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Oversupply Sends DRAM Prices To One-Year Low

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the cheap-at-twice-the-price dept.

Hardware 161

alphadogg writes "DRAM chip prices reached a one-year low on Tuesday and approached their cheapest ever due to a post-holiday oversupply. The cheap memory chips are pushing PC prices lower too, a Taiwan-based trading platform said. Prices for commodity 1-Gbit DDR3 DRAM chips dropped to an average of $0.84 per unit from historic highs around $2.80 in April and May last year, said Ivan Lin, publicist and editor with DRAMeXchange. Prices hit a record low of $0.81 per chip in March 2009, according to the exchange's daily surveys."

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161 comments

Calls for a libation (5, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753760)

Would that Scotch,
Were so cheap by the DRAM,
A shave, a shot, a gig;
Still change for the tram.
Burma Shave

Re:Calls for a libation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34754172)

Who're the fucking killjoys who moderated that Offtopic?!

That comment is pure gold. Best FP I've seen in a while. And I've made +5 Funny first posts myself, so I believe I might just know what I'm talking about when I say that comment deserved at least +6.

Mods, get your heads screwed on straight and grow a sense of humour.

Posting anon because this is offtopic and I know it. Meh.

Re:Calls for a libation (1, Redundant)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755526)

I've made +5 Funny Posts myself, and can therefore guarantee they mean bugger all.

DDR2? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753804)

Does this apply to DDR2 chips? It's almost at the point where it would be more economical to buy a new mobo and ram than it would be to add ram to a not that old board.

Re:DDR2? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753942)

i doubt it since almost everyone is making DDR3 these days and DDR2 is only the more expensive older assembly lines

Re:DDR2? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755044)

Where is this oversupply of DDR3? Only available online? Go to an electronics store and you see racks full of DDR2 and empty racks for DDR3?

Re:DDR2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34755662)

Welcome to 2011. Online shopping has been happening for a while now ;)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231417&Tpk=N82E16820231417 [newegg.com]

Wait until 3pm today and this will be a Newegg shell shocker for $75.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231424&Tpk=N82E16820231424 [newegg.com]
 

Re:DDR2? (2)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754086)

Fortunately (?) a lot of DDR2-era motherboards were affected by that huge batch of bad capacitors, so it might not be a bad idea to replace your mainboard before one of them fail.

Of course, I'd still feel compelled to pull together enough spare parts to build a machine around the old mainboard anyway... 'sigh' the many trappings of spending money on things computer-related :-/

Re:DDR2? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754756)

Actually, those were DDR era motherboards, mostly (assuming you're thinking of the "bad cap" foxconn debacle around 2003). We're talking 2.4-3GHz P4 era stuff, when 1GB was still considered "a lot", before Vista came to the scene.

I still have (and use) a 550W Antec PSU that has bad, leaked caps in it from that era. The leads test good under load still. Bad caps were/are not a death knell to the hardware. Likewise, I've got a Dell Optiplex 270 which has that problem (and an underclocked CPU) but runs stable enough that it's never gone down from instability or had app stability issues (that I'm aware of).

Re:DDR2? (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755328)

You're asking for trouble. When those caps finally do give up the ghost they could potentially fry anything attached to the power supply!

Re:DDR2? (1)

Carnivorous Vulgaris (1964964) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754958)

Most DDR2-era motherboards have solid-state tantalum capacitors.

Re:DDR2? (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755720)

Maybe some of the nicer ones... but some of the bad caps have still been lingering around.

I still lost an AM2+ ECS motherboard to a blown cap a couple of years ago, and that's when I unexpectedly upgraded to a DDR3-capable AM3 motherboard.

Of course, there were extenuating circumstances... we had just left out of the country for two weeks, and a summertime power & A/C outage was probably a factor. Also ended up making my UPS battery explode (though I didn't notice it until I removed the battery about a year later and found the casing cracked and acid all over the place :P )

Anyway, awesome how you can run a home server for months / years at a time without incident, until you leave for two weeks. :P

Re:DDR2? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756480)

You really don't have anyone but yourself to blame for buying the cheapest motherboard on the market. ECS boards regularly fail on the capacitor front. The difference in price between a cheap ECS board and a 'nice' gigabyte or msi board is about $8.

