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Why does the price of memory fluctuate?

We're asked many questions about computer memory, and one of the most misunderstood aspects of memory is how it's priced. Since prices often fluctuate from month to month, the pricing of memory can seem confusing. Here's how memory is priced – and why prices frequently change.

Memory is a commodity

In economic terms, computer memory is a commodity, meaning that it's heavily influenced by supply and demand. Similar to how the trading price of gold, oil, or wheat varies day to day, the same is true of memory. Generally speaking, if there is high supply and low demand for a given module, then price for that module will generally be lower. Similarly, if there is high demand and low supply for a given module, the price will generally be higher. In real world terms, this means that if a new operating system is released that requires more memory to use, and if many people are upgrading to the new OS, the price of memory will likely rise due to an increase in demand. Likewise, if there is an earthquake at a major fab, the supply could be adversely affected, meaning higher prices. Since market conditions change on a daily basis, the price of a given module over the course of a year can vary.

Memory prices are influenced by software and hardware

Since memory is accessed and used by other computer components, such as your processor, changes to related components will affect the price of memory. If a processor is released that requires a new type of memory, the price of the new memory will likely rise, while the price of the old memory will likely decrease. Both software and hardware can play a role in determining the current price of memory.

With all the price fluctuation, is a memory upgrade still worth it?

Absolutely! While the price of memory can change month to month, a memory upgrade is still the easiest and most affordable way to improve your system. Memory empowers your system to achieve faster application loading times, faster system responsiveness, and increased ability to multitask and handle data-intensive programs. Since Crucial is a brand of Micron, one of the largest memory manufacturers in the world, we're accustomed to looking beyond the curve and anticipating and adapting to market conditions. As a leading manufacturer, we're able to keep a close eye on supply and demand. For you, this means that we have leveraged our expertise to deliver consistent value for thirty-plus years and counting. Memory prices may vary, but the value of a Crucial memory upgrade has stood the test of time.

Two ways to find your upgrades

Crucial Advisor tool
If you know your system's specs, use this tool.

Crucial System Scanner
If you don't know your system's specs, use this tool.