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EMEA PC Market Maintains Growth in 2021Q3, Despite Lower Consumer Spending and Continued Supply Issues, Says IDC

The Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) traditional PC market, (desktops, notebooks, and workstations) grew 12.7% YoY in 2021Q3, for a total of 24.4 million units, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). A strong commercial performance throughout the region is the main driver of this growth, offsetting a slowdown in consumer, which could not keep up with the unfavorable growth rates seen in 2020Q3.

The Western European PC market enjoyed solid growth (15.8% YoY). Desktops continued their upward trend and increased 21.8% YoY—outgrowing notebooks (+13.1%) for the first time in six quarters. Desktop growth can be attributed to strength on the commercial side, as employers look to equip and refresh their increasingly populated offices. Notebooks also saw solid commercial shipments but were stifled by component shortages, primarily in IC boards and panels.

Supply Constraints Hits Some Raspberry Pi Products

No-one seems to be immune to the current spat of component shortages and Even Upton from the Raspberry Pi foundation has announced that the 2 GB SKU of Raspberry Pi 4 will be going up in price, to its previous US$45 price point, from its current US$35. They will also bring back the 1 GB SKU of the Raspberry Pi until things settle down and it'll retail for $35.

They're also shifting their production priorities to be able to meet the demand of some products, as they're experiencing a fab allocation shortage on the 40 nm node on which the Raspberry Pi 3 SoCs are being made. As such, the Raspberry Pi 3B+ might end up in short supply, as the Raspberry Pi foundation will focus on its Raspberry Pi 3 and 3+ compute modules, as well as the Raspberry Pi 3B.

NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti & RTX 3060 Supply Rumored to Decrease in September

The shipments of NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti & RTX 3060 graphics cards are expected to fall 50% in September compared with the first 20 days of August according to a user on the Board Channels Forums. The forum post notes that board partners are expecting lower shipments until late September when supply is expected to slightly improve. This rumor has been corroborated by VideoCardz who claims that the reduced deliveries can be attributed to various factories across China being forced to close or reduce capacity due to local COVID outbreaks. We don't know if this shortage will affect only certain board partners or assembly lines and the possible changes to pricing and availability.

TrendForce: Enterprise SSD Contract Prices Likely to Increase by 15% QoQ for 3Q21 Due to High SSD Demand and Short Supply of Upstream IC Components

The ramp-up of the Intel Ice Lake and AMD Milan processors is expected to not only propel growths in server shipment for two consecutive quarters from 2Q21 to 3Q21, but also drive up the share of high-density products in North American hyperscalers' enterprise SSD purchases, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In China, procurement activities by domestic hyperscalers Alibaba and ByteDance are expected to increase on a quarterly basis as well. With the labor force gradually returning to physical offices, enterprises are now placing an increasing number of IT equipment orders, including servers, compared to 1H21. Hence, global enterprise SSD procurement capacity is expected to increase by 7% QoQ in 3Q21. Ongoing shortages in foundry capacities, however, have led to the supply of SSD components lagging behind demand. At the same time, enterprise SSD suppliers are aggressively raising the share of large-density products in their offerings in an attempt to optimize their product lines' profitability. Taking account of these factors, TrendForce expects contract prices of enterprise SSDs to undergo a staggering 15% QoQ increase for 3Q21.

Graphics DRAM Contract Prices Projected to Rise by 8-13% QoQ in 3Q21 Due to Tight Supply in Contract Market, Says TrendForce

TrendForce's latest investigations find considerable discrepancy between prices for graphics DRAM products in the contract market and in the spot market. Quotes for graphics DRAM products continue to rise in the contract market as the severe undersupply situation persists. Furthermore, the supply fulfillment rates for orders from some medium- and small-size clients have been hovering around 30%. This undersupply situation is expected to persist through 3Q21, during which graphics DRAM contract prices are expected to rise by 8-13% QoQ. Regarding the spot market, on the other hand, the value of ETH experienced continued uptrend from the start of 2021 until May, thereby driving up the demand for graphics cards, regardless of them belonging to the newer or older series. At the height of the graphics card boom, spot prices of graphics DRAM products were up to 200% higher than contract prices. Demand from miners for graphics cards are expected to be relatively muted before cryptocurrencies return to their previous bullish trends, and the gap between the spot and contract prices of graphics DRAM products will likely narrow in 3Q21 as a result.

