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TrendForce Reports Slight Fall in DRAM’s Prices in 1Q15 Due to Seasonal Factors

20 January 2015 Semiconductors Avril Wu

The price for PC DRAM has not been set for January, though it is unlikely that the month-on-month price decline will exceed 6%, according to the newest price report from DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce. The price for mobile DRAM has come out steady and there is no sign of decline. Due to the influence of PC DRAM, the price of server DRAM for this month also falls but only slightly by 1-3% MoM. The demands from cloud computing are still strong enough to prop up server DRAM’s price. The price for specialty DRAM has not been affected by seasonal factors since the last half of 2014, and its ongoing and robust demands translate to price increase rather than the opposite. 

“The price drop for PC DRAM in the first quarter is simply the effect of the off-season,” said Avril Wu, Assistant Vice President of DRAMeXchange, “and there is no noticeable increase from the supplier end”. It is expected that DRAM price will recover and stabilize in the second quarter, driven by a revitalize market and smartphone shipments. An important event worth noting is that the new, 2015 iPhone models will include a memory storage upgrade from 1 GB to 2GB, and flagship models of other brands will inevitably follow suit and increase their need for bit growth. The focus of observation on the industry’s future will be on Samsung’s aggressiveness on increasing the production capacity of its Line17 fabrication plant. “Any DRAM price decline for 2015 will be checked by strong demands and increased presence of DDR4 and LPDDR4 in the market,” Wu further explained, “and these new generation products will help to stabilize the overall price.” 

DRAMeXchange’s analysis on the competing DRAM manufacturers finds that Samsung has made its plan for domination with the quick speed of its technology migration in every application, and this in turn made Samsung’s cost reduction more evident compared with its competitors. SK Hynix also increases its production capacity of mobile DRAM in order to fulfill Apple’s increasing demands. As for Micron, while it is committed to technology migration to 20 nm, its plan for 2015 is equally focused on mobile and server DRAM. 

Looking at Taiwanese manufacturers, Powerchip is going to increase the production of P3 fabrication plant by 5,000 units in the first half of this year, making its monthly PC DRAM production volume at around 30,000 units. Inotera has increased its shipments of server DRAM in addition to migrating to 20 nm manufacturing technology. Currently, server DRAM’s share of total shipments at Inotera is at 60%, surpassing its PC DRAM shipments. Nanya has already switched to specialty DRAM manufacturing and still has a sizable profit margin because it is supported by 30 nm manufacturing technology, whereas most of its competitors are staying with 45 nm. 

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