Re:DDR2? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755436)

the many trappings of spending money on things computer-related :-/

Consider those trappings a tax on the stupid.

Re:DDR2? (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754356)

I wish -- though it still makes sense that, if you have more than one DDR2 motherboard in operation, to replace just _one_ and then use the leftover DDR2 sticks in the other to add ram.

Re:DDR2? (1)

CynicTheHedgehog (261139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754650)

I just checked and it looks like it has. I was contemplating upgrading from 4x2GB of DDR2-667 to 4x4GB, and I think the price of 16GB kits was between $400 and $500 (median) with individual 4GB sticks going for $100-$120. I see now that there are some cheaper 4GB DDR2 sticks going for around $75. Although, that's still $300 right there, which is right at what I paid for a new mobo + 16GB of DDR-1600. I don't know if prices will go any lower though ... AFAIK most places are trying to ramp down production on DDR2 so they can switch to DDR3, so as long as demand exceeds supply then prices will be higher.

Anyway, I figure I'll be happier to have DDR3 in case one of them goes bad, so for me it was worth the extra effort for the upgrade.

Re:DDR2? (2)

devjoe (88696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754906)

Yes, this is exactly the issue - 1Gbit ram chips make 1GB ram sticks, and most people are beyond the point of adding more 1GB sticks. The only use for these now is in the two or three 1GB sticks that manufacturers put in new low-end systems. The article is very deceptive since the prices of bigger ram chips/sticks have not fallen by anywhere near as much, though they have fallen.

Re:DDR2? (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755158)

Except that you can use both sides to fit 16 of them, which would result in 2GB sticks

Re:DDR2? (2)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756262)

1 Gbit != 1 GB

8*1Gbit = 1 GB

last i checked normal form factor could fit 16 chips so 2GB stick... after that you have to go to higher density.

last i checked 2GB on a stick was still a decent amount.

Re:DDR2? (3, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754694)

Yes, that's right. DDR2 is 'over the precipice' - it's old technology at this point.

We're kind of at a point similar to where we were in the mid-90s, where the "last generation" (high end 486) systems were just as fast/comparably fast to "this generation" (early Pentium) processors, but RAM support (and availability, utility, etc.) was more significant.

Right now, any system 3-5 years old is likely to be 'good enough' for most peoples' tasks - all except the most demanding users. The bottleneck will be RAM. On the older systems with only 1-4GB of DDR2 support (or present), this is going to start being a problem.

We ran into the same thing a couple years ago with DDR, and a couple years before that with PC133: smart and/or financially capable people bought as much of the stuff as they conceived they'd need to keep those systems supplied long enough to replace them outright. (In many cases, I know that DDR RAM held those systems out until quite recently.)

In most cases, systems with DDR2 are nearing their EOL anyway. They're a bit aged, and very few have been produced OEM in the last year or so. DDR is "gone", so to speak; DDR2 will be there in a year or so, at this rate.

DDR3 is technically superior to DDR2 in almost every way: it's lower power, runs cooler, and is markedly faster. The chipsets which interface with it are better. Forget DDR2 and move on; it's old tech. Use the systems for what they can do and don't fret it - just replace them if you need to.

Re:DDR2? (3, Insightful)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754866)

Right now, any system 3-5 years old is likely to be 'good enough' for most peoples' tasks - [...] On the older systems with only 1-4GB of DDR2 support (or present), this is going to start being a problem

Aren't you contradicting yourself a bit? Those 3-5 year old computer have 1GB or 2GB RAM already and they are being sufficient. I have a laptop, bought in January 2007, so it's 4 years old. I came with 1GB RAM, it now has 2GB RAM because it was a cheap upgrade. It was a laptop on sale because it couldn't reach Vistas requirements, so back then 1GB wasn't all that hot either. So, unless you meant those "demanding users", for a normal user 1GB is enough, 2GB better.. Beyond that not so much.

I do advocate to take the most RAM you can afford for any machine you have and I have done this since at least 2005. My wifes new iMac has 16GB RAM. Does she need it? No... But the day she thinks it's too slow, I can just say... "Sorry, it's already maxed out, I can't do anything". It gives a bit more headroom, but I've never seen it use more than 4GB (which is what it came with). I'd call it "anti-bitching-insurance". ;-)

Same thing with my brothers new computer: got 16GB for it. It was two 8GB kits at 75€ or so... Not exactly expensive.

