If you were hoping to build or upgrade a gaming PC this year, then we have some bad news: processors and graphics cards are set to get more expensive across 2022.
The reason for this, according to DigiTimes (opens in new tab), is that chip manufacturer TSMC is planning to raise its prices by 20% and that will affect its two largest customers: AMD and Nvidia. So that Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 you might have been eyeing up could surge even further beyond its recommended retail price of $699.
And users of AMD’s Ryzen processors could also be set to take a hit, as Team Red relies heavily on TSMC’s 7-nanometer processing node. As Intel makes its chips in house, it’ll be immune to this price hike.
TSMC has reportedly put this price increase down to increased prices of its suppliers due to the chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected component and material supply, as well as price hikes in logistics and freight operations.
Unfortunately, it’ll be very likely that consumers will foot the bill in this case, as both Nvidia and AMD can afford to increase their processor and graphics card prices given demand is so high.
As it stands, if you’ve been following our where to buy Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 and where to buy Nvidia RTX 3060 articles, you’ll have noticed that the RTX 30-series graphics cards tend to be sold for a good bit more than their recommended retail price, thanks to both demand and scalpers reselling the much-wanted GPUs for grossly inflated prices. Add a price increase at the manufacturing stage, and it looks like these cards will get even more expensive, even if they become easier to buy.
Given the chip shortages over 2021, it sucked to be a PC gamer looking to get the latest hardware. And there’s a horrible whiff that this situation might not change as we push further into 2022.
What can you do?
So you might want to know what the heck you can do to get your hands on the latest graphics cards and processors. That’s tricky if you have a fairly new machine you’re looking to upgrade, as you may only need to upgrade the GPU or CPU, meaning it's a case of just waiting for the component of your choice to come in stock at a reasonable price.
But if you have a PC that’s somewhat outdated, it might be time to consider buying a pre-built machine. Sure, these are more expensive than the DIY route and arguably lose an element of customization, but you do get a rig that’s professionally built. Furthermore, PC makers tend to have an easier time getting access to the latest powerful components, meaning they could be your best route to getting a GeForce RTX 3080.
Our very own Tony Polanco went down the pre-built route and got a powerful PC with relative ease. Check out our best gaming PCs list for a selection of the machines we’d recommend.
Another solution is to consider getting a gaming laptop. These may not be able to deliver the same overall power of a desktop, but they obviously benefit from portability and space saving. They also have access to graphics cards that offer more than enough power to chew through some of the best PC games. And they also come with some impressive displays, meaning a single machine could give you an even bigger upgrade than you might expect; check out our roundup of the best gaming laptops.
If you do manage to get hold of a GeForce RTX 30-series or AMD Radeon RX 6000 graphics card, do let us know how you did it and what your experience has been.