Enterprise SSD Prices Projected to Increase by More Than 10% QoQ in 3Q21 Due to Growing Procurement Capacity, Says TrendForce

Enterprise SSD procurement has been rising on the back of growing server shipments since 2Q21, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In particular, the share of 8 TB products in shipments of SSDs to data centers has shown the most noticeable growth, which is expected to persist through 3Q21. However, certain SSD components and parts may be in shortage due to insufficient foundry capacity. TrendForce is therefore revising the QoQ hikes in contract prices of enterprise SSDs for 3Q21 to 10-15% from the previous projection of 5-10%.

TrendForce further indicates that the high demand for enterprise SSDs in 3Q21 is attributed to several factors. First, North American cloud service providers (hyperscalers) have pretty much completed their inventory adjustments and now continue to expand their storage capacity. Second, the flow of incoming orders to traditional server brands is getting stronger over the quarters as government agencies and SMBs increase their budgets for IT infrastructure. Third, Intel and AMD are ramping up production for server CPUs based on their respective new processor platforms. Following the adoption of new CPUs, the overall demand for enterprise SSDs has also shifted to higher-density products because clients want to upgrade their computing power and storage capacity. Specifically, demand is mainly trending toward 4/8 TB SSDs since raising NAND Flash density can lower the cost of SSD deployment.

AMD and GlobalFoundries Wafer Supply Agreement Now Non-Exclusive, Paves Way for 7nm sIOD

AMD in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), revealed that its wafer supply agreement with GlobalFoundries has been amended. Under the new terms, AMD places orders for wafers from GlobalFoundries up to 2024, with purchase targets set for each year leading up to 2024. Beyond meeting these targets, AMD is free from all other exclusivity commitments. The agreement was previously amended in January 2019, setting annual purchase targets for 2019, 2020, and 2021, while beginning a de-coupling between AMD and GlobalFoundries. This enabled the company to source 7 nm (or smaller) chips, such as CCDs and GPUs, from other foundries, such as TSMC, while keeping GlobalFoundries exclusive for 12 nm (or larger) nodes.

The updated wafer supply agreement unlocks many possibilities for AMD. For starters, it can finally build a next-generation sIOD (server I/O die) on a more efficient node than GlobalFoundries 12LP, such as TSMC 7 nm. This transition to 7 nm will be needed as the next-gen "Genoa" EPYC processor could feature future I/O standards such as DDR5 memory and PCI-Express Gen 5, and the switching fabric for these could be too power-hungry on 12 nm. The "Zen 4" CPU core complex dies (CCDs) of "Genoa" are expected to be built on TSMC 5 nm.

Global Semiconductor Sales Up 14.7% Year-to-Year in February, Says SIA

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) today announced global semiconductor industry sales were $39.6 billion for the month of February 2021, an increase of 14.7% over the February 2020 total of $34.5 billion, but 1.0% less than the January 2021 total of $40.0 billion. Monthly sales are compiled by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization and represent a three-month moving average. SIA represents 98% of the U.S. semiconductor industry by revenue and nearly two-thirds of non-U.S. chip firms.

"Global semiconductor sales during the first two months of the year have outpaced sales from early in 2020, when the pandemic began to spread in parts of the world," said John Neuffer, SIA president and CEO. "Sales into the China market saw the largest year-to-year growth, largely because sales there were down substantially early last year."

MSI to Hike Graphics Card Pricing, Expects GPU Supply to Remain Tight Throughout 2021

MSI is planning to raise prices of its graphics cards, according to a DigiTimes report, according to company chair Joseph Hsu, speaking at an investors conference on Tuesday. He stated that the company expects demand for motherboards, gaming notebooks, and graphics cards, to remain robust throughout 2021, with shipment increases to be had in the range of 30-50%. The DigiTimes report points to the likelihood of new GPU launches by NVIDIA in Q2-2021, and Intel 500-series chipset motherboards to positively impact MSI's shipments. Besides overwhelming demand, import duties and rising logistics costs are blamed for rising hardware prices.

NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti, Eventual SUPER Revisions Allegedly Postponed Indefinitely Amidst Supply Woes

Everyone and their mother expected NVIDIA to announce - if not a SUPER refresh to their existing graphics cards with increased memory sizes - at least the RTX 3080 Ti. That card surfaced as a planned NVIDIA counter to AMD's preemptive pricing of $999 on its RX 6900 XT graphics card (which to be fair, is in itself as abundant a card as unicorns this side of the galaxy). GamersNexus reported NVIDIA partners' comments on the indefinite postponement of the RTX 3080 Ti and possible SUPER derivatives of the RTX 30-series lineup. It's being said that NVIDIA decided (smartly, I would say) to ensure consistent supply of their existing lineup to sate demand, instead of dispersing its limited chip production across even more product lines.

This would result, I have no doubt, on NVIDIA only having even more SKUs out of stock than they currently do. Considering the market's current state of mind in regards to NVIDIA's lineup, this seems like the most sensible decision possible. TechPowerUp has in the meantime confirmed this information with NVIDIA partners themselves.

GPU Shortage Hits Data Centers: NVIDIA A100 GPU Supply Insufficient

GPU supply has been one of the most interesting things this year. With a huge demand for the new GPU generations like NVIDIA's Ampere and AMD's RDNA 2 "Big Navi" graphics cards, everyone is trying to grab a card for themselves. Besides the huge demand, there is also a big problem. The supply of these GPUs is just too low to satisfy the demand, driving up the prices, and increasing the scarcity of them. Companies like NVIDIA have their priorities set: all of the major production will go for the data center expansion and data center customers. However, even that plan is proving not to be good enough.

The scarcity of GPUs has now hit data centers, with NVIDIA unable to satisfy the demand for its A100 GPUs designed for high-performance computing. "It is going to take several months to catch up some of the demand," said Ian Buck, vice president of Accelerated Computing Business Unit at Nvidia. That is an indicator of just how huge the demand for these accelerators is. With the recent company announcement of A100 GPU with 80 GB memory, partners expect to have the first cards in their systems in the first half of 2021. That means that this situation and inadequate supply will hopefully resolve sometime around that timeframe.

NVIDIA: RTX 30-series Shortages Partly Caused by Insufficient Wafer, Substrate and Component Supply

The current widespread shortages on anything gaming-related (be it gaming consoles or the latest GPUs from both NVIDIA and AMD) are a well-known quantity by now. However, it now seems that NVIDIA's shortages aren't just the result of "outstanding, unprecedented demand", aided by scalping practices, but also from wafer and component shortages. NVIDIA's CFO Colette Kress at Credit Suisse 24th Annual Technology Conference expanded on these issues, saying that "We do have supply constraints and our supply constraints do expand past what we are seeing in terms of wafers and silicon, but yes some constraints are in substrates and components. We continue to work during the quarter on our supply and we believe though that demand will probably exceed supply in Q4 for overall gaming."

There was no further information on exactly which components are experiencing shortages. An educated guess might pin some of these issues on the exotic GDDR6X memory subsystem on high-tier Ampere graphics cards, but there could be other factors at play here. If NVIDIA did underestimate demand for its Ampere graphics cards, though, that will make it that much harder for the company to ramp up orders (and hence production) with Samsung - semiconductor manufacturing works with several months of lead time between orders and their actual fulfillment.

XBOX Series X, Series S Shortages to Continue Well Into 2021

XBOX boss Phil Spencer recently warned interested parties on the new Microsoft Xbox family of devices that supply shortages may not be so short-lived as we would've hoped. More recently, XBOX chief Financial Officer Tim Stuart said he believes that demand will continue to outstrip supply well after the holiday season and at least until April 2021 - a point at which Microsoft might just be able to match demand with its supply.

"I think we'll continue to see supply shortages as we head into the post-holiday quarter, so Microsoft's Q3, calendar Q1," said Xbox chief financial officer Tim Stuart, Speaking at the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment Virtual Conference (transcribed by Seeking Alpha). "And then when we get to Q4, all of our supply chain continuing to go full speed heading into kind of the pre-summer months. And that's where I start to - I expect to see a little bit of the demand - the supply profile, meeting the demand profile." Microsoft's fiscal Q4 runs from April through June. Whether or not that's true, one thing we can now for sure: while supply isn't enough to satisfy demand, we'll see scalpers continuing to sell what consoles and graphics cards they managed to snag for outrageous prices. Don't cede: vote with your wallet and don't give them a pat on the back with your hard-earned money.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080/3090 Founders Edition Sales Limited to BestBuy in the US

The supply of NVIDIA's newly announced GeForce RTX Ampere lineup has been quite controversial since the beginning. Demand for the new GeForce RTX 3080 and 3090 GPUs has been rather high and NVIDIA experienced big "demand issues" as the CEO Jensen Huang says. The company didn't expect such high demand and thus hasn't stocked up the chips for that many orders. NVIDIA's AIBs have also seen this problem with GPU demand, as it is too high in ratio to supply. As more chips are manufactured, we can expect this problem only to settle down over time. Today, we got an interesting piece of information regarding the availability of Founders Edition (FE) GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 cards. NVIDIA has posted on the forums stating the following:
Suroosh@NVIDIAWe have heard your feedback regarding the NVIDIA online store and are working to improve the experience.

