Monday, December 6, 2021

The scarcity of DDR5 RAM and its inflated prices is a worrying aspect for those looking to purchase Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs

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The DDR5 shortage is potentially as severe as the graphics card shortage, which means that some 32GB kits are being scalped for $2,500, as shown in the chart below. The more merciful scalpers (via PCMag) are selling DDR5 memory kits on eBay for double, if not three times, their original price. Fortunately, DDR5 is presently only used by Intel’s 12th-generation Alder Lake CPUs. However, Alder Lake processors, which are among the greatest gaming CPUs on the market, are equally content with the best DDR4, so early adopters aren’t compelled to spend exorbitant costs for DDR5 – unless they want to.

The shift of voltage control from the motherboard to the memory is both a boon and a bane for DDR5. It’s fantastic to have a power management integrated circuit (PMIC) on the module itself since it not only improves voltage control but also adds functions like threshold protection and power management. The issue is that the PMIC is so important in DDR5 that it cannot be manufactured without it. That’s essentially what’s going on right now.

Due to a global PMIC scarcity, memory makers are in a difficult situation in which they have available ICs but no PMICs to complete manufacturing. We contacted three major manufacturers, and they all verified that a lack of PMICs and extended delivery dates had hampered DDR5 supply. One manufacturer told us that it currently has no DDR5 stock and that the next batch will not be available until next month. Unfortunately, the brand is only expecting up to 300 units for the global market.

Not having a consistent supply of PMICs not only stymies manufacturing but also causes R&D efforts to lag. Manufacturers are doing the best they can with what they have. According to one of our sources, the firm only has a few PMICs, which slows down overclocking development and inhibits the team from thoroughly testing new products.

DDR5 RAM Pricing

Memory KitRetailer PricingeBay PricingPrice Difference
Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-5200 32GB$329$2,500660%
T-Force Delta RGB DDR5-6400 32GB$399$1,999401%
Team Elite DDR5-4800 32GB$279$1,499437%
Adata XPG Lancer DDR5-5200 32GB$299$1,100268%
Crucial DDR5-4800 32GB$273$890266%
OLOy Blade DDR5-4800 16GB$169$820385%
GeIL Polaris RGB Sync DDR5-4800 32GB$428$81089%
Crucial DDR5-4800 16GB$136$535293%

The more merciful scalpers (via PCMag) are selling DDR5 memory kits on eBay for double, if not three times, their original price. Others just prey on the vulnerable, switching DDR5 memory for modest amounts. One vendor has listed Corsair’s Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-5200 32GB (2x16GB) memory kit for $2,500, a 660 percent premium over the $329 original price. Another eBay auction offers two of these kits for $5,000.

The unfortunate thing is that not only are the sole available DDR5 memory kits out of reach, but some users are willing to pay these costs. According to a snapshot from eBay’s Terapeak tool, eBay merchants have sold up to 15 DDR5 memory kits with selling prices ranging from $1,099 to $2,500 in the previous week.

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You currently have two options if you want to upgrade to Alder Lake. One option is to just wait for the DDR5 scarcity to pass. howe a Z690 motherboard with DDR4 memory slots is another option. The bad news is that motherboard manufacturers are presently only supporting DDR4 on lower-tier models. With DDR5, there is greater choice (and quality) on the Z690 options. Raptor Lake, at the very least, will most likely share the same platform. When DDR5 kits cost as much as a whole RTX 3080 gaming PC, it’s a little consolation.


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Avatar of Nivedita Bangari
Nivedita Bangari
I am a software engineer by profession and technology is my love, learning and playing with new technologies is my passion.


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