Will they use it? My wife definitely not. My brother may or may not benefit from it given he plays a lot of games.

For me? I live on what comes out of the dumpsters and buy left and right stuff to upgrade. Got a AMD Athlon 64 X2 socket 939 somewhere and 4 sticks of 1GB DDR RAM. Bought myself a motherboard that supported that, and whammo, for the price of a new motherboard I got myself a machine that's more than enough for anything I throw at it.

Re:DDR2? (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755188)

Aren't you contradicting yourself a bit? Those 3-5 year old computer have 1GB or 2GB RAM already and they are being sufficient. I have a laptop, bought in January 2007, so it's 4 years old. I came with 1GB RAM, it now has 2GB RAM because it was a cheap upgrade. It was a laptop on sale because it couldn't reach Vistas requirements, so back then 1GB wasn't all that hot either. So, unless you meant those "demanding users", for a normal user 1GB is enough, 2GB better.. Beyond that not so much.

Which requirements? I was running the Vista RC with a computer from 2004, with only a half gig of RAM and it worked fine. Of course a lot of it didn't work, but mostly because MS was stupid enough to require Aero for things. Other than that, it actually ran faster than XP did for most things.

What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (2)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753816)

DRAM began losing value most recently in December as the Western holiday shopping season wound down, Lin said. But major manufacturers such as Elpida Memory, Powerchip Semiconductor and Samsung Electronics kept pumping out chips to stay competitive, he said.

Really? They actually employed that strategy? "The market is saturated so we need to make more DRAM to raise profits." I don't understand, were they uninformed about demand being satisfied?

I mean, are they incapable of curbing production for a quarter? I understand these are huge plants that can't be turned on and off with the flip of a switch but if they're not careful they can hurt themselves indefinitely. I'm glad to be getting dirt cheap DDR3 sticks of memory but I don't want to see those companies compete each other into the red over it. I hope they're right when they say it's seasonal because it sounds like they're in for some tough times all the way through March. Farmers will tell you that flooding the market is a surefire way to destroy your competition as well as yourself ... unless of course you're subsidized but that's a whole other rant.

Re:What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (2)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753928)

Well, you could overproduce and make mere pennies, or you could curb production and run the risk that your competitors overproduce (and earn pennies) while you earn even less. Collusion to raise prices is hard.

Re:What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754090)

So your competitors are minting pennies faster than you and they get to spend the extra pennies that they mint, whereas you do not because you need to mint the pennies even though by minting them you trigger inflation which makes everybody's pennies and extra pennies worth less on a per penny basis.

Re:What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34754104)

Exactly, this is what happened with farm production and how the idea of farm subsidies got started.

Re:What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (3, Informative)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754126)

Collusion to raise prices is hard.

Not to mention illegal. :P

Re:What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754456)

Collusion to raise prices is hard.

Not to mention illegal. :P

Tell that to OPEC

Re:What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (3)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754838)

Which is conveniently under US jurisdic....

oh wait...

Re:What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755082)

OPEC is not a US corporation.

Re:What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755860)

Neither are Chinese, Taiwanese, or Korean RAM manufacturers

Re:What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755338)

Formally, yes. In many markets where there are few actors, the market is transparent and the prices can be changed at will you get a very similar behavior anyway. If one starts a price war the others follow and no one is really gaining ground, they just all lose money on it. Even without actually colluding, they may all understand it's in their own best interest not to start such wars to begin with but rather "invite" to higher prices by raising them for a short while and see if others will follow. Perhaps the most obvious example are gas stations very close to each other, it's mostly a single price broadcast on a big billboard and you can be sure it takes only minutes before they know their competition has changed their prices. They follow each other like a man and his shadow.

