Rising DRAM Price Extends GPU Shortage
TrendForce Research Center predicts that DRAM prices will continue to rise through 2021, further compounding GPU and console shortages the market has experienced in recent months. TrendForce expects a price increase of up to 13% in the third quarter of 2021, which is a decrease from the second quarter – with a projection of an increase of up to 25% – but an increase from in the first trimester, which saw an increase of up to 10%.
The availability of DRAM is one of the main reasons there is currently a shortage of GPUs. GDDR6 and GDDR6X modules inside the latest graphics cards and consoles are in high demand, and vendors have not been able to meet this demand. TreadForce points out that Nvidia is a constraining factor, claiming that “DRAM vendors have prioritized capacity allocation to Nvidia over smaller customers. “
The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are also a big push in the DRAM market. Both consoles use 16 GB GDDR6 chips, not two 8 GB GDDR6 chips. Thus, the 8 GB chips that are common in the graphics card market are not common in the console market, and like the TrendForce explains, “the two chips are not interchangeable”.
All this demand has driven DRAM prices up through 2021, and that won’t change anytime soon. TrendForce predicts an 8-13% price increase through the third quarter in the contract market. This will make the manufacture of graphics cards and consoles more expensive, but it does not necessarily mean that these products will be more expensive on the shelves. For Xbox and PlayStation in particular, you can still expect to pay their price tag of $ 500.
Graphics cards are another story. As previous releases and months have shown, GPUs trade like a commodity. The suggested price doesn’t mean much, as retailers and third-party sellers are willing and able to sell cards well above their recommended price. The announcement of the DRAM price hike could mean lower supply or higher prices, but regardless, it looks like the GPU shortage isn’t recovering anytime soon.
Apart from the demand for new graphics cards and new consoles, TrendForce has identified an increase in demand for server DRAM which has also contributed to the shortage. While the projection is bad news for hopeful GPU buyers, it’s important to remember that the demand for DRAM is only one aspect of the GPU shortage.