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DRAM And NAND Prices Fall
Quote:Good news for consumers: prices for DRAM memory and NAND flash chips will start falling in the fourth quarter "ending nine straight quarters of growth", and that downward trend will continue throughout 2019 according to DRAMeXchange. Their data shows that average DRAM price will drop by 15~20% YoY in 2019 due to several reasons. Smartphones won't see remarkable shipments next year, for example, but there is also uncertainty in server shipments and the shortage of Intel CPUs could affect notebook and PC shipments. DRAM manufacturers expect a high possibility of oversupply, and DRAM expects the annual bit output to increase by nearly 22%, with the 1X/1Y processes going mature and the wafer starts increasing.

The trend will also affect NAND flash chips, which dropped 10% in price in the third quarter and are expected to fall another 10-15% in the fourth quarter. In 2019 the price decline will be around 25-30% due to increased 3D NAND production capacity, specially since enterprise SSD suppliers will fiercely compete next year. DRAMeXchange mentions the impact of China-US trade war, and alert about the gap between the supply and demand, that "may be moderated if the NAND Flash manufacturers postpone their capacity expansion and transition to 96-layer 3D NAND devices".
Good news for those that bought machines with minimal memory and need to expand.
Quote:According to a DigiTimes report citing "industry sources" this week, NAND flash prices are expected to continue to drop in 2019 after already seeing a 50 percent drop this year. Earlier reports said that SSD prices could fall to as low as $0.08 per GB in 2019.

The DigiTimes report noted that the continued drop in prices seems to be primarily due to SSD manufacturers expanding their production capacity to increase profitability, as well as the adoption of 96-layer NAND technology. The technology allows for denser SSDs and, therefore, cheaper storage.

Simon Chen, chairman of Adata Technology, a well-known DRAM and SSD maker from Taiwan, said that flash makers have not only continued to increase production capacities for their flash storage facilities, but that NAND flash products may actually see larger drops in prices next year compared to this year.
Quote:Western Digital told shareholders this week that it plans to delay the deployment of capital equipment and reduce wafer starts to reduce its output by 10-15 percent for CY19. The move follows a report claiming SSD prices could fall by as much as 50 percent in 2019 as manufacturers outside of Western Digital continue to increase their output, switch to denser storage technologies and contend with increasingly hostile trade environments.
Declining SSD prices can be great for consumers. We're finally reaching the point where it might be feasible never to buy another HDD. But these falling prices could have significant effects on companies like Western Digital, which announced yesterday that its revenue and operating income fell to $5 billion and $705 million, respectively in the most recent fiscal quarter, compared to the $5.2 billion in revenue and $905 million in operating income from the previous year.
But the looming trade war isn't the only problem; supply and demand are too. Western Digital CEO Stephen Milligan said on the earnings call:

"This softening demand, in combination with increased flash supply, has led to a market imbalance resulting in a deteriorating near-term flash pricing environment. In response to these conditions, we are making an immediate reduction to wafer starts and delaying deployment of capital equipment. These actions will reduce our wafer output beginning in fiscal Q3 2019. The goal of these actions is to better align our output with the projected global demand for flash. The duration of the planned output reduction will depend upon market conditions and will not impact our ability to meet customer commitments nor will it impede our ability to deliver the most innovative and cost-competitive solutions to the market."
Quote:DRAMeXchange said in September that prices could drop by as much as 5% in 2018. Now the research group has said that prices could fall by as much as 10% in the first quarter of 2019 for PC DRAM, server DRAM, and specialty DRAM. Mobile DRAM isn't expected to be as drastically impacted because prices didn't rise as much the others. For everyone who doesn't make a phone, though, that's welcome.

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