DRAM Prices: What causes them to rise and fall?

Of all the questions we're asked about memory, the one we hear most often is, "Why does the price of memory fluctuate?"

The memory pricing roller coaster has mystified many consumers. And frankly, that's understandable.

Memory prices can turn on a dime, going up OR down in a hurry. What may cost as little as going out to dinner one day could seem like a hefty investment the next. Throw in the fact that several computer companies are offering new systems for incredibly low prices, and you may start to question whether a memory upgrade is your best investment. But take a good, hard look at what you're getting for your money (whether purchasing a new computer or a memory upgrade for your existing system), and you'll find that adding more memory is almost always the best bang for your buck.

For example, a new discount computer probably won't be the fast, efficient machine you're craving. In fact, it might even be slower than your existing system! These low-cost, entry-level computers come with very little RAM and processing power — typically just 256MB of memory! That's barely enough to run today's operating systems smoothly, let alone work with additional programs or large graphics and files.

On the other hand, spend a fraction of that on a memory upgrade, and you can extend the life of your computer another few years. With a memory upgrade, you'll pay a lot less and often see a more significant performance improvement than with a new, entry-level system! In fact, according to Crucial's tests, more memory will usually make your computer run faster than a new processor or a new hard drive will. You could gain 43 percent or more performance with a RAM upgrade. That's true no matter when you choose to upgrade — whether you catch memory prices at a high point or when they seem rock-bottom low.

That brings us back to our original question, "Why does the price of memory fluctuate?" What causes this erratic behavior? Well, there's a short and simple answer — supply and demand. There are a many factors that affect memory prices on a moment-by-moment basis.

So what's your best way to soften the bumpy ride? That's easy. Buy from Crucial.

When you buy your memory from Crucial, a division of Micron, you're buying direct from the only memory manufacturer in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. In fact, we're the only DRAM and flash manufacturer selling memory upgrades direct to consumers. That means we're better able to adapt to changing market conditions and provide you with a consistent value.

And no matter what's happening with memory prices, upgrading your RAM is still the most cost-effective way to get more performance from your computer!