DDR3 still relevant: sudden spike in demand combined with shrinking supply may lead to 50% value increase this year
DDR3 in 2021? That’s right, the 14-year old DDR3 standard is still alive and kicking in many older servers and IoT devices that can continue to operate without any upgrades for decades. However, since the RAM components are known to fail more often than not, there is always demand for fresh DDR3 modules, and this demand is expected to greatly outpace the supply this year, which, in turn, will lead to price increases as high as 50%.
According to DigiTImes, these DDR3 price spikes are determined by the sharp demand for specialty modules, as well as the gradual phasing out of DDR3 memory chips scheduled throughout this year at major memory manufacturers like Samsung and SK Hynix, which are freeing up production capacities for upcoming DDR5 modules. SK Hynix is not even producing 2 Gb DDR3 chips anymore, although it still has production capacity allocated for the 4 Gb chips. Samsung, on the other hand, has reduced DDR3 production capacity from 60,000 wafers to 20,000, and spot prices for 2 Gb and 4 Gb DDR3 chips are now increased by 30%.
While the big foundries are shifting to DDR5, there still are smaller Taiwanese companies that plan to keep the DDR3 industry alive. Nanya Technology, for example, has a monthly production of 70,000 wafers, whereas Winbond Electronics has a smaller capacity of 25,000-30,000 wafers per month. PSMC (Powerchip Semiconductor Company) is also planning to expand production capacity from its current 30,000-40,000 wafers per month. Unfortunately, these companies will not be able to meet the DDR3 demand at least for this year, so prices will still continue to rise.