By: Muhammad Zuhair Haider Zaidi
GDDR6 VRAM prices have declined significantly in the past few quarters. According to 3DCenter, the spot price of 8 GB GDDR6 VRAM is now $25.
GDDR6 VRAM Price Drops to Its Lowest Ever, NVIDIA & AMD Still Stick With Their Current GPU Prices
To get an estimate of how drastic the decline is, an 8 Gb GDDR6 DRAM would cost you around $13 in the spot market back in February 2022. Right now, you can get it for as low as $3.05, a significant decline considering its peak value. The $13 price for 8 Gb GDDR6 was back in the cryptocurrency boom days since the demand for GPUs skyrocketed within 2021-2022. However, VRAM prices took a reverse after the crypto hype started fading away, and it was expected that the declining trend would continue further on.
This massive decline in VRAM pricing is mainly due to the decrease in GPU demand. Since Q1 2022, we have seen that there has been a rapid decrease in GPU sales, mainly due to how next-gen releases are unable to grasp consumer interest. Disappointing recent launches from NVIDIA and AMD have forced consumers to stick with their previous GPUs, resulting in a decrease in demand for GDDR6 VRAM.
You may be wondering why businesses aren’t using the lower price of VRAM to provide customers with more of it. Well, the answer is a bit complicated. First, companies like NVIDIA can’t buy VRAMs at spot prices because they have long-term contracts with their suppliers, and the prices are set regardless of how the market moves. To ensure compatibility with specific ICs, businesses cannot just purchase VRAMs from any vendor.
Secondly, adding more VRAM results in making changes to existing designs. There needs to be proper BIOS Firmware and GPU designs made as showcased by modders who are modding the existing GPUs with higher VRAM. Putting 16 GB of memory on an 8 GB card isn’t something that can be achieved simply by replacing the memory modules. You have to make sure that the GPU knows the 16 GB memory and whether those would be using 8 Gb or 16 Gb modules.
The vast majority of graphics cards have PCBs that support at least eight memory modules. That means it can either feature 8 GB (8 Gb) or 16 GB (16 Gb) memory. But in the case of the 4060 Ti, there are only four GDDR6 memory placements on the PCB and that allows for just 8 GB of VRAM using four 16 Gb modules. Using 16 Gb memory modules also comes with higher costs as it needs more connections to the lanes. That’s why expensive cards such as the RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 are making use of those modules to a larger extent.
The price drop of GDDR6 VRAM presents an opportunity for NVIDIA and AMD to incentivize consumers by reducing the cost of existing GPUs like the RTX 4060 and RX 7600. Reducing pricing for these GPUs will be considerably simpler due to a change in the BoM (Bill of Materials). This will help companies boost sales of their rather underwhelming product releases.