There are many factors that have contributed to the ongoing graphics card shortage, and one of them has been the graphics DRAM prices. With prices up 200% over the average in the contract market and up 100% over the average in the spot market, graphics DRAM is expensive and TrendForce expected these prices to continue to rise.
PC Market & Console Graphic Memory Demand Cited As Factors In The Rising Price Of Graphics DRAM
In the contract market, the fulfillment rates for small to medium size clients sit around 30% and this situation is expected to persist into the third quarter of this year. Alongside the low supply, the price of the limited supply is expected to increase 8-13% QoQ. At the peak of the cryptocurrency boom this year, spot prices were nearly 200% higher than contract prices. However, the difference between the two has dropped over since the sharp decline in cryptocurrency value. In the GDDR5 market, there is little to no difference between the prices in the spot market and the contract prices. This is likely due to the drop in production of older graphics that typically use this memory. However, as we get into the more advanced memory, GDDR6, the spot market has prices 100% higher than the contract prices. It’s half that of the 200% figure but is still certainly a large margin.
TrendForce has found four factors it believes are going to continue to drive the graphics DRAM prices up in the contract market. The most obvious factor is the relatively high demand in the PC market with gaming-oriented graphics cards at the forefront of the demand. The second factor is the prioritization of larger customers with greater demands like NVIDIA and its need for graphics DRAM on all of its graphics cards. The third factor is the production of both the Xbox Series X and the Playstation 5 which use 16GB GDDR6 chips which are different from 8GB chips. What this means for DRAM suppliers is that once a batch of wafers is committed to the 16GB GDDR6 chips, the same batch can’t be used for the 8GB chips. Finally, the last major factor is the increase in demand for server DRAM which DRAM suppliers prioritize.
Overall, the price of graphics DRAM in the contract market is expected to rise 8-13% in the third quarter and small to medium size OEMs/ODMs are expected to take a big hit. Graphics card prices will continue to remain high especially with graphics DRAM prices this high.