Re:What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753970)

i've been following the PC market since the 1990's and the days of $50/MB of RAM. this happens every few years. manufacturers ramp up production and prices plummet. then a few months later they go up again, repeat. the complete cycle usually lasts 2-3 years

you have to keep production running since the plants are built with debt and the interest has to be paid on a regular schedule

Re:What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (2)

xystren (522982) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754592)

Go back a decade further to 1987 and I can tell you stories about paying just under $800/meg for my '286...Good old DIPP. needed to buy sets of 9 chips for a bank, 4 banks of 256k to make a megabyte, at ~$18 a chip. Now I look at the price of ram and never complain when I paid that price back then

I can beat that... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34754720)

How about $99.99 for a 16K ram pack for my Sinclair ZX-81?

That's about $6000 a megabyte.

Re:What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754776)

i remember in a school lab the teacher had the only Mac with a hard drive. 80MB. i thought it was so cool and that it would last a life time

Re:What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754612)

Those plants have very hight fixed costs (mainly interest on initial investiment), and very low unitary costs. That's why, even with record low prices it doesn't make sense to reduce production. While they may not recover the initial investment, they'd lose even more money if they don't produce at full capacity.

Re:What Do You Do When Demand Is Satisfied? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34755760)

Relax. The _exact_ same thing happens every year. I've been building PCs for a very long time. The month after xmas is the time to do it precisely because of the oversupply and ripening parts. On the AMD front, the X6 has been out a while, the 6000 series ATi cards have been out a while, socket AM3 is mature. Now is the time to buy for very near cutting edge parts at a really steep discount.

You can put together a very competitive single GPU card gaming rig for under $1k. An equivalent PC would cost $3k from Dell, the parts would be 2 years ago and the cooling would be inadequate. Don't get me started on expandability or power supply quality.

Hmmm... (1)

oic0 (1864384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753842)

How this helps us must be over my head. I can't see $20 or $30 per PC price difference even filtering down to us.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

z4ns4stu (1607909) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753898)

It's economies of scale, mostly. When big companies (not just retailers, either) are saving $30/PC and they buy hundreds of thousands a year, it relieves stresses on other parts of their infrastructures that can lead to them spending more in other areas of the economy. The average consumer isn't directly affected, but even a minor drop in the cost of a component becomes a big cost saver for the major players.

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34754006)

that can lead to them spending more in other areas of the economy.

Very true. Let's just hope those "other areas" are more jobs for us.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753910)

How this helps us must be over my head. I can't see $20 or $30 per PC price difference even filtering down to us.

You know you can order your own RAM sticks and put them in a computer yourself, right? It's not like you have to buy a pre-assembled system from a licensed dealer or something...

I know, but he doesn't and neither does she (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753982)

You know you can order your own RAM sticks and put them in a computer yourself, right?

I know that. Most end users don't, and many own (older but paid-for) PCs that use previous generations of RAM technology.

It's not like you have to buy a pre-assembled system from a licensed dealer or something

In the case of video game hardware, sometimes one does. A lot of video games are never released for PC.

Re:I know, but he doesn't and neither does she (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34754724)

I can see your point, but most tech-tarded people have a geek friend that they get advice from. I know I'm surrounded by people asking for advice. Of course, that doesn't account for the wannabe geeks that THINK they're experts. My way of dealing with them without getting an anyeurism is to tell them that they are "TNT". They usually smile and say thank you. TNT = "TechNo Tarded".

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34753912)

How this helps us must be over my head. I can't see $20 or $30 per PC price difference even filtering down to us.

Not per PC. Get your PC with the minimum installed memory, and then upgrade the memory yourself. THAT'S how you get the savings. The original equipment manufacturer almost always overcharges for system memory. Especially Apple, and that's coming from an Apple fan.

Oh, and don't get your memory from Best Buy. They overcharge even more than your OEM. Go somewhere like Newegg or TigerDirect. Shop around.

I'd say it's the best time to max out the memory on your motherboard. 32G, here I come!

Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754010)

Get your PC with the minimum installed memory, and then upgrade the memory yourself.

Can the average PC user (not necessarily the more technically inclined users here on Slashdot) be trusted not to screw anything up inside a desktop or laptop PC when installing RAM sticks?

The original equipment manufacturer almost always overcharges for system memory. Especially Apple, and that's coming from an Apple fan.

Apple gets away with it by making its products' cases hard to open.

I'd say it's the best time to max out the memory on your motherboard. 32G, here I come!

