INTEL HAS TAKEN A MOUTHFUL of humble pie and penned an apologetic letter to its customers to apologise for continuing chip storages.
Over the past year or so, Intel has been struggling to get its chip production in *ahem* chip-shape, notably with the 10-nanometre process node, currently used for its Ice Lake laptop CPUs, being delayed. The Meltdown and Spectre flaws haven't helped things either, leading to high-performance computing users seeking replacement chips and thus causing a surge in demand that Intel has struggled to keep up with.
Intel's apologetic letter appears to be focussed on Intel's business users rather than folks who've bought a powerful Core CPU for a DIY desktop.
"I'd like to acknowledge and sincerely apologise for the impact recent PC CPU shipment delays are having on your business and to thank you for your continued partnership," said Michelle Johnston Holthaus, Intel's executive vice president and general manager of its sales, marketing and communications division, noting that despite the the firm's "best efforts" it had "not yet resolved this challenge".
"Supply remains extremely tight in our PC business where we are operating with limited inventory buffers," Holthaus added. "This makes us less able to absorb the impact of any production variability, which we have experienced in the quarter.
"This has resulted in the shipment delays you are experiencing, which we appreciate is creating significant challenges for your business."
Holthaus went on to say Intel is investing in more 14nm wafer capacity, which will be handy as more chips based on that fabrication process are on the way, and said that 10nm production is ramping up as well.
"In addition to expanding Intel's own manufacturing capability, we are increasing our use of foundries to enable Intel's differentiated manufacturing to produce more Intel CPU products," Holthaus added.
From the tone of the letter and the way Intel is going, it doesn't look like the chip shortage will be solved at the drop of a silicon hat. But Intel's mea culpa is refreshing, and on the consumer side of things, it doesn't look like the chip shortage is causing too many issues.
However, Intel will probably want to ensure that its partners such as Dell, Lenovo and other PC makers aren't left waiting too long for CPUs, as they might be inspired by Microsoft's Surface Laptop 3 15 and give AMD's processors a bigger go instead... at least for their laptops. µ
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