Why now's not the right time to buy motherboards and other PC parts

Thermaltake Core P5
Thermaltake Core P5 (Image credit: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

The cost to build a PC with good performance continues to fall as we get more for our money. Still, the current world situation and pandemic has led to substantial inflation of component pricing, notably motherboards and power supplies. Looking at some limited stock listings and it's easy to find prices hike up 200%.

Here's my advice: unless you desperately require a PC built or upgraded right now, you should hold off until the situation (hopefully) improves.

What's happening to make the prices of PC parts inflate?

MSI Aegis R Motherboard

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

The world is still experiencing a pandemic, with some countries even beginning to see ripples of a potential second wave of cases pop up in daily reports. Millions of people are not currently at work, and supply lines are running low, particularly within the technology sector. Products being shipped out of China and surrounding territories are also hampered.

We already know that production slowed in recent months for board partners alone. With more people at home, the demand for PC parts may have seen a slight boost with more time available to perform upgrades and enjoy PC games. There's also the case for people seeing an opportunity to buy hardware and resell on classified websites like eBay to make a quick buck.

And you also have panic buying, as we've seen with general consumer goods. Gamers Nexus did a great video on how COVID-19 has affected the PC industry. It's not only companies like ASUS and MSI who have encountered production issues, but also partner companies further down the chain that provide various components like fans, for example.

We've seen product launches pushed back, as well as a substantial price increase with products we already recommend in guides. Some motherboards we have listed in our AMD guides have seen their prices increase considerably.

Should you buy PC components right now?

Not unless you're getting a good deal. For some motherboards, we've seen extreme cases where prices have increased by 200%. It's worth searching around to make sure you're getting the best price available if you absolutely must buy components right now. It's already been said that pricing is set to increase through 2020, but the current crisis is worsening matters.

"Prices for MLCCs and chip resistors are expected to rise through the fourth quarter of 2020 as supply will increasingly fall short of demand for 5G applications. [...] The rapid spread of coronavirus in Korea has raised increasing concerns about the global supply of memory chips in 2020 as Korean makers, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, account for 73% global output of these devices, according to industry sources."

Shop wisely out there. The current pricing situation sucks, but you can still grab a decent deal if you play it right. If you are looking to shop around for PC parts, we've got you covered with plenty of recommendations.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.