When we talk about computer hardware it’s clear that the current situation seems quite unfavorable, both for PC Gamers and professionals who need to count on a state-of-the-art rig that can run the most demanding applications fluently.
We all know that hardware prices had skyrocketed, being this mainly related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although this is the most remarkable factor, others are added that further complicate the situation: Increased transportation costs, skyrocketing demand, wafer shortages, lower chip supply, etc.
Everything suggests that we’ll run into another tough year, so we dare not make optimistic predictions for 2021.
Talking about the latest GPU releases from last year, it’s honest to assume that in practice it was a paperlaunch – both from Nvidia & AMD. For all the demand that exists the market availability is currently underwhelming, so it’s not easy to get one of these units.
Resellers have taken advantage of this shortage and offer graphics cards at prices that triple their reference one. Another worrying fact for PC users is that AMD took the decision to allocate far more production capacity to produce chips for the new consoles rather than their CPU & GPU lineup, in a move that we clearly understand it’s more profitable for the company.
Chip Demand is at its Peak
The supply shortage not only affected PC chips, but the hardware industry in general. I.e. Apple had to slow down the production for its latest iPhone 12 due to water scarcity. Even companies like Ford & General Motors that need state-of-the-art chips from TSMC for their vehicles were affected, so they had to cut their production capacity by up to 20% in various of their plants.
TSMC says that it’s constantly working on expanding its production capacity to normalize the chip supply, but at the moment several requests are left out. AMD’s CEO, Lisa Su, has said that the situation is not expected to normalize till mid-year.
The pandemic has coincided with great price increases in the cryptocurrency field, which today are more than 10K. A similar situation was preceded in 2017, so from that experience, we’ve learned that powerful GPUs are a must-need for people running crypto-mining farms to make a profit. The situation is such that has led Nvidia to limit its recently launched RTX 3060 via drivers to discourage Ethereum miners from hogging all the stock.
On the one hand, there’s no choice but to wait several months for the market to settle down and demand to stabilize so that hardware prices become reasonable again.
But on the other hand, when it comes to video games that are distributed digitally on Steam we can take advantage of the significant price differences between regions to save a lot of money.
Tip to Buy Games on Steam at Lower Prices
If you had a look at the Steam Database you may have noticed that prices can vary significantly from one region to another, with Argentina, Turkey, and Russia having the cheapest prices. If you’re from another country, you may be wondering how to take advantage of these great prices. The truth is that you can easily change the country of your Steam account through a few simple steps. We need two things:
A VPN to change our IP address: There’s no need to pay for a VPN, you can use a free one like Urban VPN that will temporarily assign you an IP from Argentina or Russia to trick Steam.
A Steam wallet gift card: To confirm the change of your location, Steam will ask us to use a local payment method either to buy a game or add funds to our account. Most likely, we don’t have a credit card from the country we have chosen, so we recommend buying a steam wallet code from that country to load the balance.
Once we have a gift card, we must start Urban VPN and select the country we want to connect to. The application will assign us an IP from that country, so now we can proceed to open Steam and log in with our credentials. On the right side of the screen, from the Account Details section, you can add funds to your Steam Wallet.
There you need to redeem the gift card code so you can enjoy cheaper deals. Keep in mind that if you already have funds on your account, they will be converted to another currency.
The reason why Argentina has the cheapest prices on Steam it’s because its currency is hugely devalued, which leaves the games much cheaper for countries that have better purchasing power and a stronger currency.
Do I run any risk using this Method?
Well, it is necessary to establish a difference between what steam declares in its terms and what applies in reality. Although it’s true that as part of their policies they don’t approve it, in practice it’s very rare that they apply permabans for this type of practice.
Just don’t change your store country too frequently or they will prevent you from changing the store country for a period of time. To keep developers happy, they’ve imposed more limitations over time, such as only accepting local payment methods from the country you have set up.
Instead, Steam cares a lot more about people who cheat in multiplayer games, penalizing accounts through its Valve Anticheat System (VAC).
Steam is less affected by users that change between regions to get better prices. After all, they continue to receive commissions for every license sold, regardless of where customers spend the money. Even most developers choose to maintain price differences by region, knowing that there are people who trick the system.
They know that it would affect them much more to lose potential sales by ignoring the differences in purchasing power between countries.