDR3-based kits.

Given the prices of DDR3-2133 and DDR3-2400 kits (~$100), it is evident that fast DDR3 modules are not maintaining their previous cost gap: at present they cost more that 16 GB DDR4-3200/CL16 kits. While comparing prices or performance of DDR3 and DDR4 solely based on their data-rates is ill advised, we can do on a larger scale to a certain degree. In previous reviews, for performance comparisons, the metric of data-rate dividied by CL (CAS Latency) is a broad enough calculation to group similar performing kits, and with two similar kits the higher frequency is often the higher performer. Even though the lower latencies of DDR3, the performance of DDR4 memory sub-systems at 3000 to 3200 MT/s should be higher than performance of DDR3 at high frequencies as a result. As it turns out, for enthusiasts seeking for high performance and who are willing to pay for it, it makes more sense to get DDR4 instead of DDR3 nowadays anyway due to system compatibility and predicted future releases. Keep in mind that manufacturers will reduce production output of DDR3 in the coming quarters, and as a result even if DRAM IC prices decrease, fewer will be made and as such prices may remain flat or increase over time, which will make upgrades expensive.

DDR3 Modules Are Getting Cheaper Too Analysts: PC DRAM Prices May Stabilize
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  • sonicmerlin - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    The title of the article incorrectly states "since 2015", when the text clearly states the 20% drop is from early 2016. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    That was a mistake on my part. Updated :) Reply
  • Mikuni - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    How can the fab cost so much? 12-13 billions? It would be interesting to see an article detailing the design and processes of such buildings, the machinery used etc. Reply
  • woggs - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    The tools installed are the money... These are a little dated but interesting...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeGqCl3YAaQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q_n4vdyZzc
    Reply
  • mejobloggs - Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - link

    Those videos are mind boggling, just trying to think how much technology involved in all that Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    There's a typo on the headings on the first graph: "sopt" instead of "spot" Reply
  • anomalydesign - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    These findings of DDR4 prices continuing to go lower don't match with my personal experience. In ordering RAM in the past month I've come to accept that the prices are significantly higher than they were earlier in the year.

    After reading the article I though perhaps I was misremembering the prices, so I looked back through my order history at Newegg. I purchased multiple 16 and 32GB DDR4 kits from different brands back in April, and in each case the listed price on those kits was not only lower than the current price (by at least 10-25 percent), but they were well below the price of ANY comparable kit currently available.

    So I don't know why the graphs and examples in this article don't line up with what I've experienced. I think perhaps looking at particular brands and models is part of the issue, as one that is priced at the entry level can move up, or vice versa. But unless there is a way to show prices not of a particular kit, but of the least expensive example of a given speed/capacity, I don't think these findings reflect the reality of the RAM market.
    Reply
  • anomalydesign - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    One example, which has gone from $110 to 152 in the past few months: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8... Reply
  • CaedenV - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    It could be that you have been scooping RAM up on sales and deals available at the time, and the chart prices are for the 'normal' or 'average' going price of the products.
    I know that for DDR3 I picked up 16GB for my home server last spring for ~$80, and then during prime day sale I picked up another 32GB for my desktop for $65. Just goes to show that charts only show part of the picture... But still, RAM is dirt cheap compared to a year or two ago!
    Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    No, your experience here is correct; Anandtech's reporting is incorrect.

    See the price graph here of a common set of DDR4-2400 set of ram with no heatspreaders over time this year.

    https://pcpartpicker.com/product/kCL7YJ/gskill-mem...

    Lowest RAM prices were around April~May this year, after that prices began to pick up, and today, prices sit about ~20% higher than their historical low around April~May. And this isn't the only set of RAM that had the same price swings...

    See:
    https://pcpartpicker.com/product/tPVBD3/corsair-me...
    https://pcpartpicker.com/product/ydCrxr/gskill-mem...
    https://pcpartpicker.com/product/xxs8TW/gskill-mem...

    Etc...
    Reply

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