The price of RAM memory has been rising steadily for the past year. Although it is expected to drop a little in the short term, device manufacturers have started to take actions. While the price of DDR4 has increased, the price of DDR3 has remained stable, therefore making it the dominant memory.
TV manufacturers are switching back to DDR3
Price is not the only factor, as a lot of processors launched in recent years are compatible with DDR3 and DDR4, prompting manufacturers to go for the cheaper option given that performance is not impacted in certain cases.
This is happening a lot in the TV sector, as it is the most RAM-demanding sector with shipments estimated to reach 215.7 million units in 2018. More than 70% of theses TVs use SoCs in the SiP (system-in-package) format that integrates RAM. The format is used in Full HD and affordable 4K TVs. Also, the SiP format is cheaper to manufacture, takes up less space and only supports DDR3 because of its temperature limitation.
DDR4 is 21% more expensive than DDR3
As for prices, given the same density (4 GB), the price of DDR4 and DDR3 was almost the same in late 2017. However, prices increased steadily to the point where DDR4 got 21% more expensive than DDR3 in the second trimester of 2018.
Most TV SoCs support DDR3 and DDR4, so manufacturers will choose the cheapest option, which in turn impacts negatively the penetration of DDR4 in the market In fact, DRAMeXchange states that several TV manufacturers have gone back to using DDR3 for the new models that are under development despite the fact that current models use DDR4.
This means DDR3 will keep dominating the market at least until next year or as long as the price of DDR4 drops. This situation is not expected to change until the end of 2019 at the earliest.
DRAMeXchange revised the analysis about a demand surge of 1 Gb DDR3 chips in Bitmain’s Antminer E3 machines to mine Ethereum. This happened because the value of said cryptocurrency has been dropping steadily, therefore reducing the expected demand. Each Antminer E3 machine uses 576 1 Gb RAM chips for a total of 72 GB of RAM.