I have been making PC for about 20 years, and in that time i have seen market forces affect personal computer parts severly a few times. The thing about computer hardware is the more advance it get the harder and more expensive it becomes to fabricate the parts. For example, the x86 central processing units in the 90’s were manufactured by Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, VIA Technologies Inc., International business Machines, Nippon Electric Company, Limited, cyrix, national semiconductor, and about 8 others. But now the market has dwindled to just 2 Intel and AMD. In fact most advanced integrated circuit manufacturing is now consolidated into a few chip foundries that can produce <16 nm die size chips: Samsung, TSMC, Globalfoundries, and intel. You can read more about it here. These four companies currently control the supply of the most advance and smallest chips. These chips not only affect the Central Processing units of computer but the RAM, graphics cards, and Solid State Drives as well. Also they control the supply of component for smartphones and mobile devices.
More importantly, since 2006 Intel has enjoyed market dominance against the only other competitor left in the CPU marketplace, AMD. The long and short of it is that Intel focused on larger cores with more features while AMD chose to focus on multiple smaller cores. During the period from 2006-2016 many software developers choose to focus on single core performance, but now we are seeing the majority of computing moving to multi-core. This allowed Intel to be able to charge whatever they wanted for CPU during this period with AMD trailing behind offering their CPUs for often hundreds of dollars less. But that all has been changing recently AMD is now offering their Ryzen series of CPU that rival Intel’s in performance also for hundreds of dollars less as well. It’s a strange time in the cpu market now Intel is stuck in a “tock” cycle while AMD is charging ahead with hug multicore chips like the threadripper. Yout can read more about “Tick Tock” chip advancing cycles here.
Outside of CPUs there have also been huge price shifts in Graphics components and RAM since 2017. Before 2017 graphics card were mostly specialized hardware mostly utilized by gamers, computer graphics artist, video editors, and scientific and engineering fields.But in mid 2017 prices nearly doubled. This is mostly due to the soaring popularity of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is basically a type of currency generated by computer hardware and use of electricity. For a long time the value of cryptocurrency against dollars was stable and barley kept up with the price of electricity and hardware it cost to make it. But recently speculators have boosted the value way above those resulting in a shortage of graphics cards and ram. This has caused the price of graphics cards to almost double. The trend has started to fade and the prices of graphics cards are starting to stabilize.
The future of PC parts prices is going to hard to predict. With dies sizes hitting the limits we’ll have to see if it will cost more to overcome those limits.