It has never been more costly to buy a gaming PC. Mark Williams investigates why
$4,000. That’s about the price of a top of the line gaming PC these days. Crazy right? It wasn’t all that long ago (less than a year actually) that a little over $3,000 would get you the best of the best. It seems we’re in something of a perfect storm in the PC market with multiple pressures influencing the price of various components all at once.
The biggest and most obvious culprit is the crypto mining craze that is creating a high degree of demand for all highperformance graphics cards for use in multiGPU mining rigs. To the point where retailers are limiting sales to one or two per customer, if they even have stock in the first place.
The demand is so high that a graphics card I bought a few months back has actually increased in retail price. I could sell it and make a profit! That never happens in the PC hardware world. AMD and Nvidia are unsurprisingly pulling record sales numbers as a result, with Nvidia recently showing a yearonyear increase (in the gaming market alone) of 36%.
Another knockon effect is the demand for one, two and sometimes three high wattage power supplies to power each multiGPU mining rig. While nowhere near as bad, a sizable portion of high wattage PSUs are currently out of stock.
Memory is the second largest price increased part of late. With Samsung and Micron both in the middle of factory upgrades to smaller fabrication nodes (18nm and 17nm respectively) and hitting snags along the way, production is currently constricted enough that demand is outstripping supply. With Hynix unable to pick up the slack in the market, DDR4 is effectively now back at its launch pricing.
Jaimie from Leader Computers also brought up another affected item: SSDs. Those too ha ve risen over the past six mon ths by some 20%, thanks to NAND supply shortages due to manufacturing issues, plus demand for NAND in more and more mobile devices.
How long these price hikes will last is anyone’s guess at this point. Memory should be the first to fall once Samsung and Micron fix their production issues and stock starts flowing again hopefully in a few months’ time. Likewise, with NAND although that might run longer into the year. GPU and PSU demand on the other hand is really at the mercy of cryptocurrency popularity.
Samsung has commented that it “is currently engaged in the manufacturing of cryptocurrency mining chips. However, we [Samsung] are unable to disclose further details regarding our customers.” With the only other snippet of information being it’s to be produced on a 10nm process, this is potentially great news for everyone. If Samsung is able to produce something that’ll put GPUs to shame in crypto mining, the demand for GPUs and thus prices will drop off sharply as miners buy other faster more specialised hardware to earn better returns, leaving GPU stock for those that need them: gamers.
Price rises in GPUs, PSUs, RAM and SSDs are pushing system prices up