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Rising RAM Prices May Impact Vista

Tight supplies of DRAM and predictions of higher prices mean PCs capable of running Vista may be even more expensive when the operating system is unveiled than if it released today.

Several memory makers and chip industry analysts have recently projected continued price increases for DRAM (Dynamic RAM), particularly the widely-used 512MB DDR2 (Double Data Rate) chips.

Last week, for example, U.S. memory manufacturer Micron said during its quarterly financials Webcast that DRAM demand will jump 50 to 60 percent this year over 2005. Spot prices of 512MB 533MHz DDR2 chips, meanwhile, continue to climb, said research firm Gartner last week. DDR2 memory has posted price gains of as much as 5.9 percent in the past week, with memory across the board showing an upswing of 3.7 percent from the previous week, Gartner said.

If DDR2 prices continue to climb, machines to run Windows Vista, Microsoft's next-generation operating system, may cost more when it debuts in January 2007 for consumers.

The minimum memory configuration for a PC capable of running Vista is 512MB, Microsoft has said on its Web site and in documents distributed to partners, including OEMs.

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