32 GB? What laptop takes anywhere near that?

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754136)

32 GB? What laptop takes anywhere near that?

Who said they were talking about putting 32GB into a laptop? But if you really most know check out this [tomshardware.com] .

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34754148)

Can the average PC user (not necessarily the more technically inclined users here on Slashdot) be trusted not to screw anything up inside a desktop or laptop PC when installing RAM sticks?

It's not rocket science. You open the case, plug it in, close the case. Done.

Apple gets away with it by making its products' cases hard to open.

That might be true with the Mac Mini, but my Mac Pro is almost laughably easy to open. You flip a switch in the back, and the side falls off. You pull out a tray at the top, and the memory and processors are right there with nothing in the way.

I'd say it's the best time to max out the memory on your motherboard. 32G, here I come!

32 GB? What laptop takes anywhere near that?

Oh, we're talking about laptops. I'd say it evens out then, because some PC laptops might be easier to get into than an Apple laptop, but every time I upgrade memory in a PC desktop, I come out with bloodied knuckles from all of the sharp metal surrounding the memory slots. Just as a sidenote, not everyone is stuck on laptops. In my experience, they just don't measure up in terms of performance, whether it's a Mac or a PC.

And just for reference, I have a Mac Pro (not to be confused with the Macbook Pro) with two quad-core Xeon processors, 8G of memory, and two 1TB hard drives on RAID. I do freelance video editing as a side job.

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34754318)

Wow, I screwed up the formatting on that. The "That might be true with the Mac Mini . . ." is mine, not tepples'.

My apologies.

Had to wait for Slashdot's submission system to get over its "You must wait a little bit before using this resource; please try again later" garbage.

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (2)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754150)

Can the average PC user (not necessarily the more technically inclined users here on Slashdot) be trusted not to screw anything up inside a desktop or laptop PC when installing RAM sticks?

I’m inclined to say yeah, most of them could. And the very few who couldn’t probably know it and wouldn’t touch the inside of their computer if their life depended on it, which is okay because they are probably related to half a dozen people who could.

Yeah, you’re going to have a few truly incompetent and stupid people who take a screwdriver to their PC’s innards and screw things up something serious, but at some point we have to allow natural selection to do its job...

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754316)

Mines a year old and could do 16 if I put up the cash (and threw out the 8 I have), so I don't think its a stretch to think we'll be getting there in the near future.

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754338)

Can the average PC user (not necessarily the more technically inclined users here on Slashdot) be trusted not to screw anything up inside a desktop or laptop PC when installing RAM sticks?

Who cares? We are only talking to Slashdot readers here. Those people that you think will not be able to insert memory won't get to read that advice because it is highly unlikely that they are here. And just because Ma and Pa can't do the installation doesn't mean the advice is not good for the rest of us.

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (3, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754434)

Can the average PC user....be trusted not to screw anything up inside a desktop or laptop PC when installing RAM sticks?

From personal experience, yes. Show them a picture of where the ram slot is, how to insert it, and "make sure the notch lines up", and generally they either figure it out (80%), or call for help (20%).

Non-techies arent morons, you know, and installing ram is intentionally very hard to screw up.

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754848)

Yes. There are plenty of "non-geek" activities that require a similar level of skill, adaptability, and attention to detail.

We here at Slashdot aren't the only ones capable of learning how to do something new or complicated.

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755048)

Great. Now go back and explain to them how they killed their memory with ESD, and that they now have to process a warranty return and lie about using a wrist strap.

No, I don't use a wrist strap when I install memory, I just roll up my sleeves and keep at least one forearm in contact with the case metal, with the machine plugged in but turned off physically (where possible.)

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755484)

When I instruct the lay person in the art of installing RAM (right after the "I'd be happy to do this for you, but it's cheaper to do it yourself and it's bloody simple" speech), I include an instruction to keep oneself grounded during the operation. It just takes a second, and so far, every single user-installed RAM upgrade I've recommended (and I've recommended RAM upgrades for nearly every single personal computer that I've touched) has gone just fine.

Folks don't want to screw up their computer. And they understand ESD quite well enough by default -- after all, they've spent their whole lives getting zapped by metal bannisters and such from time to time. They just need a little bit of a clue to help them to tie the concepts together.

