Prices for commodity 1-Gbit DDR3 DRAM chips dropped to an average of $0.84 per unit from historic highs around $2.80 in April and May last year, said Ivan Lin, publicist and editor with DRAMeXchange. Prices hit a record low of $0.81 per chip in March 2009, according to the exchange's daily surveys.
DRAM began losing value most recently in December as the Western holiday shopping season wound down, Lin said. But major manufacturers such as Elpida Memory, Powerchip Semiconductor and Samsung Electronics kept pumping out chips to stay competitive, he said.
Increased factory capacity has also held prices in check despite warnings of a DRAM shortage due to problems obtaining equipment and phasing in new technology. PC makers typically spend about 10 percent, or $20 to $36, of a PC's total manufacturing cost on DRAM, Lin said.