PCs have never been cheap to buy. Even if you build one yourself and try to use the cheapest parts, the components are quite pricey.
However, if you’ve recently considered getting a new computer and took a peek at the prices, you may have been shocked to see that they have skyrocketed. This is actually the result of several factors that created a perfect storm and raised the prices for PC components and even made it difficult to find them.
In this article, we will go over the reasons why computers are so expensive right now as well as when the prices may go back to normal. Finally, we will offer some suggestions for those looking to buy a new PC.
What caused computers to become so expensive?
Mining and GPUs
Graphics cards have always been one of the most expensive computer parts, but in the past few years they have become extremely expensive and unaffordable for many people. This is because this component is needed to “mine” cryptocurrencies like Ethereum or Bitcoin for profit.
According to a report from Bloomberg, cryptocurrency miners spent a whopping $15 billion on GPUs during the crypto boom of 2021.
As various cryptocurrencies gained popularity, the demand for GPUs shot up and production was unable to keep up. During this time, both Bitcoin and Ethereum reached all-time highs of over $67,000 and $4,800, respectively.
This led to a shortage which made it very difficult to even purchase a GPU. Low supply and such a high demand are a recipe for growing prices and that is exactly what happened. As a result, cryptocurrency is one of the main causes for the sudden increase in PC prices.
However, there is still hope, as some of the most popular cryptocurrencies are expected to change and make mining obsolete. Plus, as the prices for both Bitcoin and Ethereum are now in steady decline, we may also expect the demand for GPUs to return to normal.
But don’t get too excited just yet because it is unknown when exactly this will happen. There are also other factors that now came up that may slow down production of GPUs even more, which include the global chip shortage.
The Global Chip Shortage
There are several things to unpack here.
While silicone chips are used seemingly everywhere these days, from phones and PCs to refrigerators and cars, they are not easy to produce. And there are only a few factories in the world capable of making them.
In fact, 54% of the world’s chips are produced by just one company – TSMC. The company supplies chips to giants like Apple (AAPL), Qualcomm (QCOM) and Nvidia (NVDA) — who can design their own chips but don’t have the facilities or resources to make them.
Just one month into 2022, PC makers were confronted with rising chip prices as the world’s number one manufacturer, TSMC, announced that it would raise its manufacturing quotes by up to 9%.
Then, there is the global chip shortage, also known as the semiconductor shortage.
The shortage is the result of an unfortunate series of events that started in 2019 with the COVID-19 pandemic. Quarantines and disruptions of supply chains in China significantly slowed down the production of these chips.
At the same time, with millions of people around the world switching to remote work, there was a huge increase in demand for traditional PCs, desktops, notebooks, and workstations. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, global laptop shipments grew by a staggering 26.1% in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Source: IDC, March 2021
This created a huge gap in supply and resulted in chips quickly running out.
Then, just as production was able to start again in 2021, a series of droughts in Taiwan, winter storms in Texas, fires in facilities in Japan and political tensions between the US and China made the gap in supply even wider and left us with a serious shortage, which has been going on since.
Chip suppliers are still scrambling and trying to move production to new locations and fill the gap in supply. We still don’t know how long the chip shortage may last. Some experts in the field say that it should be resolved by the end of 2022. However, others believe that it will last at least a few more years. This is quite a sad outlook for those who hope to get a new PC in the near future.
Finally, another major factor that exacerbates the problem of expensive computer parts is scalping. Whenever there is a huge demand but low product supply, it creates an opportunity for this practice. This is when people buy a large amount of high demand products and then resell them at a much higher price.
This especially affected GPUs. In 2020, Nvidia’s RTX 3080 graphics cards, the PlayStation 5, or the Xbox Series X sold out almost as soon as they arrived on the market. With some resellers going as far as using automated bots to get to the products ahead of human consumers.
When GPUs became more rare, customers were shocked to see that the only ones available for purchase were up to three times their original price.
Unfortunately, as long as there is a chip shortage and high demand for GPUs and personal computers in general, this trend will go on, making the prices simply unaffordable to most people. The only way to avoid scalping is by only purchasing PCs from brick-and-mortar stores. However, they are often out of stock these days.
What if you want a new computer?
As you can see, the current situation makes it very difficult to buy affordable computers or just PC components. It seems that relatively soon, the demand for GPUs will drastically go down due to cryptocurrency switching to longer use mining.
For example, Digital Trends reported that in January 2022, the actual price for the RTX 3080 was almost 149% higher than the listed price, but by March, it had decreased to only 105% above the listed price.
There is also hope that the chip shortage will be over soon and prices will go back to normal. If you are hoping to buy a computer, it may be best to wait a bit longer for things to normalize. In the meantime, you can maintain your current PC and keep it in good shape until you can replace it.
How to maintain your PC
Just because your computer has slowed down over time does not necessarily mean that it must be replaced. Usually, slowdowns and crashes are caused by your system being filled with forgotten apps and junk files. With some simple maintenance, you may find your PC is not as hopeless as you thought. Who knows, maybe you’ll even change your mind about replacing it.
There are many ways you can clean up your system and do some maintenance, however a lot of it is quite difficult or just tedious to do manually. This is why maintenance software exists.
Outbyte PC Repair simplifies the process for you while also ensuring that you are in control and won’t delete anything essential. You will also have access to professional tech and customer support for resolving more complex issues.
Being one of the most comprehensive PC repair services on the market, Outbyte PC Repair provides the most efficient means to improve PC performance without replacing expensive hardware.
It’s one of the most comprehensive PC repair services on the market and is also compatible with other popular tools.
So, before you rush and buy a currently overpriced new computer, try using Outbyte PC Repair to find out how your old one can be improved. You may be in for a pleasant surprise.