While researching GPU prices and learning that GDDR5 memory price has increased by $20-$30 on the bill of materials lately, we started looking into the rising system memory prices. RAM pricing has proven somewhat cyclic over the past few years. We’ve reported on memory price increases dating back to 2012, and have done so seemingly every 2 years since that time. This research piece pulls five years of trend data, working in collaboration with PCPartPicker, to investigate why memory prices might be increasing, when we can expect a decrease, and more.
DRAM prices are crazy right now. We’ve driven that point into the ground over the past few years, but pinpointing a “when” and a “why” is a difficult proposition. With the help of PCPartPicker, we’ve identified some general trends that seem almost cyclic, and provide some relief in pointing toward an eventual downturn.
Memory manufacturer G.Skill announced its latest DDR4 RAM in the Trident line. The new “Trident Z” memory kit, selling in high-density 8GB-per-stick capacities, runs its clock at 3600MHz natively with a CAS latency of 15 (CL15). The memory will be sold in kits of 16GB (2x8GB) and is part of G.Skill's flagship series of memory. DDR4 runs lower voltage than DDR3, so the 1.35V stock voltage isn't much of a surprise.
The Trident Z series has historically been used by record-setting overclockers (though HyperX has battled with G.Skill). The new memory kit uses a black PCB with a silver heat-spreader, emboldened by the typical red G.Skill splash of color.
We previously touched on the price changes in the DDR3, speculating that one of the reasons for fluctuation was the manufacturers beginning to gear-up for DDR4. Although prices did peak around the $90-95 mark (2x4GB @ 1600), they have been coming down gradually and currently sit around $75-80 (2x4GB @ 1600). This might cause one to think that the push to DDR4 acceptance isn't happening as quickly as expected.
With the release of the X99 platform and general stability of the server market, demand for DDR4 is beginning to show itself. The “standard” 16GB consumer kits (4x4GB sticks) are currently around $330 and should be steadily dropping as more platforms are released to take advantage of the new RAM.
Hardware naming conventions tend to be about as sensible as salad names at a health bar. We've previously dissected the ASUS naming convention, Intel's chipset names, and AMD's chipset names. With the advent of DDR4 on Broadwell-E (X99 / LGA2011-3), it's time for manufacturers to shuffle the memory lineup around.
We had the opportunity to speak with Kingston (HyperX) and Corsair while at PAX Prime 2014. Other memory manufacturers were unavailable, so we'll visit them in future posts. This content looks specifically at what the product names mean between Kingston's HyperX lineup and Corsair's DDR4 lineup.
DDR4 will see its consumer debut in Intel's X99 HW-E platform, though Broadwell is sticking with DDR3 for now. As the memory manufacturers ramp-up for X99, we're starting to see specs roll out for updated product lines; the most recent is Corsair's Dominator Platinum high-end OC memory, with a new iteration of Vengeance LPX shipping alongside it.
Intel's Haswell-E and X99 platform have been in development for a while now, and after several months of cloudy release schedules, it looks like Intel is sticking to the original 3Q14 timeline. X99 will be the world's first consumer-ready platform to support DDR4 memory and eliminate traditional channeled architecture, making it appealing for enthusiasts and development rigs. Haswell-E will be the first line of CPUs on the platform, continuing the last-gen -E suffix for extreme-series CPUs.
Intel's new Haswell-E & X99 CPU/Chipset combo, due in 3Q14, will bring full DDR4 support to the enthusiast-class desktop market; it is anticipated that HW-E will be the first consumer-available platform supporting DDR4. With nearly all computing technology, it is common to see new innovations deployed to enterprise markets first -- this is for a few reasons: High quantity orders from enterprise (server) markets will rapidly drive-down the cost of the new technology (in this case, DDR4); enterprise groups will perform intense quality assurance testing of the new tech; and server engineers often work closely with device engineers throughout the development process, supplying feedback and validation support during dev.
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