It has never been more costly to buy a gam­ing PC. Mark Wil­liams in­ves­ti­gates why

PCPOWERPLAY - - Pcpp | System News -

$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

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