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$1500 for Core i9: CPU Prices in Russia Soar Amid Sanctions

Intel
(Image credit: Intel)

The ongoing full-scale war against Ukraine led Western countries to impose dozens of hurting sanctions against Russia and Russian companies. As a result, the national currency — ruble — has plunged over 30% since mid-February, which naturally has resulted in increased costs for imported goods in the country. 

New restrictions on CPU exports to Russia are taking their toll, too, and Apple also said it would stop shipments of its products to Russia. We did a few spot checks to see what pricing looks like for some of the impacted products in Russia. 

Prices Are Getting Higher

Russia Pricing (converted to USD, no VAT)Approx. US Pricing
AMD Ryzen 7 5700G$430 to $1,040$300
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X$734$600
Intel Core i5-12400$261$210
Intel Core i9-12900K$1,570$615
Apple MacBook Pro 14$2,687 to $4,300$1,999
Apple MacBook Pro 16$8,270$2,499

Reports indicate that AMD and Intel have ceased shipping processors into Russia. Though the companies have yet to announce the details, prices are already on the rise.

AMD's processors are rare in many parts of the world these days, so it isn't particularly surprising that some Russian retailers are selling AMD's Ryzen 5700G for $432 to $1,040 without VAT (₽59,200 – ₽118,000) according to the Yandex.Market price search engine. This chip retails for ~$300 in the U.S.

AMD's flagship Ryzen 9 5950X isn't immune, either; some shops charge around $734 (₽96,000), which is higher than the actual price in the U.S. of $608

Intel's 12th-Gen Core Alder Lake processors are popular for obvious reasons. They cost from $261 without VAT (₽34,344) for a Core i5-12400 to a whopping $1,570 (₽219,409) for a Core i9-12900K. A different retailer sells Intel's flagship for $648 (₽85,000), which is not too expensive, but other retailers show where things are headed.  

Apple was one of the first high-tech companies to officially cease sales in its online store in Russia, halt its Apple Pay service in the country, and stop shipping new products to Russia. Generally, Apple's products are not exactly cheap in Russia, but pricing appears to already be on the uptick. Apple is obviously one of the most popular brands today, iPhone and MacBook pricing shows a more severe impact than we've seen with prices of AMD and Intel chips. 

Early Wednesday, Apple's M1 Pro-based MacBook Pro 14 was available for anywhere from $2687 to $4300 (₽351,000 – ₽561,000), whereas some retailers offered the M1 Max-powered MacBook Pro 16 for as much as $8,720 (₽1,138,070). 

By contrast, graphics cards have been overpriced for several quarters now, so it isn't surprising that GeForce and Radeon pricing in Russia is high even today. We expect graphics boards prices to get higher in the country if/when GPU shipments to Russia will be banned, but for now, a GeForce RTX 3070 Ti for $1,060 (₽140,000) seems to carry about the same price tag as in the U.S. 

But Chips Will Not Stop Coming

It should be noted that AMD, Intel, and Nvidia have been ordered to cease shipments of some products to Russia given their dual-use nature (meaning they can be used for either military or civilian purposes), so these companies will have to comply. However, chip designers and their large distributors aren't the only sources for CPUs and GPUs. 

There are plenty of companies in Russia that sell leftovers that aren't consumed by large OEMs, distributors, or retailers. As it turns out, even today there are enough excess chips that these suppliers are willing to sell them to focus on newer products that are in higher demand and sold at a premium. 

Formally, AMD and Intel cannot supply CPUs to Huawei without an export license from the U.S. government, yet Huawei regularly introduces new PCs based on fairly recent processors from the two leading developers. We have no idea whether some of the export licenses for Huawei-bound hardware are still granted or the company obtains CPUs from third parties, but it is evident that not all restrictions work in 100% of cases. That means Russian companies could still somehow manage to either sell or use newer processors from AMD and Intel despite the restrictions. 

Anton Shilov
Anton Shilov

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.