Why PC Hardware Prices Are Set to Rise Again in 2022


Were you expecting CPU and GPU prices to finally begin dropping in 2022? Think again, friend. We're only one month into 2022, and we're already confronted with the prospect of rising prices for AMD, Nvidia, and Intel hardware as major chip foundry, TSMC, raised its manufacturing quotes for the year by 10-20 percent.

Of course, the knock-on effect will hit you in the pocket directly. If you've been saving for an already eye-wateringly expensive GPU, you'd better head back to your savings account and keep filling.

TSMC Raises Manufacturing Quotes by Up to 20 Percent

As first reported by DigiTimes, Taiwanese semiconductor giant TSMC is raising prices, affecting hardware across the board. The chip manufacturers' own rising costs will see an additional 10-20 percent premium added to its 7nm and 5nm manufacturing processes, affecting AMD, Intel, and Nvidia hardware.

Interestingly, Apple was not named in the original report, even though it uses TSMC for its wildly successful M1 chip and other custom silicon.

The price rise will affect hardware across the board. AMD uses TSMC to manufacture its Zen 2 and Zen 3 processors, while TSMC is also due to manufacture its shiny new Zen 4 upgrade, set for launch this year. Furthermore, AMD's RDNA 2-based 6000-series GPUs are also under threat, with the 7nm chips used in those graphics cards also under TSMC's roof.

Nvidia's next-gen RTX 40-series GPUs are likely to take a hit, too. Although the report suggests Nvidia has prepaid for manufacturing space on TSMC's 5nm process, the higher costs will inevitably pass to consumers at a time when GPU prices are already at ludicrous levels.

Intel will also feel the heat, even though it has the least exposure to TSMC. Intel brought a significant amount of its hardware manufacturing in-house but rely on TSMC for advanced fabrication processes like 5nm. As yet, there is no indication as to how TSMC's price bump will affect Intel's Arc Alchemist graphics cards, but it's unlikely to be good news.

What Does TSMC's Price Bump Mean for Consumers?

Well, as alluded to in the intro, if you were hoping to pick up cheap hardware in 2022, think again. New CPUs and GPUs are unlikely to decrease in price at any time. As per the report, you could be looking at a 20 percent hike in hardware costs.

Even if you weren't looking to buy new hardware, the knock-on effect reaches into the second-hand market, too. If people aren't upgrading to new hardware because prices are high, second-hand goods will also increase in price as the market dries up.

Related: Important Reasons Graphics Cards Are Going to Be Easier to Buy

Furthermore, if you read between the lines a little, TSMC isn't worried about manufacturing capacity. It is the direct costs of manufacturing that have risen, pushing prices higher. Those incredible sounding Nvidia RTX 40-series GPUs will likely arrive on time and with significant fanfare, but you might have to take out a new mortgage to pick one up.

So, what does that mean for consumers in practical terms? According to Tom's Hardware, the average price for an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 was $1,783 in December 2021. A full 20 percent increase on that price pushes the average to $2,139. Ouch. The marginally cheaper AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT averaged $1,387 through December 2021. The 20 percent jump pushes that to $1,664. Again, ouch.

Will PC Hardware Prices Come Down?

The big question everyone asks is, "When will PC hardware prices come down again?"

At this point, it looks like there is no simple answer. Manufacturing delays, chip shortages, scalpers, cryptocurrency mining, rising energy costs worldwide, shipping issues… consumers are contending with a substantial list of issues forcing hardware prices higher.

All you can do for now is hope that your current hardware holds on for as long as possible!


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