Why it matters: Amazon has become a great place to grab the latest computer hardware, but in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, it's become a less attractive option. Because Amazon sells a whole lot more than just GPUs and CPUs, the company has recently chosen to prioritize shipments for crucial household goods, such as food, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and other similar items. That means that many other products, PC components included, are seeing long shipping delays on the platform.
Some estimated delivery dates for PC components -- even with Prime shipping enabled -- are as far as a month out. The Ryzen 3700X, for example, is reportedly set to ship to Amazon customers on April 21, and this RTX 2080 Ti from Asus has a delivery date of April 22.
For one reason or another, the April 20-24 delivery period seems to be common for many tech products on the website. Oddly, that's about three weeks after Amazon's essentials-only shipment prioritization policy is set to end (on April 5), so perhaps Amazon is just trying to be on the safe side with its estimates. Alternatively, maybe the company anticipates an extension to its April 5 deadline.
Nonetheless, this is likely a frustrating situation for PC enthusiasts who suddenly had more time at home and wanted to grab some new hardware in preparation for some of 2020's biggest releases, like Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs Legion. Regardless, as I'm sure most of our readers will agree, the health and well being of the Amazon consumer base at large is far more important than getting two-day shipping on a fancy new GPU.
For some individuals, particularly those with pre-existing health complications, fast and safe access to a bottle of hand sanitizer could mean the difference between ordinary life and significant illness -- or possibly death, in more extreme scenarios. Even outside of those situations, ordering food and other important groceries through platforms like Amazon can help to reduce the spread of Covid-19. The less people congregating at large grocery stores, the better.
At any rate, it's clear that, for the time being, Amazon is not a particularly viable option for those who care about getting their PC components quickly. If you're on the hunt for your next system, or an upgrade for your existing rig, we'd strongly recommend taking a look at more specialized stores instead.
Other retailers like Newegg, Best Buy and B&H ship (almost) nothing but electronics and hardware, so theoretically, they shouldn't be hit nearly as hard as Amazon by this pandemic. Of course, they can't possibly compete with the latter's one or two-day (free) Prime shipping, but you'll still be looking at much faster delivery speeds: around a week instead of a month.