Two years ago, almost exactly, I wrote about the Intel chip shortages created by their manufacturing debacle. Intel was moving production from 14nm toward newer, potentially faster 10nm technology. Their manufacturing process did not go well, to say the least. This caused a chip shortage, since Intel supplies the lion’s share of Central Processing Units – CPUs, often referred to as computer chips, or just chips. Now, two years later and with a new CEO in place, Intel has stepped back to 14nm and increased production. That should be good news for availability, but demand has only increased in the meantime.
Meanwhile, competitor AMD moved to 7nm chips manufactured by TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) who uses a different process. AMD currently beats Intel for performance in its top-of-the-line chips. In spite of that, I’m rooting hard for Intel, who manufactures their chips mostly in the US and Europe. Many of our clients are manufacturers, so we prefer to support US manufacturing when possible.
In late 2020, supply improved and you could actually get your hands on a PC rather easily. It seemed the shortage was over. WRONG! In March of 2021, here we go again! Searching for a particular HP computer this morning yielded NOTHING from several suppliers including the HP Store. A few minutes of searching the Internet led me to articles and videos about global chip shortages. Here’s a video of HP’s CEO talking about component shortages for PC’s and printers.
Note that HP’s stock prices and profits are better than ever. Their numbers COULD be even better if the supply could meet the demand! HP says that demand for PC’s is 45% greater than HP’s projections from only a few months ago. As I write this, my main supplier shows my go-to PC is out of stock and 1,350 are on order with no promised date.
This chip shortage affects more than computers and laptops. According to an article on CNBC, auto makers are slowing or halting production due to chip shortages. Auto makers are always in the news, but think about all the other devices that are now “smart.” These chip shortages impact many, many industries.
Of course, we will survive this latest problem, but patience and flexibility will be required, just like in 2019 and 2020!
Take care and be well!
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