Intel's 14nm CPU shortage set to cause slump in PC shipments


Intel is struggling to meet 14nm CPU demand

CHIPMAKER Intel’s “insufficient supply” of 14nm CPUs will have a negative impact on PC sales and DRAM pricing, according to market watchers at Trendforce. 

It was reported earlier this week that Intel plans to outsource some 14nm production to TSMC after the firm’s delay in advancing to 10nm has seen it struggle to meet capacity in-house, with its overall 14nm chip supply fall short of demand by as much as 50 per cent. 

This slowing 14nm production has lead to certain CPUs rising in price due to their reduced availability, and now, according to a report from Trendforce, it’s also likely to disrupt vendors’ notebook shipment plans for the second half of 2018.

The CPU shortage, which Trendforce notes is affecting the firm’s newly-announced Whiskey Lake chips and product lines based on the 14nm+ Coffee Lake platform, has seen a supply gap in the notebook market increase from around 5 per cent in August to 5 to 10 per cent in September. 

“There is a possibility that the supply gap may extend to over 10 per cent in 4Q18, and the shortage is expected to be resolved rather later in 1H19,” Trendforce notes, adding that it now estimates that this year’s total notebook shipments will drop by 0.2 per cent YoY. 

The DRAM market, which has seen prices increase for nine consecutive quarters, is also likely to be affected by Intel’s CPU shortcomings. TrendForce’s DRAMeXchange division previously estimated that the contract prices of PC DRAM products will drop by around 2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018, but now expects “the price decline to become larger due to the shortage of Intel CPUs and lower demand for notebooks”. 

TrendForce also expects the SSD price decline to be steeper in Q4 compared to the current quarter.

Intel said in a statement: “Customer demand has continued to improve over the course of the year, fuelling growth in every segment of Intel’s business and raising our 2018 revenue outlook $4.5bn from our January expectations.

“We will have supply to meet our announced, full-year revenue outlook and we’re working closely with our customers and factories to manage any additional upside.” µ

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