A fire that occurred recently at the SK Hynix DRAM production plant in Wuxi, China, caused a disruption in the plant’s production of memory chips. Fortunately, it looks like no one was seriously injured during the fire. However, whenever there is a problem at a DRAM production plant of this magnitude, it can have a major affect on memory supply and, in turn, affect memory prices.
The South Korea-based firm is the world’s second largest manufacturer of DRAM chips, and the Wuxi factory accounts for half of its output. Hynix, Samsung and Micron make up the lion’s share of the DRAM market with Hynix representing about 30% of the overall market, so an impact of that magnitude to DRAM product which goes into everything from memory, to phones and tablets, is going to cause a shortage in the market. This, of course, results in DRAM prices going up.
A 30% Impact on Future Supply
At OWC, we constantly follow pricing and availability of components and try to be upfront with our customers about fluctuations in component prices. What was a 19% reported increase is now a 30% real-world impact on our future supply. This marks the most significant, abrupt increase in three years.
Is this the Cheapest You’ll See Memory for a While?
I’ve long advocated that memory is always a great investment when you need it. Installing more memory is simple and will go a long way to speed up you Mac (or PC). This shortage doesn’t mean load up on memory if you don’t need it. In fact, please don’t do that – a panic rush will see prices rise faster and even more.
Our current memory pricing does not yet reflect the higher cost of memory modules we now have in production in our facility North of Austin, TX. Our costs, as noted, are up as much as 30% now for the DRAM these modules utilize. As these modules come off the line and are averaged in, we have no choice but to increase prices accordingly.
I am hoping that things get better sooner than later… Hynix has stated that their actual wafer fab is fine, just a matter of clean up and moving post production packaging. That being said – whenever there is an impact like this, it can take weeks if not months for things to normalize and for supplies to catch back up.
Bottom line- the pricing right now *Today* is as good as it’s likely to be for a while.. Over the near term, prices are going up. Even after the Hynix event no longer has impact, and assuming no other surprises – I do not expect prices to return to ‘Pre-Hynix Fire’ levels, never mind go lower than what we are offering today, until at least 2014 and potentially well into this new year. If you need memory, now is not the time to hesitate.
Why? Because we build memory for Apple computers, and Apple computers have some of the most rigid specs in the industry. So, what better memory to buy than memory made by people who build for Macs first? Of course, a lifetime warranty always helps, and our award-winning customer support and install videos mean we’re available to help during the entire upgrade process!