In the meantime, we will be selling our GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 Founders Edition through other partners. In the US, you can shop for Founders Edition at Best Buy - GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3090. In Europe, we continue to review Founders Edition fulfillment options.

Founders Edition units are limited, and more will be available in the coming weeks alongside an increasing supply of boards from our global board partners.

Sony Denies Rumors of Reduced PS5 Launch Supply

It's rare when a company actually responds to rumors with more than a simple "we don't comment on speculations"; however, Sony has done just that in regards to purported reduced supply of PS5 consoles on launch. There are some likely reasons for this move from Sony; for one, the rapid uptake on mainstream media following the initial Bloomberg report may have garnered a little too much attention for comfort. Consider the fact that Sony's share price fell some 3.5% following the report, however, and you can see how these rumors may have forced the company's hand to stem the bleeding.

Sony quells this rumor with extreme prejudice, too. According to the company, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, "While we do not release details related to manufacturing, the information provided by Bloomberg is false. We have not changed the production number for PlayStation 5 since the start of mass production." That should settle things - and mean there will be 4 million more PS5s up for grab out there at launch. It was, in any event, strange that the chip inside the PS5 was having such troubling 50% yield number as was advanced by the Bloomberg report; we know that Ryzen itself has been designed by AMD with manufacturing yields and cost-reduction in mind for some time, now.

PlayStation 5 Launch Supply Reduced due to AMD CPU/GPU SoC Yield Issues

Today we have found out that Sony has reportedly cut PlayStation 5 launch supply due to bad yields of the SoC powering the console. Previously, we reported that Sony has doubled production of the new console amid high demand, where the company expected to sell 10 million units in the fiscal year. The original plan was to have around 15 million units of the new console available by March 31st, 2021. Sony has been spending a lot of resources to get as many units out to consumers, however, the bad SoC yields have held the company back significantly.

It is reported by Bloomberg that instead of the original 15 million units Sony plans to supply, there will be only 11 million of them. That represents a massive reduction of 4 million units. And you are wondering how bad the yields of the new SoC are to have that big reduction. According to the source, TSMC and Sony are seeing only 50% yields on the production run. It is reported that the yields are gradually improving but have not yet reached the level needed to have a stable supply. This represents a big problem for the company and we don't know who is to blame. TSMC has been very good at manufacturing 7 nm silicon, however, it could be bad design from AMD and Sony that is making the production difficult. We are waiting for more information.

GIGABYTE Launches Compact Power Supplies

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards, and gaming gears, today announced three new compact power supplies: P750GM - 750 W 80 PLUS Gold certified with fully modular design, P550B - 550 W 80 PLUS Bronze certified, and P450B - 450 W 80 PLUS Bronze certified.

GIGABYTE has improved the old circuit design and adopted new high-quality materials, so that the 750-watt power supply with a length of 16-18 cm can be greatly reduced to 14 cm. The performance and stability of the power supply can also be improved in the reduced condition. The reduced-size power supply is suitable for installation in the increasingly popular small chassis, so that even small chassis can enjoy the high performance brought by the large wattage.

XMG Announces Serious Constraints on AMD Ryzen 7 4800H Supply, Could Extend to Industry

XMG, a well-known gaming brand for high performance laptops and PCs that operates under Schenker Technologies has announced via a Reddit post that it is facing serious constraints in AMD Ryzen 7 4800H supply. This has meant a delay for parts that were expected to be fulfilled in August, which now have an expected delivery date by late September. The company is offering a number of alternatives for users that may want to change their order in wake of the delay, including a chip downgrade (for AMD's Ryzen 4600H), a CPU manufacturer swap (to Intel's Core i7-10750H), a battery downgrade from 62Wh to 46Wh (with laptops being likely manufactured by two different ODMs in this case), or a full refund.

