Motherboards are getting more expensive, but the chip shortage isn’t to blame

It’d be easy to blame the ongoing global chip shortage on the rising prices of motherboards, but with Intel’s latest Z690 motherboards, there’s reason to think that a larger issue is causing the price increase.

An article by TechPowerUp makes the point that that there are a lot of features that need to go into these new motherboards versus previous generations, like PCIe 5.0, DDR5, and the new LGA 1700 socket.

A lineup of Z690 motherboards.

First off, one of the biggest differences between LGA 1700, which is what we get in the Z690 chipset, versus the previous socket, LGA 1200, is the number of pins. In the LGA 1700 socket, we get 1,700 little pins within the socket, whereas we got 1,200 in the LGA 1200, which occupied the Z590 chipset. Logically, more pins means more materials, thus more money needed to produce.

The question is, how much more money can 500 more little pins be? The answer is not concrete, but according to TechPowerUp, it’s around four times more expensive than LGA 1200.

Funny enough, the price difference between the Z590 and Z690 chipset is just $1.

While the new SSDs are not ready to be dispersed, PCIe 5.0 is ready on the Z690 chipset, which adds a price increase of about 10% to 20% over PCIe 4.0. That big price increase is due to what pieces are needed to implement PCIe 5.0.

The higher-end Z690 motherboards, like the Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero, utilize DDR5 RAM, which has an entirely different operating procedure that needs to be brought into play during design.

We also cannot ignore the overall design of the CPU that is being inserted into these motherboards, which is Intel’s 12th-Gen Alder Lake CPUs. Alder Lake is utilizing many different features from what we’re accustomed to, like dedicated performance cores.

All of the new features of the Z690 chipset holsters are unique and we’ve yet to see AMD include these features. Unfortunately, this is just another sign of the times where PC hardware has become more expensive and inaccessible to gamers who want in.

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