Will Tariffs Lead To Skyrocketing GPU And Motherboard Prices? Not So Fast

Closeup of a GeForce RTX graphics card inside a PC.
Gamers know all too well how it feels to pay a premium for hardware, whether it's the usual price when splurging on a high-end product or the result of an overcharge stemming from a shortage (and greedy marketplace sellers). So when news spread that looming tariffs were about to drive up the cost of graphics cards and motherboards, it was disappointing but not shocking. Fortunately, however, gamers and PC enthusiasts will dodge that bullet, at least for the time being.

What started the whole brouhaha over pending price increases was an erroneous reading of a Federal Trade Commission (FCC) document by PCMag, which subsequently sounded the alarm over a supposed 25% duty on certain Chinese goods, including graphics cards, motherboards, and computer cases. This in turn led to fears that building and/or buying a PC was about to get a whole lot more expensive, especially one geared towards gaming.

After the story spread, however, ASRock reached out to the site to clarify that critical PC components will continue to be excluded.

"Since we are a company selling PC motherboards and graphics cards, we’ve been watching the new policy closely, What we knew from the released document and also the forwarder we worked with is that the graphics cards are excluded from the extra tariffs till 2025/5/31," ASRock told the site in an email.

Closeup angled render of ASRock's Z790 Taichi Carrara motherboard.

ASRock's statement seemingly puts to rest fears that Trump-era tariffs will be reinstated on some of the most important parts that comprise a gaming PC. After hearing from ASRock, PCMag took a closer look at the verbiage used in the federal notices on tariff actions, which can difficult to decipher. Specifically, tariff codes 8743.30.1180 and 8473.30.5100 outlining "printed circuit assemblies" caused the confusion.

Outside of ASRock, the US Trade Representative (USTR) clarified to the site that "while the two tariff codes you reference are currently subject to the 301 duties, there are certain products under those codes that beneft from exclusions. It is not all products under the entire 10-digit codes."

Additionally, the USTR posted a notice further clarifying the situation.

"The US Trade Representative has found that extending these exclusions will support efforts to shift sourcing out of China, or provide additional time where, despite efforts to source products from alternative sources, availability of the product outside of China remains limited," the statement reads.

Those "printed circuit assemblies for rendering images onto computer screens ('graphics processing modules')" as well as those "constituting unfinished logic boards" are explicitly exempt. That's great news, as it effectively means that a big price hike for graphics cards and motherboards is not right around the corner as originally thought.

However, the Biden administration is not eliminating the tariffs completely, but putting them off until May 31, 2025. Of course, a lot can change in the year (especially an election year), so here's hoping for another reprieve 12 months from now.