Virtual Reality Boom Pushing Up PC DRAM Prices

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Virtual Reality Boom Pushing Up PC DRAM Prices
September 13, 2016

TOKYO -- Bulk prices of high-performance DDR4 DRAM chips are rising on growing demand for personal computers fast enough to run virtual reality games.

Volume users paid slightly more than $2 per unit for 4-gigabit DDR4 versions of DRAM, or dynamic random access memory, in August, about 10% higher than in July. Bulk prices of 8-gigabit DDR4 chips rose roughly 6% from July to a little more than $4 apiece.

In general, using DDR4 modules instead of prior-generation DDR3 variations helps PCs boost processing speed and consume less power. PC makers have stepped up efforts to secure DDR4 modules on expectations that demand for powerful machines will grow as VR games become more popular. There is growing anticipation that VR games will break out this year, with companies such as Oculus VR of the U.S. and HTC of Taiwan releasing accessories such as goggles.

In addition, DDR4 modules are increasingly used in servers and multifunction printers.

Price gains of DDR4 chips have also been fueled by declining supplies of PC-use DRAMs as semiconductor makers focus more on memory chips for smartphones. Shipments of 4-gigabit DDR4 chips for the July-September quarter will likely fall nearly 40% from the same period a year earlier in volume terms, U.S. research company IHS Technology predicts.

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