Why are there no more cheap gaming motherboards for Intel and AMD?

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Motherboards are the central element from which we assemble our PC, since on it are mounted all the components of the same and this is key to the communication of the different elements with each other. However, we have seen how in recent years motherboards have become more expensive. What is the origin of this phenomenon and why?

We don’t normally pay attention when purchasing a motherboard, and we frequently choose for one that is inexpensive enough to get out of the situation, which is a mistake because it not only means a lower quality one, but also one with lower performance. But what is it that makes motherboards so expensive? There are two possible causes for this; let’s look at them.

Why are motherboards becoming more and more expensive?

When designing a new CPU, both Intel and AMD design not only the processor, but also the socket and the chipset that will go with it. It must be taken into account that the chipset on the motherboard adds the functionalities that could not be added to the CPU due to space constraints. All this ends up being a way to save space on the CPU, reduce the area, reduce manufacturing costs and also increase CPU production.

We cannot forget that each CPU corresponds to a chipset and we cannot assemble a PC without it and these can only be bought from Intel or AMD. While it is true that we may get motherboards from a variety of brands, they can only be purchased from CPU makers, and let us not forget that the PC industry is dominated by two companies.

So, the law is done, the trap is done, Intel or AMD can lower the price of their CPUs and recover the money with the price of chipsets and therefore raise the price of these affecting the price of motherboards. They can even make certain processor functions dependent on the use of certain chipset models, which are much more expensive and force a greater outlay on the part of the user.

The price premium on features

Assembling a PC is relatively simple; after all, we simply need to carefully place the pieces without further difficulty. The days of constructing a PC requiring specialized electronics knowledge and constant soldering are long gone.

The ideal would be to be able to create our own motherboards, in which we could solder the various components on the motherboard. However, very few people have that knowledge, and doing it by hand is a very tiresome operation. That is why the major motherboard manufacturers construct them in vast manufacturing lines and sell them to us at considerably greater prices than their components actually cost. 

The reason for this is that their cost is not relative to the cost of the motherboard parts, but rather to what it would cost us to manufacture the hardware ourselves. This leads features that appear to be inexpensive to implement to become more expensive, making something as basic as adding more USB ports, more VRM, or installing additional DIMM slots, among other things, more expensive. 

This means that basic things like adding more USB ports, more VRM, or additional DIMM slots, for example, wind up representing a dozens-of-times difference between their pricing and the cost of implementing them. While it is true that some of the cost overrun is due to Intel and AMD’s chipset, the other half is due to what users are ready to pay. 

As a result, we are all to fault for accepting a pricing structure in which something as basic as motherboards is so expensive.

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