You should probably buy your memory now before prices get worse

With memory in severe shortage, prices are creeping up again.

corsair memory ram
Thomas Ryan/IDG

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After months of warnings that DRAM prices would spike, prices are, in fact, edging up again. We looked on camelcamelcamel at historical memory prices for the top 10 RAM modules sold on Amazon, and they're all trending upward. 

For example, we looked at historical pricing of a pair of 16GB DDR4/3200 G.Skill TridentZ RGB modules, which were introduced on Amazon in 2017. As the camelcamelcamel chart below indicates, the modules made their debut above $400 and reached $500 during the painful price hikes of 2018.

Last fall, the modules sank to as low as $200. More recently, prices have slowly moved back up to $290 on Amazon.

tridentz camelcamelcamel.com

The number-one selling modules on Amazon, a pair of 8GB DDR4/3200 Corsair Vengeance LPX modules, are also on the move. You can see their debut in 2015 at about $170, and their precipitous drop in 2016 to $75.

During the last RAM panic of 2018, they peaked at $220 before again settling down to under $80 for most of last year. In recent months, those same modules have increased by almost 30 percent to $103 on Amazon

corsair camelcamelcamel.com

Should you stock up on RAM?

The natural inclination for most people is to buy RAM now before the prices spike even higher. Some might worry about losing their shirts if it suddenly drops in price. With DDR5 in the works for later this year, one might expect DDR4 to stabilize, but that's unlikely. RAM transitions are usually very slow and focus on the most expensive platforms first, so the pressure on DDR4 pricing won't end for a while.

Also, like 2020, this year is expected to be great for people selling computers. RAM-maker Micron disclosed earlier this month, for example, that it expects one million PCs to be sold each day this year. With new server CPUs using denser memory and more memory channels, and new 5G phones also soaking up DRAM, all things point to even tighter demand this year.

"As a result of the strong demand and limited supply, the DRAM market is currently facing a severe undersupply, which is causing DRAM prices to increase rapidly. We see the DRAM market tightening further through the year," said Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra.

All this means that if you were dithering over starting a new PC build or adding more memory to an existing PC, buying the RAM for it sooner rather than later is likely to get you better pricing.

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