Thursday, November 08, 2018

Why Computers Won't be Priced as Cheap this Holiday Season

The holiday season, from the day after Thanksgiving through the end of the year for the purposes of this post, has traditionally been the best time of year to purchase new computers, laptops and tablets. The best deals and biggest discounts are offered during this time, typically beating out Back-to-School sales. One of the reasons for these deeply discounted offers is to get rid of older models being phased out and make room for newer replacement models.

Unfortunately, this year you will not find the same availability of discounted items. The cause for this is due to a shortage of available processors.

Why Computers Won't be Priced as Cheap This Holiday Season

Like all hardware, especially technology-based hardware, processors are consistently being re-engineered. The purpose for this is to create processors that run:
  • Faster
  • Cooler
  • Using less energy and
  • Encompassing less physical space

These features are typically inherent in new processor versions. Smaller revisions to processors between versions released usually address only some of these features while maintaining the same physical footprint and microarchitecture. The microarchitecture is a specific instruction set on a processor traditionally updated only with new versions.  You may have run into a microarchitecture or physical size mismatch when upgrading components in a working system, or merging components from an older system with a newer system.

Typical Intel processor showing the specific physical makeup. The makeup of the processors themselves, seen in the second image, typically changes with new versions.

While working on their newest processor version, Intel ran into production issues earlier this year. During a normal production cycle, as new processors are being developed and manufacturing is expected, manufacturing of existing processors is lowered to prevent excess stock of what would quickly become an out-of-date processor.

Unfortunately, delays can and do happen even with large companies like Intel. Delays with new processors coupled with the reduction in manufacturing of older processors led to the current shortage as existing stock eventually ran low. The shortage meant less devices were being built and now, months later, there is less existing stock to sell before the end of the year. 

What this means for the average consumer is that there will be:
  • Less computer and laptop models to choose from
  • Less inventory of those models in stock
  • Higher prices on computers, laptops and some tablets
  • Higher prices on individual processors
As a consumer or a business, there are other options available to you. One, you can purchase a device with an AMD processor. Two, you can hold out for the best possible deals over the holiday season knowing you may or may not get exactly what you want. Or three, you can wait until Intel's next processor is available and on the market. Once there is an influx of processors, device manufacturing will increase and there will be a bump in the number and models of devices to choose from.

All in all, the holiday season has traditionally been the best time to purchase tech equipment. This year will be slightly different when it comes to computers, laptops and some tablets due to a shortage in processor manufacturing at Intel. This shortage will likely drive prices higher, affect available inventory and reduce the variety of models available to choose from. Devices like headphones, computer components aside from processors, some IoT devices and others should not be affected.

As always, knowing what to expect and the reasoning behind those expectations can save time, money and frustration!

Enjoy this post? Subscribe to our Blog

No comments:

Post a Comment