Chip shortage squeezes PC parts more than ever


Almost a year after the onset of the global chip shortage, the situation of the semiconductor industry has not improved. In fact, it got worse. According to a new study from Susquehanna Financial Group, which has been tracking chipmakers since 2017, the chip shortage is growing like never before.

As reported by Bloomberg, chipmakers’ lead times have reached an all-time high. With this level of high-volume production, computer manufacturers, auto makers, and anyone with a foothold in the electronics world must place orders well in advance to factor in chip manufacturing time. . Normally the turnaround time is around 12 to 15 weeks. Now they last for over 20 weeks – the longest duration Susquehanna Financial Group has seen since 2017.

This is a worrying sign, indicating that the chip shortage may not yet be in the rearview mirror. Intel’s CEO warned in April that the situation would not recover until after 2022, and the IBM president said it would last a few more years into May. Even with the resumption of supply chains, it seems chipmakers haven’t been able to catch up.

Fortunately, extended delivery times do not apply to all types of chips. The turnaround times for power management chips, which ensure that components inside devices receive the right amount of power, have decreased.

Microcontrollers, on the other hand, are rare and in great demand. These chips handle logic and have applications in any electronic device with automatic functions, including printers, cars, and almost any smart home device. Delivery times for these chips are typically six to nine weeks, but have now grown to over 26 weeks.

There is good news, however, if you’ve been waiting for the GPU shortage. Most of the problems seem to apply to chips in cars, electronic accessories, and household appliances. Processors and GPUs are created using the latest processes, the supply of which increases as chipmakers are able to build more factories. In short, you should be able to find the new MacBook Pro, but accessories for it can be hard to find.

Automakers have been hit hardest by the shortage, potentially losing more than $ 100 billion in sales according to Bloomberg. The IT market faces a different problem: overcompensation. According to Jon Peddie Research, the increased demand caused by the pandemic won’t last forever, leaving PC parts makers with devices they can’t sell.

Right now, extended delivery times don’t mean much. In several weeks – probably somewhere in the six month range – things can change. Inventory of processors and GPUs is much better now than it was months ago, but longer delivery times result in higher demand, which could mean higher prices.

At the start of the second half of the year, the chip shortage will be a delicate balancing act between how many devices companies like Apple, AMD, and Nvidia need and how much they’re willing to spend. We might see fewer PC parts or a lot of them with higher prices – hopefully we won’t see both, and ideally we won’t see either.

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