PC gamers experienced the struggle of getting their hands on a high-end Nvidia graphics processing unit (GPU) earlier this year due to a shortage of supply. Now, getting one will be difficult for a new reason. Thanks to tariffs that are going into effect to start the new year, GPUs and other various components will be significantly more expensive, Digital Trends reports.
If manufacturers pass the costs on to consumers, GPUs may see a price hike of more than 25 percent. This will affect not only separate components but also things like high-end gaming laptops that ship with a built-in GPU.
Delayed, Not Deleted
It’s worth noting that the tariffs slated to raise GPU prices in 2021 were originally supposed to go into effect all the way back in September 2019. However, exemptions kept GPUs and a few other components out of the deal on a temporary basis. The exemptions are now expired, meaning that Chinese tech imports face a tariff of 25 percent.
It remains unknown if manufacturers intend to pass that additional expense on to consumers. If so, GPUs will cost much more than they did last year.
For instance, Nvidia’s flagship GeForce RTX 3080 currently costs $699. After the tariffs, it could cost as much as $874, Digital Trends notes. With state taxes added on, the high-end GPU’s price could hover just under $1,000.
That’s disheartening news for anyone that was unable to get their hands on one during 2020 because of the shortage.
As mentioned, pre-built gaming laptops will also see an increase in price as a result of the new tariffs. That is, of course, because there is a GPU inside devices from manufacturers like Dell, HP, Lenovo, and others. Although it would be a bad look for these laptops, it’s hard to imagine that manufacturers will swallow the tariff cost without passing at least some of it on to consumers.
Meanwhile, other PC components are also expected to be more expensive in 2021. Digital Trends notes that both motherboards and processors will see price hikes as a result of the continued trade tensions between the U.S. and China.
Intel is one bright spot. The company already said that it doesn’t plan to increase its prices because of the tariffs. That could set a precedent for the industry. However, we’ll have to wait and see if other companies follow suit.
Gaming is Getting More Expensive
No one has ever accused gaming of being a cheap hobby. Those that prefer to build a custom PC spend even more than console players. Things aren’t getting any cheaper in 2021 and beyond.
The component price increases may force players to hold off on upgrading their rigs while they save additional money. Meanwhile, increasing game prices are also putting a strain on people’s wallets. Many next-gen releases cost more than the $59.99 price that has been an industry standard for a decade.
It will be interesting to see if the incoming Biden administration takes a different stance on trade with China. If so, the tariffs could be reversed, bringing GPUs and other components back to their original prices. That being said, gamers probably shouldn’t get their hopes up.