DDR3 Expected to Skyrocket in Value During 2021
According to the DigiTimes, DDR3 is expected to gain value by 40-50% for the duration of 2021. This jump in value is caused by a number of events, but overall the situation is caused by more demand than supply.
You might be surprised to hear that DDR3 DRAM is still thriving when DDR4 has been out for years, not to mention the fact that DDR5 already exists. DDR3 maintains decent popularity due to the vast amount of systems that are still around, which are only compatible with the older memory technology. While DDR4 may be the mainstream option for PCs, DDR3 supported systems are still widely used in IoT devices, older servers, and other devices that need to be operational for decades.
In the first quarter of 2021, DDR3 is expected to jump in value by 20%, then as the year goes by, continue to increase in value up to 40-50%. Two factors are at the root of the surge: An unexpected jump in demand for DDR3 in 2021, and memory manufacturers like Samsung and SK Hynix are starting to phase out DDR3 and are producing significantly less DDR3. This last is presumably in preparation for DDR5 production, as older foundries are updated to newer tech and used for more lucrative devices.
SK Hynix has stopped producing 2Gb DDR3 memory chips altogether (4Gb are still in production), and Samsung has cut its monthly production of DDR3 modules from 60,000 wafers to just 20,000. This has caused spot prices for 2Gb and 4Gb DDR3 memory to rise by over 30% already.
Fortunately for the DDR3 industry, Samsung and SK Hynix aren't the only cowboys in town. Taiwan-based Nanya Technology and PSMC (Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing) also produce DDR3 modules and don't plan to stop production anytime soon. Nanya Technology currently has a monthly production capacity of about 100,000 wafers. PSMC on the other hand has a monthly production run of just 30,000-40,000 wafers, but the company wants to expand its capacity in the future.
Despite its age (DDR3 first launched in 2007), it's safe to say that DDR3 isn't going anywhere. DDR3 production is slowly shifting from top memory brands like SK Hynix and Samsung to smaller companies that can still turn a profit off the older memory architecture. However, even with smaller companies like PSMC ramping up production, it still won't be sufficient to meet the demand for DDR3 during the coming year, so DDR3's value is expected to continually rise as 2021 rolls on.