The summer of RAM bargains is nearing its end as memory prices begin to bottom out, according to PC vendors. With prices down to about £9 per megabyte on the back of intense competition and a supply glut, the expectation is that the falls have gone as low as they ever will.
"We've been saying it for months and the memory people have kept proving us wrong but everyone really believes it's gone just about as low as it can," said a spokesman for one PC maker, who requested anonymity. "People should cash in on RAM deals now."
David Moore, senior product manager at Dell Direct, also expects prices to head north. "We've been changing prices constantly because of the memory market but I would imagine a plateau over the very short term and steeper prices over the next few months," he said.
The first reason is that memory makers can't keep on losing money for ever. Even though the big players - NEC, Samsung, Goldstar et al - are a virtual Who's Who of electronics, profits have to appear some time.
Another key wind of change is the economy. As key countries like Germany recover from the recession, consumers and business will buy more systems, reducing the mountains of inventory that have driven down prices.
Also, changing operating environments should encourage sales of RAM-heavy hardware. NT 4.0 pre-installed units from Dell, for example, will ship with a basic 32Mb RAM while the demands of Windows 95, the dominant OS for home systems, will spark huge sales of 16Mb RAM systems in the run-up to Christmas.