Industry observers believe the recent rapid price drops in the memory market have almost ceased, and they don't expect any significant increases. They say that over the last six months the spot-market price of DRAM has dropped by more than two thirds, but that this only compensates for the price not falling in the prior two or three years.
The drop is believed to be a combination of overproduction by the chip manufacturers, combined with a lower than expected Christmas sales season for PCs in the US, leading to a number of PC makers virtually dumping stockpiled memory back onto the market. Even in the past three weeks prices have fallen by around 20 per cent, leading to 8Mb SIMMs dropping well below $100 wholesale, ex tax.
All distributors agree that this is a tremendous opportunity for resellers to promote the upgrading of existing PCs with memory. "It's such an inexpensive way to dramatically improve the performance of almost any PC," said Hypertec's group marketing manager Michael McGrath.
Merv Smythe of Norse Technology said it was now well established that taking a Windows 95 PC from eight to 16 megabytes was better than upgrading from a 486 to a Pentium processor. Yet, despite this, almost all multimedia PCs sold in Australia still come with just 8Mb standard, and the reseller is left to convince the buyer that a little extra goes a long way.
The general advice is not to stock up on RAM as there is no need, though Greg Bassine of CTM in Queensland disagrees, saying resellers should take advantage of today's bargains in case there is a rebound in prices.