Stamford, Conn. Contract pricing for DDR2 and DDR3 DRAMs and NAND memory devices continue to increase, according to the latest pricing analysis by Gartner Inc.
Mainstream 1-Gb DDR2 prices increased 13.8 percent to $1.65, while 1-Gb DDR3 (1,066 MHz) tags rose 9.5 percent to $1.73. NAND contract pricing rose consistently across nearly all device types and technologies, ranging from 0 percent to 9.9 percent, because of healthy demand and low inventory, reports Gartner’s analysts.
Pricing for DDR2 broke the $1.50 barrier in September for the first time in 12 months, and the price premium for DDR3 versus DDR2 continued to decline, which is now just 13 percent for the faster DDR3 parts, down from 22 percent a few months ago, said Gartner.
Pricing for a 2-GB module was $28 for DDR2 and $30 for DDR3 devices, with some DRAM vendors quoting $30 and $35, respectively, for the DDR2 and DDR3 parts, according to the analysis.
Gartner analysts say pricing for the spot market versus the contract market remains healthy, with spot pricing above contract pricing.
The increased DDR2 spot pricing is being driven by the reduced supply of parts from key DRAM vendors as they shift to DDR3, according to Gartner. However, Gartner says it has not yet seen the effects of increased utilization rates from a few of the Taiwanese vendors, which have restarted production to take advantage of the price improvements.
Average spot pricing across all densities and technologies was up 7 percent compared with the previous week, standing at $2.02, which represents a 52-week high, on a 1-Gb equivalent basis. Current pricing is trading at 154.1 percent above the 52-week low, according to Gartner.
Analysts expect October contract pricing negotiations to produce a further increase, with the DDR2 parts projected to see stronger gains, which will help close the pricing gap of DDR3. After October, the DRAM vendors’ power to push pricing higher will begin to weaken as the holiday season comes to an end.
DDR3 pricing may begin to weaken, with DDR2 pricing holding steady, which will allow a DDR2/DDR3 price crossover in mid-first quarter of 2010 and a full transition by the PC market to the new technology, reports Gartner.
In the NOR flash market, both parallel and serial NOR flash prices remained stable, according to Gartner. Prices for high-density NOR flash (512 Mb) decreased 1 percent to $5.08. SPI NOR price hikes fluctuated between 0 percent and 1 percent. Tags for low-density NOR flash were more stable than high-density NOR flash because of temporary shortages of the former.
Analysts say high-density NOR flash is still suffering from the replacement of XiP by the SnD architecture in mobile handsets. Gartner expects the pricing of low-density NOR flash to increase marginally before decreasing in the fourth quarter.
NAND contract pricing continues to increase with 8-Gb MLC parts exhibiting the greatest price increases; however, it was the upward movement of the commodity parts’ pricing that signaled stable prices, which are likely to continue, say analysts.
Customer and NAND vendor inventories remain lean, so price stability is expected to continue until at least early November, when buying is likely to retreat, according to analysts.