INTEL MIGHT BE FACING an Oliver Twist situation; PC makers will be asking it for more chips in 2019 but it'll have to refuse due to its shortage in silicon slices getting worse.
At least that's according to Digitimes Research, which expects the struggling supply of Intel CPUs to worsen in the second quarter of 2019.
This will apparently be due to a rise in demand for Chromebooks that make use of Intel's entry-level processors. So much so, that the researchers reckon the Core i3 will replace the Core i5 as the processor everyone wants but is in short supply.
"Although most market watchers originally believed that the shortages would gradually ease after vendors completed their inventory preparations for the year-end holidays, the supply gap in the fourth quarter of 2018 still stayed at the same level as that in the third as HP launched a second wave of CPU inventory buildup during the last quarter of the year, prompting other vendors to follow suit," the boffins at Digitimes explained.
The problems seems largely to blame on Intel's focus on high-end CPUs which offer the chipmaker better profit margins. But that's meant that the latest wave of laptops looking to make use of Intel's eighth-generation mobile chips are being left wanting.
The knock-on effect of this shortfall means saw the laptop market take a hit, with vendors unable to ship as much as they'd have liked due to not having the silicon slices to pop inside their machines; Apple's new MacBook Air, which uses Intel's Amber Lake dual-core Core processor, meaning it fell foul of the chip shortages, for example.
This is bad news for Intel and the machines that use its CPUs. But for AMD it looks like there's an opportunity to steal some market share.
AMD has already been making inroads with more gusto into to the notebook market, and according to Digitimes, it looks likely to continue to do so, with shipments of laptops with AMD processors set to rise in the second quarter.
That being said, the researchers predict Intel will get its 14-nanometre fabrication back in chip-shape come the second half of 2019, so AMD might have limited time to gobble up the current chip shortfall. µ
Some deliberately, others through stupidity
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