Semiconductor Business News
SAN JOSE--Prices for DRAMs are expected to rise again in November, with more shortages looming for select products in the marketplace, according to analysts and distributors in the industry.
The seasonal demand for PCs and other products have recently caused a jump in the average selling prices (ASPs) for memories, especially high-density, double-data-rate (DDR) SDRAMs. Suppliers are not only seeing a slight PC uptick, but they are also reportedly struggling to make parts at leading-edge geometries, due in part to process development problems, according to analysts.
The trends reflect upon current DRAM prices. Today, for example, the ASP for a 128-megabit DDR SDRAM is $4.41 per unit, up 2.32% from the previous week, according to the DRAMeXchange Web site. The ASP for a 256-Mbit DDR SDRAM is $8.80, up 2.8% over last week, according to the Web site.
"At the end of month, DDR prices should take a break before the next ride," according to a report from the DRAMeXchange, but "most marketers believe prices will renew their rising up (both for DDR and SDRAM) during the 1H of November. Contract prices will also try to rise up again for the 1H of November as DDR allocation remains tight."
And some are even saying the "A" word: allocation. "Most of the module makers we interviewed told us that it has been difficult for them to get enough allocation of DDR products over the last few weeks," the report said. "Distributors and channel traders are the most sensitive groups to react for this month-end; therefore we are sensing some price weakness from them."
Some products are harder to get than others. "High density DDR SDRAM memory modules are very difficult to source," according to an e-mail newsletter issued by N.F. Smith & Associates L.P., an independent chip distributor based in Houston.
"Availabilities for 256MB, 512MB, and 1GB DDR SDRAM modules are sporadic at best; the open market continues to absorb product at increasingly higher prices," according to the newsletter. "The most sought after DDR DIMMs are the 256MB 266MHz DDR SDRAM modules made by Samsung, which have increased in price 10 to 15 percent during the last two weeks," it said.
Even products based on Rambus Inc.'s RDRAM technology are hot. "Demand for Rambus memory modules has increased significantly--especially for the PC1066 versions of 256MB RIMMs. 256MB and 512MB Rambus memory modules are selling well despite recent increases in pricing," according to the newsletter.
Not everything is in demand, however. "Pricing for standard SDRAM has been relatively stable as demand shows no sign of increasing," according to the newsletter.