It has been discovered that scalpers are hoarding trusted platform modules (specifically TPM2.0 modules) ahead of the Windows 11 launch. Unfortunately, this blight on humanity continues to be a costly thorn in the side of consumers who get wrapped up in the fear of missing out and wanting a product right now. We've seen a similar situation with even the best graphics card.
Shen Ye, senior director of hardware and products at HTC, spotted the scalping of TPM2.0 modules on eBay, and we've confirmed the case with other classified sites and listings. A small component that connects to a motherboard header usually costs in the region of $20. You can currently find listings for $100 and we're likely only just getting started.
Plenty of modern motherboards support TPM in the form of firmware, which can be enabled through the UEFI. Laptops and pre-built PCs can come with TPM either soldered or already attached to the mainboard. But there are instances where TPM isn't supported, which is where a module such as this can come into play.
It's likely your PC doesn't actually need (nor supports) a physical TPM2.0 module.
Strangely, this is such a niche component since not all motherboards will require a physical TPM2.0 module. Then of those that do require one, many may not even have the required header. The whole situation surrounding trusted platform module support and the enforcement by Microsoft for Windows 11 requirements has created a mess for consumers.
If you need to check to see if your PC has TPM2.0 support, you can achieve this by visiting the UEFI or BIOS. There should be an option for TPM 2.0 somewhere (like our image at the top of this very article). If you see something similar, activate it and you'll be good for Windows 11. If not, try updating your UEFI or BIOS and check again.
During a period of silicon shortage, Redmond couldn't have chosen a worse time to announce such a requirement, but things could change before Windows 11 is released. If your motherboard does require a TPM2.0 module (and has a physical header), we'd only recommend buying one at MSRP and from reputable sources. Don't give in to the scalpers. You can purchase an entirely new motherboard and CPU for almost the same price.