The main issue with trying to build a PC right now

Jaden Cheloha, Staff Writer

On Dec. 25, 2020, I bought the first component for my new PC. Then, On Jan. 1, 2021, certain tariff exemptions, which had protected businesses from getting involved in former president Trump’s trade war with Chinaexpired. While the old administration had provided some extensions on the expirations for a few products (masks, hand sanitizer, and medical devices), the rest of the imports that had been free from taxation by the US government would now require one to be paid, ranging from anywhere between 7% to 25%This is leading to price hikefor many products coming from China, the one I care about the most being certain electronics. 

The increased price on these electronics hit hard because I knew the only part I still needed for my PC was going to be more expensive than it already had been because it was the most affected by these new tariffsFortunately, I bought most of my components before any major price increases went into effect, so I managed to save myself there.  

Unfortunately, the one component I wasn’t able to purchase was the one most affected by these new tariffs: the graphics card. These are usually an especially tricky part to get one’s hands on, even before any price increase came into effect. This year saw the launch of both NVIDIA’s 3000 and AMD’s 6000 series cards, and in the usual fashion of the release of new graphic cards, scalpers beat many consumers to the punch. Stock ran out fairly quickly, and any cards you could find online were wildly marked up by said scalpers. 

What truly devastated the market for graphics cards though was the companies’ inability to restock them fast enough (with the main contributor being a shortage of GDDR6 memory). This shortage will continue into February, so my hunt for a decently priced graphics card will continue for a little while longer. Now knowing this, I have to constantly consider the two main issues plaguing my PC building venture. If I manage to find a card that isn’t wildly marked up (which probably won’t be for a while), then the MSRP will still be more expensive than if I just bought a card a few months ago.