And while it's difficult to predict exactly when supply will improve, most reports suggest this won't happen until late when manufacturing of layer and layer 3D NAND flash reaches maturity. Until then, demand will continue to heavily outweight supply.
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So, okay, it's a supply issue -- but why? What's the main driver behind either supply decreasing or demand increasing? I believe we've been faced with a sort of double whammy. The major DRAM suppliers shifted focus away from DDR4 production due to tight margins, investing elsewhere, while growth in the traditional desktop sector over previous years was slow and nobody wanted to pay a premium for DDR4 products, resulting in a loss of interest from manufacturers who couldn't meet their planned targets and returns.
However, in we saw a rapid shift in market demand toward desktop computing, not just Intel but now also AMD were shipping processors supporting DDR4 memory. With demand outweighing supply, prices increased and DDR4 margins were no longer tight. By mid, pricing of memory modules soared significantly and unfortunately it doesn't look like manufacturers will be ramping up production any time soon.
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According to market research firm DRAMeXchange , the three major DDR4 suppliers Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron slowed down their capacity expansions and technology migrations to maintain prices in at the same levels seen in the second half of last year, which is presumably related to their interest in sustaining strong profit margins. The construction of new fabs is underway to help the strained supply but they won't be ready for mass production until at the earliest. It's predicted by Gartner that DDR4 pricing will crash in and history would suggest this is likely to happen as that's the cycle we go through every few years with memory pricing.
China has the potential to change things here with its aggressive approach to the semiconductor market, which could cause pricing to become even more unpredictable. Chinese memory could flood markets worldwide causing pricing to plummet.
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Right now there is a large number of Chinese fabs being built and it is expected that the country will take second place for investment in semiconductors this year as it equips the many new fabs that began construction in and It's also been reported that China's National Development and Reform Commission is investigating the possibility of DRAM price-fixing between the major industry players, and this has of course been sparked by the price surge we've been talking about.
If found guilty, it's hard to predict what the ramifications would or could be, so we'll have to see how that story plays out. It would appear as though they do have quite a bit of power here, as SK Hynix and Samsung both have a number of facilities in China. So if you have a choice: If you absolutely must get it for as low as possible, the week of Black Friday does offer better discounts on both air and closed-loop coolers. Typically most discounts that spring up over the year are decent, so if the model you want is on sale, go for it.
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Because many builders have brand loyalties, specific features they want, and additional form factor requirements, getting a killer bargain on your motherboard of choice can be like waiting to win the lottery. That gives you the opportunity to score a deal on the CPU, and possibly also an additional combo or bundle discount. Just be prepared to abandon any hope of keeping to a specific aesthetic.
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They might only seem so compared to earlier this year, when the mining crisis was in full swing. So if you've waited months for a reasonable price on a Polaris or Pascal card, hang in there just a little longer. It can only get better in November. Two exceptions to this advice: The first is the GTX Ti, which has been reported as being low in stock.
It may be more prudent just to buy one now, if you see a reasonable price for the version you want. The other is Nvidia's new RTX cards. Their newness, the overall level of demand, and the potential for alternatives i. Depends on capacity. Hard-disk drive prices stay fairly consistent throughout the year, particularly on drives that are 2TB or smaller. For higher-capacity drives, the longer time passes, the better the street price gets.
It can be worth seeing what discount you get during the week of the 23rd. Memory prices have been so bad that every penny you can save is worth it. You can only save more, not less. Black Friday is a great time to catch a deal on budget cases, but you can also find discounts on higher-end models.
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Not all cases go on sale, but typically a good handful of the popular models will get at least a little love. Even if you have a specific component in mind, you may still find yourself wondering whether a different sale option is better. This list will make it easier to compare. Don't expect any barn-burners after Cyber Monday, either. No one knows how tariffs will affect prices, so decide whether you want to avoid that risk or take a gamble.
You can reach her on Twitter at morphingball. Black Friday What to buy now, what to wait for.