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34755494)

Great. Now go back and explain to them how they killed their memory with ESD, and that they now have to process a warranty return and lie about using a wrist strap.

No, I don't use a wrist strap when I install memory, I just roll up my sleeves and keep at least one forearm in contact with the case metal, with the machine plugged in but turned off physically (where possible.)

You are so full of BS, that i have to call you out.
- I've been juggling RAM for decades, and I've yet to kill any with ESD. ESD might exist, but I can't get it to kill anything for love nor money. I don't know anyone (IRL) which has fried a chip due to ESD.
- Lie about using a wrist strap, - You're going to crack under the pressure? Grow some balls.
- Your line "keep at least one forearm in contact with the case metal" has got me thinking. When is the last time I've seen a laptop with a reasonable amount of metal which you could touch with your forearm while installing ram. All of the laptops i've used in the last 5years (excluding the newer macbooks), have a removeable slot for 2x dimms on the rear. There is barely enough room for your fingers to pop in a stick of ram, let alone get ur forearm to touch something metal.

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (2)

n1ckml007 (683046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755652)

I've been preaching the no ESD straps for a long time. I have never killed any electronics with ESD.

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755606)

Uncomfortable truth: your day job isn't really all that hard, any tool can install ram.

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756230)

I haven't used a wrist strap since I was born, and never actually paid attention to ESD in anyway, and have never, ever broke a single piece of electronic equipment. It really doesn't matter.

Disassembling the Mac mini (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755884)

Show them a picture of where the ram slot is

Good luck getting them past the steps of disassembling the Mac mini, iMac, or MacBook, and then getting everything back in place later.

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754818)

Installing memory is pretty easy these days. It's not 1984.

OTOH, some people can screw up boiling water. (my local windows problem child is like that)

If you can follow instructions on a box of rice-a-roni, you can do a RAM upgrade on a PC.

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755268)

The only way I can think of to screw it up is to either try and force the chip in the wrong orientation or fail to take the appropriate precautions against static. Computers have been increasingly color coded since round about the PC97 standard.

At this point, if it looks like it fits, it's a pretty good bet that it is intended to go in that slot.

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755504)

Can the average PC user (not necessarily the more technically inclined users here on Slashdot) be trusted not to screw anything up inside a desktop or laptop PC when installing RAM sticks?

My mother managed to upgrade the RAM in her computer, following some instructions over the telephone, and she's one of the least computer-literate people I know.

Apple gets away with it by making its products' cases hard to open.

Let me guess, you've never used a Mac. All of them have very easily accessible RAM slots. The Mac Pro and the old PowerMac G5 let you slide everything out including the motherboard with far less effort than any PC I've dismantled other than a few servers. The PowerBooks / MacBooks Pro have a small cover on the underside, held in with four (philips head) screws, with the RAM slots directly underneath. I've not looked at the MacBook, but the iBook just required moving a few clips so the keyboard slid out and then putting the RAM in underneath.

In spite of that, it's cheaper (often by as much as 50%) to get the default RAM configuration, throw the stock RAM in the bin, buy modules from a third party, and install them.

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755964)

... The PowerBooks / MacBooks Pro have a small cover on the underside, held in with four (philips head) screws, with the RAM slots directly underneath. I've not looked at the MacBook, but the iBook just required moving a few clips so the keyboard slid out and then putting the RAM in underneath.

I think he's just used to Dell laptops - you just drop them on the floor and the RAM (and hard drive and 8 flimsy plastic doors) pop off. Really can't get easier than that.

Mac mini (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755982)

Let me guess, you've never used a Mac. All of them have very easily accessible RAM slots. The Mac Pro and the old PowerMac G5

Let me guess, you've never used a Mac mini from before mid-2010. Quoting Apple's support page about Mac mini memory upgrades [apple.com] : "Important: You should not manually upgrade or replace the memory in these Mac mini models. Instead, contact an Apple Authorized Service Provider to install memory for you."

I've not looked at the MacBook, but the iBook just required

MacBooks require the removal of several screws of different lengths, which can be a pain upon reassembly after a family member has spilled them. There are three different procedures [apple.com] .

