Report: New Nvidia GPUs, gaming consoles to boost graphics DRAM prices in Q4

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TrendForce recently reported graphics dynamic random access memory (DRAM) prices would rise in the fourth quarter due to a spike in demand. The market research company explained Nvidia’s new line of graphics cards, and the near-term release of new gaming consoles are driving the sector’s growth.

The analysis group also named a recent advance in graphics double date rate (GDDR) technology as a contributor to the segment’s expansion.

Nvidia’s Tide Raises All Boats

Earlier this month, Nvidia unveiled its new series of RTX 30 graphics processor units (GPUs) in an online launch event. Unsurprisingly, the corporation’s new lineup featured significant improvements in performance, power, and pricing. In tandem with its product deployment, the firm shared technical data with its partners so they can begin producing RTX 30 reference cards.

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As Nvidia kicked off a new wave of GPU demand with its RTX 3 unveiling, TrendForce believes manufacturers who quickly release related products also experience brisk sales.

The research organization also notes Nvidia’s current generation GPUs feature more content per box that its RTX 20 series. That iterative improvement should allow graphics DRAM makers to stabilize their pricing after an estimated 5 to 10 percent market decline in Q3.

Sony and Microsoft to the Rescue

In addition, TrendForce notes Sony and Microsoft’s forthcoming gaming console releases will help grow the graphics memory market next quarter.

Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X utilize GDDR6 synchronous RAM to facilitate their eye-popping visuals and seamless gameplay. As GDDR6 costs more to produce than the previous generation of memory products, vendors are pricing it higher than GDDR5. As Sony and Microsoft are currently mass-producing millions of systems, their respective part orders have boosted the entire segment.

Ultimately, the research company expects the new PlayStation and Xbox deployments to help end the downward trend the GDDR6 market began earlier this period.

TrendForce’s assessment aligns with a Business Korea report that predicted a 5 percent jump in demand for RAM in Q4.

Technological Advancement Drives Market Growth

Lastly, the analyst group identified the transition from GDDR5 to GDDR6 manufacturing as a graphics memory market driver. The organization predicts sales of the older technology will increase by 5 to 10 percent in the holiday quarter.

TrendForce anticipates GDDR6 will officially supersede GDDR5 when it achieves a 60 percent share of the market in Q4. However, many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are still utilizing the older version of graphics memory modules in their products. Though the JEDEC published the GDDR6 standard in 2018, many electronics companies have not made the changeover.

Therefore, the constrained availability will boost GDDR5 pricing in the near-term.

What Kind of Year Has It Been?

As 2020 draws to a close, it is now possible to identify the year’s graphics card sales trends.

Initially, coronavirus pandemic related supply chain disruption hampered the market’s growth. But the post-lockdown digitalization trend grew the sector in Q2, followed by an inventory glut related slump in Q3. In the last few months, segment market visibility has been murky because of those unanticipated changes.

However, for all of its volatility, the last stretch of 2020 looks to affirm an age-old market dynamic. New product introductions and technological advancement are dependable market drivers, uneven in less than optimal economic environments.

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