Recycled DRAM – Manufacturers are using old server memory to produce new DDR4 memory kits

Recycled DRAM - Manufacturers are using used server memory to produce new DDR4 memory kits

Old DRAM modules are now being recycles to create new DRAM kits, with server kits being stripped to create consumer-grade modules

Trendforce has confirmed that the DRAM market has seen an influx of DDR4 memory modules that are “stripped from decommissioned server DRAM modules”, allowing new consumer DRAM modules to be created with used server chips.

Used sever DRAM modules are now being stripped down at scale, with Trendforce stating that these used DRAM modules primarily come from “two major South Korean suppliers”, which means that the majority of these used DRAM modules likely originate from used SK Hynix and Samsung memory kits. 

These used DRAM modules are helping to put more downward pressure on DRAM pricing, even as suppliers work to cut back their DRAM production maintain a balance between supply and demand. 

Trendforce has stated that these reused chips have been used to create new modules with up to DDR4-3200 speeds, and there are fears that products that use these repurposed DRAM chips will have a shorter life expectancy than products with newly manufactured DRAM modules.

Recycled DRAM - Manufacturers are using used server memory to produce new DDR4 memory kits

How to avoid buying new DRAM modules with used chips

Consumers who want to avoid products with these repurposed DRAM modules can simply purchase modules that run at higher than DDR4-3200 speeds, with DDR4-3600 being a pricing/performance sweet spot for many DDR4-based platforms. Currently it is unknown if any major consumer DRAM manufacturers are using these repurposed DDR4 modules in any of their products, though it is probable that these modules are only being used for cheaper no-name DDR4 memory kits.

Arguably, it is a good thing that these recycled DRAM modules exist on the DDR4 memory market, as it is pushing downward pressure on memory pricing (which is good for consumers), and good to see that these usable DRAM modules are not being thrown into landfill. Assuming that the buyers of these memory modules properly validate their products and test their DRAM modules, consumers should not be hugely concerned about products using reclaimed DRAM modules.

As the server market moves do DDR5, we can expect more and more high capacity server-grade DDR4 memory modules to be cannibalised and repurposed to create new DDR4 based products. From a sustainability and pricing perspective, this is a good thing, though consumers are right to be concerned about their “new” product being made from used components.

You can join the discussion on used DDR4 memory modules making their way onto the memory market on the OC3D Forums.