For PC owners, it's actually a cause for joy: memory chips are cheaper and cheaper. At present, 1 GB of DDR2 memory costs about 20 euros and 1 GB of DDR memory about 60 euros. If Vista users want to equip their computer with 4 GB of memory (2 x 2 GB), they do not even have to shell out 80 Euros for it. This is the result of a price search at major online retailers.

Memory manufacturers such as Elpida Memory (Japan) and Powerchip Semiconductor (Taiwan) have been trying to influence the price of memory devices by reducing their production by up to 15 percent each week. However, the action could not prevent the price of memory chips reaching a new all-time low. The blame is on the manufacturers themselves, who built too many memory chip factories last year, expecting demand to increase, not least because of Windows Vista and its appetite for memory. However, demand could not keep up with the supply, which led to sharply falling prices due to oversupply. The supply is so high that some manufacturers even make a loss with the sale of memory.

Analysts rate the decline in production at Elpida Memory and Powerchip as ineffective because they can not directly influence the price of the memory modules, but only - if at all - in a few months. In addition, the two manufacturers produce only 2.3 percent of all memory modules. Gartner analysts predict that the reduction in DRAM production could impact in November at the earliest. By then, however, the bulk buyers would have stocked up with memory for devices that should come on Christmas market and thus would fall in November anyway demand. If other memory manufacturers joined the action, the effect on prices would be higher. However, the manufacturers signaled last week that they do not want to join the action of Elpida and Powerchip. In particular, Samsung, the world's largest DRAM chip manufacturer, spoke out against curbing production. Samsung even wants to take advantage of the opportunity and this year invest 4.5 million euros in additional storage production lines to increase the pressure on the rivals. Even number two, Hynix Semiconductor, has no plans to throttle memory production. Similar signals come from the other major manufacturers, including Qimonda in Germany and Micron Technology in the US.

Analysts are of the opinion that DRAM manufacturers could profit in the short term only if a competitor goes broke or takes over a beleaguered competitor. For the next five years, storage prices are expected to remain low.

This article is from the COMPUTERWOCHE sister publication