The company says that this has been caused, in part, by an upsurge in demand for AMD Ryzen 4800H CPUs, not only form customers, but also from some leading brands with a much more sizeable portion of the ODM market, who have apparently caught wind of the technological prowess of AMD's most recent 4000 series CPUs compared to Intel's. It can be also speculated that this supply constraint is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still straining logistics and shipments across the globe, but also by insufficient supply to meet demand. This can be explained by the fact that most tech companies are fabless, and most semiconductor designers have to fight for TSMC's allocation for 7 nm silicon production - and there are only so many wafers that can be allocated to each company at the outset. Perhaps AMD's allocation is also favoring other renditions of their Zen silicon (ie, custom designs for the next-generation consoles and other higher-margin products).

TSMC 5 nm Fab in Arizona will Change Global Semiconductor Supply Chain: Report

TSMC has just recently announced that they will be building a semiconductor factory in the US, thanks to the pressure from Trump administration. The 5 nm Fab will be built in Arizona, with construction starting in 2021. It will be finished in the year 2024 when the plant will operate at a capacity of 20,000 wafers per month. This is not a high number as TSMC Fabs usually operate at a rate of 100-150K wafers per month, however, the amazing thing is the location of the Fab. The US Fab in Arizona is set to change the global landscape of the semiconductor supply chain, as per the latest report from DigiTimes Research.

Arizona is a place in the US where lots of companies are building semiconductors. Intel, Raytheon, Microchip, ON Semiconductor, VLSI, Freescale, NXP, STMicroelectronics, Honeywell, Marvel, Amkor, Philips, and Western Digital have their facilities there and Arizona can be considered one of the key places for semiconductor manufacturing in the US. With TSMC adding their manufacturing facilities to that list as well, there could be a change in the supplier ecosystem. In light of the need for TSMC 5 nm Fab, the world's leading OSAT (Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test) suppliers may be encouraged to set up local production in Arizona to help TSMC with its plans. A lot of OSAT providers are headquartered in Taiwan, however, if there is a need, they are possibly going to build their manufacturing facilities in Arizona. This alone could change the way semiconductor manufacturing facilities are supplied, and the US could become a major center of OSAT providers.
TSMC HQ

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and GlobalWafers Sign MOU to Increase Capacity, Supply of 300mm SOI Wafers

GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF ), the world's leading specialty foundry, and GlobalWafers Co., Ltd. (GWC), one of the top three silicon wafer manufacturers in the world, today announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop a long-term supply agreement for 300 mm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers.

GWC is one of the world's leading manufacturers of 200 mm SOI wafers, and has a long and ongoing relationship with GF for supplying 200 mm SOI wafers. GWC also manufactures 300 mm SOI wafers, and under the anticipated supply agreement, GWC and GF will collaborate closely to significantly expand GWC's 300 mm SOI wafer manufacturing capacity.

Continuing 14 nm Supply Shortages Lead Intel to Reintroduce Haswell-based, 22 nm Pentium G3420

"Nothing Really Ends" is the title of a song from dEUS, a Belgian "art-rock" band. And it would seem this applies all too well to the world of technology too. Intel has issued a Product Change Notification (PCN) which has changed the previously dead and buried, Haswell-era, 22 nm Pentium G3420 from its "Discontinued" status back to a worded "canceling this Product Discontinuance completely per new roadmap decision and enabling the product long term once again." Which means the Pentium G3420 will have a new lease of life, and will be available to customers until May 2020, with final shipments on December of the same year.

This is clearly an attempt from Intel to increase part availability for OEMs and system manufacturers, who have already been quoted as considering AMD due to both increases in performance and efficiency in their processors, as well as constrained supply from Intel, with giant Dell already having pointed the finger at Intel as a cause for their lower than expected revenue.

Japan and South Korea Disagreements Could Compromise Global Memory Supply

According to Nikkei, the newly established trade limitations between Japan and South Korea, could end up compromising global memory supply by simply restricting chemicals export. As the report says, Japan has limited its export of three vital chemicals (like orthophosphoric, hydrobromic and citric acid) used in semiconductor manufacturing, to South Korea.