Re:Can Joe Sixpack be trusted to install RAM? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#34756220)

I used to have a job that included helping computer-illiterate old ladies upgrade the RAM on their MacSE's over the phone. Those were some long calls. I think we sent out the Torx drivers and Mac crackers with the RAM. "Now, ma'am, don't touch that [description of flyback transformer] or you might die." None ever gave up and all were successful. I think at the time computer users were a self-selected hardened population.

Camelegg Graphs (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753932)

How this helps us must be over my head. I can't see $20 or $30 per PC price difference even filtering down to us.

Well, for those of us that are savvy enough to build our own or upgrade existing, there sure has been evidence in pricing [camelegg.com] . Every memory I look at [camelegg.com] shows a pretty steady decline in price. Compare that to something like SSDs and you'll see the charts for SSDs fluctuate up and down more wildly. DDR3 especially seems to have an overall downward trend over the past couple months.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753946)

Those who purchase RAM as an upgrade, or for a custom build, will probably see a pretty decent lowering in price.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754022)

It's already happening. I've seen at least two deals in the past week for 8 GB of DDR3 (2x4GB) for $65.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753976)

instead of 2gb of ram, your bottom basement bargain box will now feature 3gb of ram! (substitute 4gb, $1000 dell, 6gb if you want)

Alternatively, when building your own on a budget, those $20 saved can be invested on a faster CPU, bigger hard-drive, faster video-card, bigger monitor, or your own personal improvement point, leading to a better computer

Especially scenario #2 is beneficial to us card carying computer geeks, so if you cant see that, perhaps it is time to hand in that membership card

Re:Hmmm... (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753986)

all the online PC configurators are offering "free" upgrades to 6GB or 8GB RAM from 4GB

In other news... (1)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753866)

In other news...

Samsung has announced official sponsorship of the popular video-blog 'Will It Blend?'

Excellent stocking stuffers (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753886)

"I got an action figure!" "I got some DRAM chips!" "I got a rock."

Re:Excellent stocking stuffers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34754366)

"stocking stuffers....I got a rock"

Wrong holiday.

Big surprise (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753908)

Prices of durable consumer goods drop off dramatically directly after the biggest month for sale of durable consumer goods. Film at 11.

More history (4, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753952)

historic highs around $2.80

You want historic highs? I remember a DRAM crunch in the 1980s when prices spiked at about $1000 per megabyte. (That's about 150,000 times more costly per bit than current prices.)

Now, get off my lawn.

Re:More history (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34753980)

historic highs around $2.80

You want historic highs? I remember a DRAM crunch in the 1980s when prices spiked at about $1000 per megabyte. (That's about 150,000 times more costly per bit than current prices.)

Now, get off my lawn.

I remember when it was higher....

No, you're on MY lawn .... the property line is over there!

--Grumpier old man

Re:More history (2)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754482)

I paid $125 to upgrade my Atari 400 from 8K to 32K.

Re:More history (1)

divemaster (221040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754962)

So my Mac mini upgrade to 8GB should come to about $31 million - without adjusting for inflation...

Hey Apple's not that bad on ram upgrades !

Hey did you buy the upgrade for the membrane keyboard? Ah the Atari 400 - my first computer, plus you could fly it like a starfighter. If only my Mac came with Star Raiders....

Re:More history (1)

garyok (218493) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755870)

Meh - the ZX81 16K RAM pack cost £50 in 1982, or $87.53 in Freedom Money. Adjusting for inflation, that's $191 (or $12,224/MB) in today's money.

Re:More history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34754502)

I paid close to $1000.00 for 48k of ram for my Apple II. The chips even had the apple logo stamped on them.

Now get off my nursing homes lawn!

Re:More history (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755086)

Some of my friends supported themselves during that time by recycling DRAM DIPs from dumpster-diven PCBs. Propane torch the back of the PCB and they drop into a bowl of water, clean the legs with a sucker and/or braid, and then drop them into a homebuilt test rig. They made thousands. A little toxic for my tastes but doing that particular kind of stuff is over now anyway. (Maybe, though, you could bake SMT components off boards in an oven, if any of them were worth anything.)

Re:More history (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755522)

Maybe I wasn't paying attention, but I don't remember being able to buy DDR3 chips for any price in the '80s...

