Dousing rumors: Inferno at Hynix factory won't spark high-priced RAMpocalypse

A blazing inferno swept through a large fabrication facility Wednesday that is owned by Hynix, the second-most-prolific memory chip maker in the world.

Production slammed to a standstill, and within mere minutes, the Web was engulfed in a blazing inferno of its own, spurred on by speculation by some of the top names in the tech world.

Oh noes! You’d better stock up on memory sticks and shotguns, folks, because RAMpocalypse is barreling down on us, and before long, the hordes will be beating down your doors for your beloved hardware components.

Rival memory makers are putting the brakes on their own sales today to gouge you tomorrow! Even graphics card prices will go sky high, because they have onboard RAM, too! You thought HDDpocalyse was bad? You ain’t seen nothing yet, kid.

But there’s just one problem: None of the wild speculation about the Hynix blaze was actually true.

While the plumes of smoke billowing from the building indeed appeared scary, Hynix representatives told PCWorld that the fire raged a mere 90 minutes and didn’t materially damage the factory’s clean-room fabrication equipment. The smoke appeared worse than it was because as the fire mainly occurred in air-purification area, Hynix said.

“We expect to resume operations in a short time period so that overall production and supply volume would not be materially affected,” the representative said.

Rumors of Hynix arch-nemesis Micron shutting down RAM sales were also squashed in short order, as the company told The Register that the report was flat-out incorrect.

The damage certainly could have been severe: Hynix pumps out about 30 percent of the world’s memory chips, and the inflamed factory is responsible for around half that load—roughly 15 percent of the worldwide total.

So ignore the claims of quick-trigger analysts claiming the RAMpocalypse is a-comin’. Assuming that Hynix indeed gets its fab up and running in short order, any RAM shortages should be minimal and of extremely short duration.

Despite that, the spot price that vendors and manufacturers are paying for RAM—not the street price—has jumped by 10 to 20 percent, according to DRAMExchange.com, though long-term vendor contract pricing for RAM has stayed flat. That makes sense; most manufacturers keep component stockpiles and should have no trouble coasting through this temporary hiccup.

And hey, no matter how you look at it, RAM is still ridiculously cheap these days. Despite all the wild speculation, you don’t have to worry that buying a totally rocking, blazing-fast, RAM disk-ready setup will send you spiraling into bankruptcy any time soon.

If the relaunch of the fabrication line stretches out over weeks, or word spreads that smoke thoroughly damaged Hynix’s clean room facilities, you may want to start stockpiling memory for your down-the-road builds, but until then, just don’t sweat it.

Image via Jim Linwood/Flickr

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