Traditional wisdom has been that as time goes on, electronics become cheaper. While once computers cost thousands of dollars, basic models can now be had for a few hundred dollars. While once HDTVs cost as much as a new economy car, today they can be had for the cost of thirty year old beater. And so on.
But there can be exceptions to this general trend, and the computer industry is becoming one. Those who build desktop systems, such as my self, are particularly tuned into price fluctuations because we purchase individual components and can see what they cost. And the costs, it seems, are going up, up and up. Worse, they don’t look like they’re going to come back down any time soon thanks to another bit of traditional wisdom called supply and demand.
Intel is apparently unable to deliver enough of its new Arrandale chips to satisfy demand, and rumor has it that this is causing a markup of up to 20 percent on the price of Arrandale processors. This in turn has an impact on the price of every laptop with a Core i3, i5, or dual-core i7.
RAM prices have also soared thanks to increases in demand. All of the major memory manufacturers have reported much higher profits than normal thanks to demand which is keeping their plants busy and their pockets full. This is an incredible reversal of fortune for the memory manufacturers and for consumers. RAM was criminally inexpensive in late 2008 and early 2009.
The end result of this is clear. Look at Apple jacking up prices on MacBook Pros. Look at Newegg listings, where you’ll find the cheapest Core i3 based laptop to be $629.
But don’t let this keep you from buying a laptop, because prices most likely won’t go down soon. According to the IDC, global PC shipments are up, up and way. Even a love of technology hurts sometimes.