Re:More history (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755958)

Hmm, I can't imagine what 1 Megabyte of magnetic core would have cost...

Ram it in the motherboard (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754032)

PC makers typically spend about 10 percent, or $20 to $36, of a PC's total manufacturing cost on DRAM.

So, if you buy a computer for $200-$360, you are basically getting it at cost.

Re:Ram it in the motherboard (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755306)

That's already known. The profit margin for computers in that range is practically non-existent. Which is why you'll find those low end Dells without the on board temperature monitor or really anything optional. And why if you want to adjust the configuration even with cheaper components it ends up costing double the price.

I'd be surprised if that didn't apply to most other mass producers of computers as well.

A phrase designed for this day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34754156)

Finally a chance to use the phrase "cheap as chips" in context.

$2.80 to $0.84? (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754164)

Wow, am I ever shopping at the wrong places! :-)

Re:$2.80 to $0.84? (4, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754250)

That's probably for the chip, before it's soldered onto a DIMM, before it's even left the factory.

You'd be amazed how much money needs to be spent to turn it into something you can actually plug into your PC.

Re:$2.80 to $0.84? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34754506)

Indeed. Also note that it say giga-BIT, not giga-BYTE. That's a 128MB memory chip. So you need 8 of those to make a 1GB stick of RAM.

Re:$2.80 to $0.84? (5, Informative)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754596)

Its also per gigaBIT, not gigabyte. Multiply by 8 and you have $22.40 sticks dropping to $6.40. I do remember it being around $20 a gig a while ago, and if you check current prices RAM is about $8 a gig now.

Re:$2.80 to $0.84? (1)

gumpish (682245) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755412)

Newegg doesn't have any DDR3 less than $10/GB, which makes your $8/GB figure 20% lower than what that particular site offers.

Where do you shop for RAM?

Re:$2.80 to $0.84? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754614)

Not to mention the density requirements imposed by requiring it to be in a form factor you can plug into your PC. Denser memory is more expensive per byte than less dense memory.

Re:$2.80 to $0.84? (1)

arcsimm (1084173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754430)

Still, my jaw hit the floor when, on reading this article, I checked Newegg and found that an 8GB DDR3 kit could be had for less money than what I paid for a 4GB kit at this time last year. I'm almost certainly going to have to jump on that...

Re:$2.80 to $0.84? (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754528)

That's exactly what I did after reading the article-- ran off to Newegg to check if the manufacturing variable is being directly correlated to sales prices... and it is!

This is great news for those who bought new computers (or built new systems) over the Holidays and didn't max out the RAM due to the price. I have a couple people who I advised in December about buying full systems that I need to contact now to say, "You know how I said that RAM prices fluctuate significantly with natural disasters, political strife, etc.? Well, the prices are down due to over-production and it's time to max out that system you skimped on! Make that computer a 5-year investment!"

Re:$2.80 to $0.84? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34755204)

That's exactly what I did after reading the article-- ran off to Newegg to check if the manufacturing variable is being directly correlated to sales prices... and it is!

thanks for the confirmation, I just went there and ordered 4GB more RAM (bringing me up to 8GB) for $49.99... I am not super happy with the warranty process or the fact that I had to RMA my last pair of these DIMMs, but they are smoking fast: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK [newegg.com] they have 8-8-8-21 timings which are misdetected by my Gigabyte motherboard, classy. I want all four DIMMs identical though. I intend to upgrade to a six-core processor (I have Phenom II X3 720 now) when they come down to $100, which is the most I've spent on anything in this computer so far. RAM, Video card, CPU, and motherboard were each $100 when I bought in. Now, I'm doubling my ram for half the original memory cost...

actual street costs (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | more than 3 years ago | (#34754886)

At $0.84/gigabit, that's $27 for 4GB worth of loose DDR3 chips. Considering that a pair of 2GB DDR3 modules (@CAS latency 9) runs about $35 and up, the margins must be next to nonexistent. I just ordered a pair of 2GB DDR3 1600 modules (CL6) for $72; I wonder how much extra I got taken for...

Apple memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34755454)

Wow, even Apple brought its prices down. Still expensive compared to other sources, but cheaper [apple.com] than the $100 per gig it was three months ago.

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