Unlike before, a company that exports a chemical, now has to ask for a permission from the Japanese government, so it could supply the semiconductor foundries in South Korea. The end result of such move could be severely damaged global memory supply, as over 70% of DRAM and over 50% of NAND memory is manufactured in South Korea. Government processing of applications for exporting chemicals is estimated to take about three months, while the memory makers usually only hold around one of two months of extra supply for manufacturing. SK Hynix, a third biggest memory manufacturer by revenue, said that if it doesn't get enough stock of materials, it would have to halt production. Samsung is asserting the situation for now, without any elaboration on that. These events could lead to increased memory price and overall less supply.

Toshiba, WD NAND Production in Yokkaichi Hit With Power Outage: 6 Exabytes of NAND Production Affected

In another episode of the "so timely considering market projections for NAND pricing" news, Toshiba and Western Digital have disclosed expected impacts following an unexpected, 13-minute power outage on June 15th, that affected the companies' joint manufacturing facilities in Yokkaichi, Japan. Western Digital announced a loss of almost 6 Exabytes of NAND production - Toshiba is expected to have lost anywhere between 6 Exabytes and 9 Exabytes themselves, since they usually have their factories working closer to full capacity. Return to standard manufacturing rates is expected to only occur by mid-July.

Damage includes impacted wafers that were being processed, the facilities, and production equipment, hence the need for an extended inoperability period to seriously assess damages and required reinvestment. 35% of the world's NAND supply is produced at this Yokkaichi Operation campus (which includes six factories and an R&D center), so this outage and NAND flash loss is likely to impact the global markets. Whether or not this is enough to move the needle from oversupply to undersupply is as of yet unknown, but it is unlikely so - although pricing changes are expected after Q3 and Q4 orders have been settled (whose pricing has already been settled and can't be subject to change). Loss of confidence in the Toshiba and Western Digital manufacturing venture, however, could help offset some of that pricing increase. Obviously, companies have insurance policies that cover them in case of such unexpected events - should they fall squarely out of the control of said companies.

ASUS at Computex 2019: TUF Gaming VG27AQ Monitor, ROG STRIX 650 W Gold Power Supply

ASUS at Computex 2019 showcased a myriad of products - as is usual, for one of the foremost PC hardware manufacturers. This news piece breaks down two of these products: the TUF Gaming VG27AQ monitor and the ROG STRIX 650 W Gold power supply. Starting with that which allows you to see, the TUF Gaming VG27AQ monitor features both ULMB and Adaptive Sync support (in the form of AMD's FreeSync and NVIDIA's G-Sync). Dubbed ELMB, the new feature allows the monitor to keep its Active Sync features active for super smooth gameplay, whilst enabling motion blur reduction - usually, a choice between the two technologies has to be made.

The 27" screen offers an IPS panel with a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, 1 ms response time and maximum 155 Hz refresh rate (Adaptive Sync works between the 40-155 Hz interval) over a DisplayPort connection (144 Hz max over HDMI). A maximum brightness of 350 cd/m² doesn't win any serious accolades, but is more than enough for gaming scenarios. Connectors stand at 2x HDMI 1.4 ports, 1x DisplayPort 1.2, and 2x USB 3.0 ports.

Intel Again Leader in Silicon Supply Race

Intel was the historic leader in silicon manufacturing and sales from 1993 through 2016, the year it lost its lead to Samsung. The issue wasn't so much to do with Intel, but more to do with market demands at the time - if you'll remember, it was the time of booming DRAM pricing alongside the smartphone demand increase that propagated stiff competition and manufacturers trying to outgun one another in the form of specs. The DRAM demand - and its ridiculous prices, at the time - propelled Samsung towards the top spot in terms of revenue, leaving Intel in the dust.

However, with the decrease in DRAM pricing following the reduce in smartphone demand and increased manufacturing capabilities of semiconductor manufacturers, which flooded the market with product that is being more slowly digested, has led to the drop of the previously-inflated Dram pricing, thus hitting Samsung's revenues enough for Intel to again become "top dog" in the silicon manufacturing world - even as the company struggles with its 10 nm rollout and faced supply issues of their own. As IC Insights puts it, "Intel replaced Samsung as the number one quarterly semiconductor supplier in 4Q18 after losing the lead spot to Samsung in 2Q17. (...) With the collapse of the DRAM and NAND flash markets over the past year, a complete switch has occurred, with Samsung having 23% more total semiconductor sales than Intel in 1Q18 but Intel having 23% more semiconductor sales than Samsung just one year later in 1Q19!".
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