RAM (Random Access Memory) is the hardware inside any computer device, such as your laptop or PC.
It is where all the data and application programs are stored.
In simple terms, it is short-term memory where the data is stored as the computer processor requires it.
With time, RAM has become increasingly expensive.
Why Is RAM So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
There are many reasons RAM has become so expensive these days.
That includes high demand and less supply, complex technology, wider applications and uses, and many others.
We will explore these reasons further in this article to offer you a clear picture.
Here are the top ten reasons RAM is expensive now:
1. High Demand And Less Supply
In basic economics, the theory of supply and demand is a huge factor in determining the price of a certain product.
People have become more fascinated with gadgets and other products that have helped us connect to the digital world in recent years.
Because of this high demand, the prices have also increased.
That is because there isn’t an endless supply of RAM manufacturers in the market.
Instead, only a few companies are producing this piece of hardware, and even they have not increased their production significantly to meet the demand.
Many experts are also of the view that these companies don’t increase production so that the price of RAM can increase.
Few companies currently operate in the RAM market, which is why there is a monopoly.
These companies control the supply and demand of high prices from consumers as there is less competition.
If the price should come down, then these manufacturers will increase the supply.
2. Complex Technology
Creating RAM is not an ordinary process because a lot of technical equipment is required to create this technology.
The only problem is that sometimes the impurities inside silicone can be damaging to the creation of the chips, which is why companies have to keep the surrounding production environment incredibly clean.
Besides the high-tech equipment, RAM manufacturers also require engineering expertise.
That is because the memory of the RAM has to be attached to the mainboard or the printed circuit board (PCB) to the product it will be used in.
Even the PCB is delicate, and manufacturers need to take extensive precautions to ensure that the environment is clean and under the guidance of expert engineers.
Producing the RAM in this way is highly complex, and this adds to the cost of the manufacturers.
For example, they have to invest at least a few hundred thousand dollars to a few million dollars on each machine.
There is nothing more complicated than the process of RAM production, and this complexity translates into high prices for the consumer.
3. Wider Applications And Uses
As RAM technology progresses, its applications and uses are also increasing.
Many people think that RAM is only exclusive to people using PCs, but that is not true anymore.
Each day we see new smartphones and tablets rolling out that offer excellent speed to the user.
Such speed is not magically created, but the RAM is the hardware that determines the speed of your tablets and smartphones.
For example, companies such as Samsung and Google are always in competition to offer the latest technology to their users.
Such technology also includes RAM.
These top companies will pay a lot of money to RAM manufacturers so that they can get their hands on the latest chips to use in their devices.
Because of this, companies are now producing more and more DDR4 RAM.
You might be thinking that if they are producing more, then the price should be lower.
That is not the case at all because tech giants such as Samsung, Google, and Apple are paying these RAM manufacturers top dollar for their products.
When this happens, manufacturers will shift their production to creating RAM for mobile devices and charging high prices.
As a result, the production of RAM for computers is still the same, and the price keeps on rising as the demand is not met.
4. COVID-19 Supply Chain
COVID-19 has adversely affected production and the supply chain.
The consequences are still there as we are seeing no end in sight to the virus.
During the initial lockdown and strict quarantine periods, everyone was at home, and production had also decreased.
Because of this, the supply chain on which RAM is dependent was greatly affected.
Creating RAM is not an easy process as you are not just running the factor.
Instead, you need various components at the factor that goes into creating high-quality RAM.
These components come from different parts of the world and have unique prices.
COVID-19 led to labor shortage, logistics disruption, and restricted movement of goods across borders.
All of these problems meant that obtaining these materials became more expensive.
Such high costs for the manufacturers also mean a high price for the consumer.
The supply chain is still a little disrupted, and it will take some time for the companies to go back to life before COVID-19.
That doesn’t mean the prices will go lower, as RAM manufacturers still have to incur high costs.
5. Chip Shortage
In recent times, there has been a chip shortage that has affected the prices of all PC components.
While RAM is not affected that much yet, the upcoming DDR5 RAM will be greatly affected due to this shortage.
RAM is already prone to high price fluctuations, and this shortage will take the fluctuation even further than before.
There has been a global chip shortage since 2020, and this shortage will continue for a while longer.
As long as this chip shortage is there, RAM production will also be affected, along with the production of other computer and smartphone components.
While this chip shortage is getting better, we don’t know the long-term effects or ramifications on the price of the current shortage.
6. Natural Disasters
Yes, even natural disasters affect the RAM price as it affects the factories and markets.
For example, there was flooding in Thailand in 2012 that affected many factories that were involved in producing RAM.
Because of this, prices started to rise as production was still affected.
Such events highlight the weakness that plagues all industries, and this includes the electronics industry.
That is because such products come from limited geographical regions, which can become affected because of these disasters.
Taiwan, China, and Thailand are some of the top producers of RAM.
If any natural calamity happens in any of these areas, it will affect the entire RAM production and supply chain.
While these events are not that common, they still drive the price of RAM upwards from time to time.
7. Rise In The Prices Of Raw Materials
RAM production will be incomplete without the raw materials it is made from.
Generally, the prices of these goods and components are rising globally, which is also affecting the price of RAM.
The manufacturers of RAM will transfer the cost of raw materials and production to the consumer as they are running a business and must make profits.
As long as these prices are rising, we will not see RAM prices dropping anytime soon.
These manufacturing costs need to be kept in check through other means if RAM is to be affordable and accessible.
That is not happening anytime soon, as globally, the price of all goods and services are rising.
8. Labor Costs
Labor costs also add to the cost of RAM.
It is not easy to create an excellent RAM because it requires the expertise of many people.
