Give it up for the good ship DRAM, the latest component to set sail and fall off the world’s edge at the end of 2022. According to TrendForce, DRAM sales revenue fell 32.5% between the third, fourth, and final quarter in 2022.
That means DRAM has now joined CPUs, which dropped 21% year-on-year, and GPUs, down 50%, in nose diving into the new year. TrendForce says the fall in revenue in this case doesn’t reflect a drop in unit sales so much as average selling prices plummeting.
Of the big three DRAM producers, it was Micron that was hit hardest, with revenues dropping by a painful 41.2%. The biggest vendor, Samsung, experienced a 25.1% drop, while number two incumbent SK Hynix saw revenues fall by 35.2%.
Apparently Samsung cut prices most aggressively, leading to its market share increasing from 40.7% to 45.1%. In other words, Samsung had something of a fire sale, selling off a load of DRAM for cheap.
PC memory generally, of course, is rather more of a liquid, commodity market than CPUs and GPUs. While compatibility isn’t quite universal for a given memory type, it’s far easier to switch from one vendor to another for your DDR4 or DDR5 sticks in response to price.
Ditching Intel CPUs for AMD chips is rather more complicated. Meanwhile, when it comes to graphics cards, with only two major vendors (OK, three if you want to count new entrant Intel), there arguably aren’t enough options to force prices down rapidly when demand slumps.
And so, RAM prices have fallen dramatically—even 32GB of DDR5 can now be had for under $100—while GPU prices remain sky high, despite much, much lower demand. It’s a funny old situation.