Prices for server DRAM chips and RDIMM modules are forecast to rise in the first and second quarters of 2018. The top three server DRAM suppliers will increase prices by a handful of points to help drive sales as they roll-out 32-GB RDIMM products, according to the latest data from DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce.
Suppliers are offering favorable contract prices as they transition into new platforms and high-density modules, which is “dampening the price rise,” according to Mark Liu, senior analyst at DRAMeXchange.
“According to our latest data, the average selling prices (ASPs) of both RDIMM modules and server DRAM chips will rise by 4 percent in Q1 of 2018,” he said.
Liu expects prices to continue to rise in the second quarter (Q2) of 2018 as server demand continues to increase in China. He forecasts 20 percent growth in the Chinese market in Q2.
“We expect server DRAM modules and server DRAM chips to have a low single-digit growth in Q2 2018,” he said.
However, the price increases in the first half of 2018 are minimal compared to price hikes for server DRAM products last year. Prices rose by 40 percent in Q1 and 10 percent in Q2 of 2017, due to tight supply.
The server industry has benefited from the growth of smart devices, and cloud computing and cloud storage. The increasing demand for data centers worldwide – and server DRAM – is driving “the top three DRAM suppliers to increase the proportion of advanced processes in overall output in the second half of 2018, which will improve cost structure and the adoption rate of high-density modules,” said Liu.
Korean DRAM suppliers are expected to manufacture high-density 16-Gb mono die in the third quarter (Q3) of 2018 with the goal of increasing the penetration rate of modules with density above 64 GB, said Liu. He also expects the mainstream server DRAM process will shift to 17-nm and 18-nm nodes.
“The increasing proportion of high-density chips and improvement in cost structure will accelerate the speed of transition into high-density modules,” the analyst added.
Even as suppliers shift to higher density modules and 17-nm and 18-nm node processes in Q3, Liu believes “the situation of tight supply will continue, therefore, the prices of server DRAM will remain stable or go up slightly” in the second half of 2018.