Such technicians and experts guide the entire process of RAM production and offer consultation to manufacturers on how they can enhance their RAM productions.
Such expertise does not come cheap, and manufacturers have to pay a high price to obtain such expertise.
That is because everyone wants a competitive edge in the market, which is why they will pay top dollar for hiring experts or opting for consultation.
All these small costs add up and end up with the consumer.
Companies are also willing to pay significant money to obtain the best RAM.
9. Compact Design
It is not easy to fit so much memory into a small chip.
A RAM with a high memory will need to have a compact design so that it can easily fit into a PC, laptop, or smartphone.
Getting such a compact design is not easy and requires experts to go through many technical details that make it compact.
Even ensuring the right parts that contribute to this design is important for the manufacturer to receive.
That is why compact design is another reason that the price of RAM is high.
As technology is getting smaller, its prices and costs are increasing at an alarming rate as it is not easy to keep these items small.
10. B2B Model
RAM manufacturers don’t cater to normal consumers.
Instead, their business model is B2B, which is why the prices are also high as these manufacturers sell the items to big companies that will pay significant money to get their hands on the best RAM.
Such a business model means a high price as the market is limited.
If RAM was available to the typical everyday consumer, then the price would not be that high as production would be taking place on a small scale.
Right now, the production is limited because RAM is for other businesses.
This also adds to the cost unless there is a high demand and mass production to meet this demand.
Types Of RAM
Now that you understand the top ten reasons that RAM is expensive, let us explore the various types of RAM that are available in the market.
Here is a complete list of all the types of RAM:
SRAM or static RAM stores data using the six transistor memory cells.
If you know about cache memory in your PC processor, then you would know that this is where SRAM comes in handy.
Here are some of the top things you must know about SRAM:
- SRAM has a low access time, which means it is fast.
- It is quite costly.
- It will require a constant power supply, which is why it consumes more power.
- The internal circuit of SRAM is complex and offers a low storage capacity.
- It has a low packaging density.
These are the top features that make SRAM what it is.
Such memory is important for the CPU.
With DRAM or dynamic RAM, you can store each data bit in a unique capacitor inside a particular integrated circuit.
You will find DRAM in almost all modern computers.
That is because it is the standard computer memory that you will need for your PC.
Here are some of the top features you must understand about this type of RAM:
- The access time is high, which means it is a little slow.
- It doesn’t cost too much.
- It consumes less power because the capacitor stores important information.
- It offers a large storage capacity.
- The packaging density is high.
- It must be regularly refreshed with the voltage, or it will lose its information.
Any computer will be incomplete without the DRAM.
That is why this is the type of RAM that is most common in technological items, as it also has a lot to offer.
3. SDR RAM
While DRAM and SRAM are the most important RAMs, there are also others you must make a note of.
For example, the synchronous dynamic access memory (SDR RAM) has an access time that lies between 10 and 25 nanoseconds.
The SDR RAM will store the data using a capacitor and its integrated circuits.
On one side of the SDR RAM, there are terminations that you can insert in one of the individual slots for the memory of the motherboard.
Even this is a useful RAM for your CPU that will offer you use for a long time.
4. FPM DRAM
This type of memory is also known as the Fast Page Mode Dynamic RAM.
The unique point of this RAM is that it will wait during the entire process of data bit location by row and column.
After that, it will read the bit before it starts on the coming bit.
The maximum transfer rate of this RAM is more than 170 Mbps.
You will also find this type of RAM in your computer.
5. RD RAM
The Rambus Dynamic RAM works in parallel, which means that you can easily obtain a data rate of 1,600 Mbps.
If this type of RAM is in your PC or computer, then it will generate a lot of heat.
Such heat is a result of the speed at which this RAM operates.
It can also lead to overheating issues if you use the PC for too long.
That is why it is important to let your PC cool down for a while whenever you are using it for extended periods.
6. EDO RAM
The Extended Data Output RAM does not wait for the processing of the first bit to complete before moving on to the next
As soon as this type of RAM locates the first-bit address, it will move on to the next one.
Video RAM is one of the best RAM for video adapters.
These RAM chips have two ports so that you can write the video data to the chips simultaneously while the adapter reads the memory to refresh the current display of the monitor.
8. DDR SDRAM
This is known as the Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic RAM.
You can think of it as just being similar to the SDRAM.
The main difference between the two is that DDR DDRAM has a significant bandwidth, which means you receive excellent speed.
Uses Of RAM
RAM can be used in various technologies.
If you are considering purchasing RAM, here are some of the top uses of RAM:
1. Storing Memory
RAM is one of the biggest memory pieces you will find on the computer hardware after the magnetic hard drive.
The primary application of RAM is to store programs and data that the CPU will use in real-time.
The data inside the RAM can be erased, read, and written many times.
RAM is also placed inside a smartphone to ensure that you have enough memory to store all your data.
The largest smartphone companies invest in the best RAM so that the consumer can have a great user experience.
These RAM chips are incredibly small for ease of fitting in the smartphone.
3. Gaming Consoles
Finally, RAM is also used in gaming consoles to ensure that you can store all your data and programs with ease.
Games take up a lot of space and have a lot of information that requires a safe place to store.
That is where the RAM comes in handy.
These were the top ten reasons RAM is so expensive.
All computers and other pieces of technology are expensive because they require expertise and precise production, and the demand and supply are volatile.
COVID-19 also affected the global supply chain, which led to the rise in prices across various industries.
While there has been some decline in prices, it will continue to go upwards if the supply chain is this volatile and disruptive.
Besides that, prices will remain the same unless production changes.
Only time will tell what the price of RAM will be like in the coming years.