Up For Debate - Is Now a Good Time to Buy PC RAM?

Written by Jon Sutton on Sun, Mar 10, 2019 4:21 PM

For a long time, expensive DRAM has been one of the biggest obstacles to a good PC build. Back in 2016, we didn’t know we had it so good, but recent years has seen the price of RAM shoot up to quadruple its original value.

Those DRAM manufacturers are getting their comeuppance now though, as there are repeated reports of excess inventory and plummeting prices. Memory prices peaked in early 2018 but have been steadily declining since. You can now pick up 16GB DDR4 RAM for well under half the price you could in January 2018.

According to a new report from DRAM analysts DRMAeXchange, the previous quarter has enjoyed the sharpest quarterly decline in DRAM prices since 2011. The prices of RAM dropped 30% in the past three months alone. It’s great news for PC gamers, but terrible for DRAM manufacturers and suppliers. Oh, how our hearts bleed for them.

DRAM suppliers are currently sat on a growing inventory of DRAM, with most allegedly sitting on six weeks’ worth of supply. Intel’s CPU shortage means sales are down as well, meaning consumption of DRAM has dropped considerably. “The overall market has thus entered freefall, meaning that large reductions in prices aren't going to be effective in driving sales,” says DRAMeXchange. “The excessively high inventory will continue to cause down-corrections in prices this year if demand doesn't make a strong comeback.”

If, like me, you’ve been unprepared to pay ridiculous prices like £200 for 16GB DDR4 RAM, then we’re now entering crunch time. The cost of DRAM is now half that and could well be set to plummet even lower in the months ahead.

For PC gamers, we’re now entering the territory where upgrading your RAM makes a great deal of financial sense. The big question now though is - is this the right time to pull the trigger? Do you think now is the best time to upgrade your RAM, or should we wait for an even bigger price decline?

is now a good time to buy RAM?

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04:55 Mar-16-2019

Right now i find it is the best time to buy memory especially when it is this low again because we don't know when we will have some kind of shortage of memory again and the prices would skyrocket.
If you think about this as well the more you wait the chance that by the time you decide "ill buy this memory as an upgrade" the prices jumps up by 25% to 50% which then you would miss your chance and regretting it later on.

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15:27 Mar-15-2019

wait till DDR5 :)

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20:18 Mar-12-2019

I don't know about you all but I get by fine with 8GB still...

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09:56 Mar-13-2019

How much RAM is used when you game?

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08:59 Mar-15-2019

same here, nothing goes above 5-6 gb

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08:56 Mar-16-2019

You using dual channel with 2x4GB sticks?

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14:09 Mar-16-2019

I am yes...

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08:06 Mar-18-2019

Good, at least you'll get a small performance boost that way.

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09:21 Mar-16-2019

1x8gb

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08:08 Mar-18-2019

I wonder just how much performance you would gain by having a dual channel RAM configuration?

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08:12 Mar-18-2019

Yeah I know it would be better, I plan to do that on the long run. But i'm just a student with limited budget so "upgrades" come when they are absolutely neccessary.

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08:17 Mar-18-2019

I understand that better than most, also I applaud your sound reasoning.


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03:33 Mar-12-2019

prices are much better now but prices are still supposed to continue to drop

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14:14 Mar-11-2019

My Corsair 2400MHz DDR4 32GB (2x16) kits cost £114.68 back in 2016, now they're back down to £172.79 as of the time of writing. They were almost £400 during the peak pricefixing period. Crazy. But yeah, we can start buying RAM again. Slowly.


Thinking about it...why the hell would I pay near £800 for another 64GB RAM when I originally paid only £230. Stupid pricefixing..

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18:56 Mar-11-2019

Couldn't have said it better myself.

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14:08 Mar-11-2019

I would say it like always, do you need it? If answer is yes, then it is fairly good time, not best, but I don't think prices will absolutely plunge in short term and you do need it. If not, if it is just nice to have, then wait, there is nothing to lose, if you will wait long enough you might be buying DDR5...

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14:10 Mar-11-2019

... and it is not like you terribly need it. It just depend on how much you need it and if current configuration can do what you need it to do, there is no hurry. Also if you already have 16GB for gaming, you don't really need more anyway. And you will sooner be going to DDR5 than need more.

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06:05 Mar-11-2019

Don't know about other countries, but here (surprisingly!) in Bulgaria, you can get decent G.skill 16 gb kit (3000 Mhz, 15 cl) for -100-110$ - 1 year ago it was closer to 220$+
so,I'd say,YES! Even if they do drop more, I'd rather not wait

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04:14 Mar-11-2019

Anyone who is buying 4 GB and 8 GB sticks should immediately stop. They are equivalent to buying VHS and DVD. We currently have Blu-Ray = 16 GB, 4k Blu-Ray = 32 GB, and 8k Blu-Ray just around the corner = 64 GB and 128 GB. Keeping old tech in stock by buying it does short term good, but hurts progression.

