Thursday, September 30th 2021

Copper Foil Shortages Could Drive Motherboard and GPU Prices Upwards

Today, we got another report about the potential problems with motherboards and graphics cards. At the moment of writing, the global supply chain of electronics is still under the shortage caused by the lack of sufficient supply of semiconductors and some other electronic components that cannot meet demand. There is a reported scarcity of copper and copper-clad laminates (CCLs), used as a base plate for manufacturing printed circuit boards (PCBs) that power every electronics product currently available. According to DigiTimes, the costs of copper foils used to make these CCLs are rising, putting significant pressure on motherboard and GPU makers to increase their price quotes.

As the materials used to create motherboards and GPUs are experiencing rising costs, that usually results in two types of actions taken by the manufacturer: a price increase or a reduced profit margin of the product. Copper pricing has risen by 35% since Q4 2020, so price growth is inevitable. With the increased MSRP representing a common trend in the computer industry for the past period, it could very easily translate into manufacturers boosting their pricing structure. That means that we, as consumers, could see higher prices of motherboards and graphics cards, especially those models with PCBs made out of high amount of copper layers.
Source: via Tom's Hardware
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56 Comments on Copper Foil Shortages Could Drive Motherboard and GPU Prices Upwards

#1
Vya Domus
How long till they'll say there is a carboard box shortage while still shipping hundreds of thousands of cards to miners ?
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#3
Mussels
Freshwater Moderator
I feel like buying my 3090 when i did was the right call, i'll be too old to game by the time new ones are in stock
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#4
BSim500
At this stage, I'm just waiting for an air shortage. "Prices of PC components will soon go up because all our workers died due to lack of breath..."
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#5
rainxh11
another dumb excuse, even if the copper price raise up by 5 times, it's 5 time of something costing 2-4$ per entire PCB, but they would use to justify bumping up prices by 50 - 70$
just like they did with the aluminum
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#6
BorisDG
Even there is not shortages (in general not just copper), they will claim the opposite, just to keep the profit margin bigger. Easy. I think it's like avalanche, it's already started so will be really hard to stop it.
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#7
Tigger
I'm the only one
I saw a thing somewhere that said copper had gone up by 150% I used to be a tatter, that would have been nice, copper is poor mans gold
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#8
TheLostSwede
rainxh11another dumb excuse, even if the copper price raise up by 5 times, it's 5 time of something costing 2-4$ per entire PCB, but they would use to justify bumping up prices by 50 - 70$
just like they did with the aluminum
I guess you don't work in the real world? If material costs goes up, every step of the process in getting a product to you, goes up.
$1 at the source is at least $10 to you, depending on how many steps are involved.
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#10
TheDeeGee
Shortage of rubber for tires so packages can't be delivered, when?
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#11
Chomiq
TheDeeGeeShortage of rubber for tires so packages can't be delivered, when?
No need, we already have shortage of lorry drivers.
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#13
TheLostSwede
ChomiqNo need, we already have shortage of lorry drivers.
And fuel in some countries, plus record high fuel prices for this year.
Oh and the price of Lithium has tripled or quadrupled this year, depending on the specific kind.
www.digitimes.com/news/a20210930PD207.html
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#14
Bomby569
at least there's one thing that has lots of supply: shortages
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#15
Nuckles56
TheLostSwedeAnd fuel in some countries, plus record high fuel prices for this year.
Oh and the price of Lithium has tripled or quadrupled this year, depending on the specific kind.
www.digitimes.com/news/a20210930PD207.html
Uranium has also gone up an astronomically large amount also, most of the other base metals have calmed somewhat from last year, especially iron ore which is worth nothing at the moment
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#16
silentbogo
AleksandarKCopper pricing has risen by 35% since Q4 2020, so price growth is inevitable.
That's the dumbest justification ever. The biggest cost of the PCB comes from the manufacturing process itself, which hasn't changed.
Copper cost did indeed went up from $3.2/lb to around $4.1/lb, which adds up to something under 5c per layer for 1oz copper clad sheet(300x300mm).
Actual price hike of the PCB due to copper prices will be insignificant : ~20-30c per ATX motherboard, or <half that for a GPU.

I'd be more inclined to believe that manufacturing/labor/logistics are becoming more expensive, but given constant excuses about less relevant stuff like passive components and materials I'd start worrying that it's yet another conspiracy to increase margins for electronics. Heck, PC sales have already dived nose down after the "lockdown" hike. We are already averaging on the level of 2016-2017(years where tech-nostradamuses were constantly reminding us that PC market is dying).
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#17
TheLostSwede
silentbogoI'd be more inclined to believe that manufacturing/labor/logistics are becoming more expensive, but given constant excuses about less relevant stuff like passive components and materials I'd start worrying that it's yet another conspiracy to increase margins for electronics. Heck, PC sales have already dived nose down after the "lockdown" hike. We are already averaging on the level of 2016-2017(years where tech-nostradamuses were constantly reminding us that PC market is dying).
Doesn't that have something to do with the shortage of GPUs though? I mean, who wants a PC with just integrated graphics or no graphics?
Apparently notebook makers are still optimistic and even motherboards makers are expecting demand to pick, not sure why though.
Both articles are pay walled, so no real need to click through.
www.digitimes.com/news/a20210930PD201.html
www.digitimes.com/news/a20210930PD209.html
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#18
Vayra86
TheDeeGeeShortage of rubber for tires so packages can't be delivered, when?
Sorry what?
Rubber shortage
silentbogoThat's the dumbest justification ever. The biggest cost of the PCB comes from the manufacturing process itself, which hasn't changed.
Copper cost did indeed went up from $3.2/lb to around $4.1/lb, which adds up to something under 5c per layer for 1oz copper clad sheet(300x300mm).
Actual price hike of the PCB due to copper prices will be insignificant : ~20-30c per ATX motherboard, or <half that for a GPU.

