No Memory Upgrade Today

A few days ago, we bought some RAM for one of the computers at work.  We were able to add 2GB of memory for about $75.  That sounded like a really good deal to me, so I started looking into it for my computer.

I looked at an upgrade last Fall when I was working on the Netflix Prize, but it turns out that my motherboard (ABIT AV8) has a problem with more than two sticks of “double rank” (aka dual rank, aka dual sided) memory.  It won’t run at full speed unless you use at least two “single rank” DIMMs.  In most cases, you’re better off with less RAM running at full speed than more RAM running slower.  My current RAM is, of course, double rank and so is all of the other RAM that I’ve looked at.  So, if I want to upgrade to more than my 1GB, I’ll need to buy a full 2GB and replace my current memory (as opposed to just adding 1GB).

When I looked in to it last time, it was going to cost about $180 for 2GB.  Which is much more than I want to spend.  Seeing the great price for the memory at work, I started to think that prices have dropped and I can afford the upgrade.  After doing some research, I found that prices have dropped, but the memory I want is still $150 for 2GB — more than twice as much as the RAM that we bought at work!  This is like a 2007 Honda Accord selling for half as much as a 2005 Accord today — it just doesn’t happen in most markets.
You might be thinking that I’m looking at buying better RAM than what we got at work.  Nope.  The cheap RAM is actually better (PC2-5300 DDR2 vs. PC-3200 DDR) than what I need.   Unfortunately, I can’t just buy the newer, cheaper, memory and use it in my computer because it’s a different connection type (and for other reasons).  I’m not sure if it’s Moore’s Law, Economies of scale, or something else.   (Of course, it’s Supply and Demand, but that doesn’t explain how it’s different than cars.)  It looks like I won’t be upgrading today.  Oh well, maybe it’s about time to buy a whole new computer.