Has there ever been a time where computer hardware was this coveted and hard to get?

I’m struggling to compare this to any other launch since the Personal Home Computer became a thing.

I suspect a lot of it is the whole “human malware” thing; for those who have been able to maintain their income, they’ve had less opportunities to spend and been stuck at home far more than usual. Add to that very significant jumps in hardware capability and we’ve got a recipe for supply shortages, everywhere. I joked with my nephew that I decided to sell off the 5600X I picked up for his build so I could buy a new car, instead.

We have new generations of GPUs from Nvidia and AMD, a new generation of CPUs from AMD, and new consoles from Sony and MS, all released within a few weeks of each other. Maybe manufacturing capacity is stretched too thinly right now.

It’s pretty crazy there was this massive confluence of so much being release at once. Intel and Nintendo missed out on the party lol.

What are you talking about the Apple launches this year have been great. Getting my M1 MacBook Air day one. :-P

During the cryptocurrency craze a couple of years ago, there was about an 18 month period where mid-grade GPUs (the kind mortals can usually afford) jumped from $250 to $800. I delayed upgrading my PC for two years because of it.

Every big console launch since the Genesis has been like this as well. I remember going to all the stores in town every weekend 20 years looking for the PS2(?). We just didn’t have the internet to add that dimension to the hunt back in the day.

And since the thread title is “computer hardware” and not “gaming hardware”, new Macs are often hard to get for months after release.

So the answer is, yes, there has been many times computer hardware has been this coveted and hard to get. :-)

2020 has been a totally average/normal year.

Matt Yglesias actually has a whole section about this in this morning’s post from his Substack:

What actually happened is that starting in March the household savings rate soared (people are taking fewer vacations and eating out less) and while it’s been declining from its peak as of September it was still unusually high.

One result of this is a lot of people have been able to pay off old debts. At the same time, interest rates have plunged without sparking an increase in borrowing, so household debt service costs have plummeted.

The upshot of this is . . . that the sales outlook for a new video game console system is very good. There is economic hardship in America, but the larger trend is that middle class people are seeing their homeowners’ equity rise and their debt payments fall, while cash piles up on their balance sheets, because it’s not safe to throw a big birthday party or take a vacation this weekend.