I'd be more inclined to believe that manufacturing/labor/logistics are becoming more expensive, but given constant excuses about less relevant stuff like passive components and materials I'd start worrying that it's yet another conspiracy to increase margins for electronics. Heck, PC sales have already dived nose down after the "lockdown" hike. We are already averaging on the level of 2016-2017(years where tech-nostradamuses were constantly reminding us that PC market is dying).
The market is the market man... conspiracies are not that, its just the market. Free and uncontrolled, with failing regulation. The consolidation on the market is what brings us to this point. Cyberpunk is closer than you think but its not a conspiracy, its just an escalation of the systems we created. Simple cause and effect.

We either find ways to adjust globally, or we're slaves to commerce.
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#19
silentbogo
TheLostSwedeDoesn't that have something to do with the shortage of GPUs though?
Most "PC" shipment charts already include laptops, AIOs and convertibles. And as I mentioned in another thread - chips with iGPU now cost a lot more than they should(at least in my area), which could be blamed on either manufacturing or retail side of things (or both).
TheLostSwedeI mean, who wants a PC with just integrated graphics or no graphics?
Enterprise? Education? SMB?
TheLostSwedeApparently notebook makers are still optimistic and even motherboards makers are expecting demand to pick, not sure why though.
That's one of the symptoms of the thing I'm talking about. Prices have started to rise(slowly) awhile ago in order to compensate for lower sales volume. Now that OEMs know they can get away with it - expect even higher price hikes.
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#20
TheLostSwede
silentbogoThat's one of the symptoms of the thing I'm talking about. Prices have started to rise(slowly) awhile ago in order to compensate for lower sales volume. Now that OEMs know they can get away with it - expect even higher price hikes.
Well, it'll only work for so long, as people know these things aren't worth what they're selling for. Besides, motherboard prices have been going up for what, the past five years? Each generation has been $20-30 more than the previous one, although at least once in a while, that did include more features for the money too.
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#21
silentbogo
TheLostSwedeEach generation has been $20-30 more than the previous one, although at least once in a while, that did include more features for the money too
I'm not talking generational price increase. We live in a wonderful times where 3-4 generations of motherboards, CPUs, and GPUs are still selling brand new. Almost the same goes for laptops (it's still possible to buy 7th or 8th gen Intel laptop brand new from a big e-tailer, at least where I'm from).
So, I can easily compare my receipts for, let's say, ASUS A320M-K today and 2 years ago, or just look how much does the price deviate for Z370/Z390 boards etc. Good example is my personal laptop: same model, same config now sells for $130 more than 7-8 months ago (bought it for $630, so that's a significant bump).
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#22
DeathtoGnomes
IDK how Tom's Hardware got the full story. I went to look at the source and the whole of the story is behind a paywall. I even went so far as to create a free account to see if I can read this story.

I have to say after all that this story is FUD, without further research and another source, I do lump Toms Hardware in with tweaktown ( @TheLostSwede :p ) as far as credibility is concerned.
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#23
ppn
Upwards to what~! I can't aford to pay insane prices for insane things. I expect prices to drop by $100 by now, one year after the launch. Let alone go up.
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#24
TheLostSwede
DeathtoGnomesIDK how Tom's Hardware got the full story. I went to look at the source and the whole of the story is behind a paywall. I even went so far as to create a free account to see if I can read this story.

I have to say after all that this story is FUD, without further research and another source, I do lump Toms Hardware in with tweaktown ( @TheLostSwede :p ) as far as credibility is concerned.
Digitimes is what it is. They write industry related stories and I know for a fact that some of the information passed on in Taiwan can be "coloured" one way or another, often in red (no, not the communis red) and might involve and envelope when someone is really eager to get their view in the media.
Not saying that is the case here and it's worth keeping a mind that both Taiwanese and Xi-nese companies are looking to cut single cents off of their production costs, as every saving is a saving. As such, something like this is a big hit to someone's bottom line and will be taken seriously in the industry.

Also, I only worked for Cameron for less than six months and I was desperate for more work at the time...
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#25
DeathtoGnomes
TheLostSwedeDigitimes is what it is. They write industry related stories and I know for a fact that some of the information passed on in Taiwan can be "coloured" one way or another, often in red (no, not the communis red) and might involve and envelope when someone is really eager to get their view in the media.
Whats a news story without a bit of colour? :D :rolleyes:
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