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11:15 Mar-11-2019

Agree with you on the 4 GB sticks.
Most games are fine with 16 GB so 8GB sticks will be around for a while probably.

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14:22 Mar-11-2019

PlayStation 1 - 3 MB RAM
PlayStation 2 - 36 MB RAM (36/3 = 12)
PlayStation 3 - 512 MB RAM (512/36 = 14.222)
PlayStation 4 - 8 GB RAM (8000/512 = 15.625)
PlayStation 5 - 13.949 (average) * 8 = 111.592 GB RAM
8 GB, 16 GB, and 32 GB RAM should start being phased out in the year 2020 according to convention when the new consoles start appearing, but we are far behind on increased RAM storage and prices are absurd enough that I don't think we will have a decent upgrade in RAM storage when the time comes.

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18:52 Mar-11-2019

Price fixing from the manufacturers, is perhaps one of the main culprits regarding the unrealistic RAM prices we've had to endure these last few years.

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04:09 Mar-11-2019

wait, is "No wait" the same as "Yes" because, you know, negative of negative or something like that

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09:33 Mar-11-2019

Well, it's 'No, wait', but commas get stripped out of polls whatever stupid reason

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10:19 Mar-11-2019

must be some weird bugs, hope you guys can fix it then

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11:35 Mar-11-2019

Yeah, hopefully it's not too confusing but something to bear in mind

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14:15 Mar-11-2019

Can you use dashes? Like "YES - buy" and "No - wait". Or just have "buy" and "wait", which is even more obvious.

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00:48 Mar-11-2019

Meh, we've waited this long may as well keeping waiting till DDR5

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23:43 Mar-10-2019

I was planing a system overhaul once Ryzen 3xxx drops so that i can upgrade CPU+MOBO+RAM to the new system.


Anyone else thinks it is a wise decision or im just being stupid ?

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02:05 Mar-11-2019

its what im doing. keep an eye on ram prices cuz they are more volatile. get the ram when its the lowest you are willing to wait. everything else will come out later and the price will be high but atleast you got the ram as low as possible.

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21:20 Mar-10-2019

Now is a decent time to pick up a sweet deal, but if can afford to wait 2 months the price might drop by 1/3.
This is just speculation on my part tho, so take it with a pinch of salt.

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20:49 Mar-10-2019

so glad i bought 16 gb in 2016, got them for 80€.

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21:20 Mar-10-2019

I hope prices drop like that again so I can pickup another 16GB XD

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18:24 Mar-10-2019

The sweet spot to buy might be a few months from now. When Ryzen 3000 hits I'd wager ram will start moving again and the price decline may be cut a bit shorter, there's barely any demand right now. I just picked up a 16GB G.Skill 3200CL14 RGB B-die kit for 190€ and will hold it for my Ryzen 3000 upgrade.

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21:13 Mar-10-2019

Ryzen 3000 isn't affected by RAM speeds like previous Ryzen is (to my knowledge so far), so it shouldn't drive prices up as every kit should work just fine and not make too much of a difference in performance.

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17:47 Mar-10-2019

5-6€/GB is a decent price for entry level RAM imo, so nope it's still a bit too expensive, but not so much more expensive that I'd say it's a bad time to buy RAM.
It's an "OK" time to buy RAM.

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17:44 Mar-10-2019

i would say no, but mostly because DDR5 is just around the corner with a planned release for 2020

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21:21 Mar-10-2019

Those building a system rarely wait a year for new RAM tech.

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09:17 Mar-11-2019

true, my comment was mostly geared towards people upgrading that can wait :)

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11:06 Mar-11-2019

In all likelihood I will be among those few that will wait for the DDR5.
I just hope that the tech isn't going to be too expensive at launch.

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12:13 Mar-11-2019

agreed

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17:36 Mar-10-2019

I dont really need to upgrade as 16gb 1333Mhz is still doing the trick in most games.

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17:01 Mar-10-2019

this is the perfect time to wait. rams price is on downfall! But still 100€ for 16gb ddr4 is not bad and even less

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16:41 Mar-10-2019

Prices are weird more than high, in my country i can buy a 8gb 3200mhz stick for the same price as a 2400mhz stick, and the 16gb bundle is pricier than the two single sticks combined!

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17:35 Mar-10-2019

What?, thats really weird xD

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16:32 Mar-10-2019

unless you already have 16gb for gaming you´re good if not the prices should still lower in the second quarter of 2019 according to market analysts.

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