Prices of motherboards are expected to rise by 5 to 10 percent on average, or up to 15 percent, in the first half of 2011. These are just estimates, made by industry sources cited by DigiTimes, and may change as other factors affect the market.

Nevertheless, Asus has already raised its prices for motherboards. Chewei Lin, general manager of motherboard business unit at Asustek, said the rates will increase depending on market demand and position in different areas.

Lin explains that the price hike is in response to the labor shortage in China, the NT dollar's appreciation, and rising material costs (copper has soared to over US$9,000 per ton, after rising about 30 percent in the past six months). He tried to emphasize, however, that the overall purchasing costs for consumers will not increase significantly thanks to the growth momentum of motherboards and prices sliding in some key PC parts and components under DIY channels.

The good news is that nobody buys just motherboards. It's difficult to predict how fluctuating prices for each component will affect the final sale price of a computer. For example, DRAM prices are expected to keep falling in the first half of this year.