The IC market experiences shortages across the board
Ongoing supply constraints and increasing demand from all sectors continue to strain production as lead times for ICs rise to an average of 34 weeks. Automotive and industrial-grade items are especially constrained as customers are struggling to secure allocations. All signs indicate that the current market will not recover anytime soon.
Furthermore, lead times and pricing for ICs may further increase due to recent power cuts in China as their government begins limiting factory operations to reduce carbon emissions. Although the magnitude of any impact is unknown, it is likely to cause production issues for many manufacturers within the region, including Nvidia and Qualcomm.
TSMC price increases expected for 2022
Because of the current market, TSMC has released plans to raise pricing by 10-20%. This will likely take effect in 2022 as TSMC renews pricing contracts with its customers.
TSMC’s factories have faced temporary shutdowns throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in limited production and significant backlog. We expect builds and fabs for smartphones, HPC, IoT and the automotive sector will be hit hardest due to growing demand for TSMC’s costly 5-nanometer and 7-namometer node chips.
Market prompts Qualcomm to implement stricter allocation guidelines
Qualcomm has begun to implement stricter allocation guidelines for certain series due to raw material shortages and increasing production costs. Furthermore, there is indication that pricing for Qualcomm’s CSRxxx series has increased 5-15% and lead times have stretched to 52 weeks.
What’s more, customer forecasts could face serious disruptions with Qualcomm planning to release only 30-50% of its planned allocation for 2022. The most affected product appears to be Qualcomm’s ARxxx series with some end-users not expecting to receive allocation at all.
Broadcom customers to face steep price increases
Broadcom is implementing price increases beginning October 1. This includes a 20-25% price increase on Broadcom’s older BCM series switches and a 5-10% price increase on its Avago ACP series. This is in addition to a price spike as high as 21% on Broadcom’s optocoupler wired products. Lastly, lead times for Broadcom’s PEX series have grown to 68 weeks.
These pricing and lead time fluctuations are primarily being driven by increased assembly costs on behalf of TSMC.
On Semiconductor to increase pricing by up to 40%
On Semiconductor announced a sharp price increase of 10-40% on all series starting October 1. This will be applied to both current stock and backlog orders. Furthermore, factory closures in Malaysia have caused lead times to extend beyond the 70-week mark.
It has been reported that lead times for certain transistors and diodes will continue to stretch as an increasing percentage of their production capacity is reallocated to more profitable products, such as image sensors, FETs and power supply components.
NXP cancels orders without notice
Distributors report that NXP’s MPC (Freescale) and LPC series MCUs are on allocation. What’s more, the company is cancelling orders without notice and is implementing price increases without warning, both for on-hand stock and preexisting factory orders.
It is believed these price hikes and delivery delays are due to raw material shortages, as well as NXP tightening its grip on the sale of high-demand products being resold into the open market.
MLCC pricing to rise as demand continues
The overall MLCC market experienced continuous lead time stretches throughout Q3 2021. Now, distributors report that Murata, Samsung and Yageo have all announced price increases of up to 20% as the supply for high capacitance MLCCs continues to tighten. This comes as a result of strong demand from the 5G, PC, laptop and automotive sectors.
Customer demand may fall
It is believed that demand for Chromebooks, along with consumer demand overall, may slow in Q4 due to oversupply in the US market. With over 70% of global Chromebook demand coming from the US, there is growing concern that continued vaccine rollouts and the subsequent reduction of remote operations will cause a large drop in demand for Chromebooks.
As a result, pricing may remain flat for consumer DRAM and LPDDRs used in the production of Chromebooks. eMMC, NOR Flash and other related storage chips will continue to trade higher than DRAM as manufacturers contend with limited production and an inability to expand output. This is especially true of industrial-grade series. The persistent backlog of automotive orders will continue to occupy most production capacity throughout Q4.
Memory modules experience fluctuating prices
Manufacturers would like to increase pricing on memory products due to numerous enterprises having continued strong year-over-year growth; however, customers negotiating with manufacturers have been rejecting proposed price increases. This is forcing manufacturers to drop pricing as they compete for market share.
PC memory modules have seen increased demand in the APAC region from students returning to school and manufacturers buffering inventory in preparation for the upcoming Chinese Shopping Festival on November 11.
Regardless, due to excess inventory as a result of recent soft demand, pricing has not risen and may stay flat despite the upside. Another contributing factor is the inventory distributors pushed into market at the end of Q3.
Server memory module demand, on the other hand, remains very soft. As such, market supply is healthy and pricing dipped 3-5%, which is well below official pricing. With vendors competing to clear their inventories, there is now a great cost savings opportunity for customers buying from the open market. Some vendors are offering an even lower pricing just to get rid of inventory.
High demand for SSDs results in supply issues
Shortages of components, specifically controllers and voltage regulators essential to the production of SSDs, continue to cause production issues for manufacturers. Though there are supply issues for SSDs across the board, low-capacity drives (240GB and 480GB) have been the most affected due to manufacturer allocation not meeting customer demand.
Because of the high demand across all capacities, Intel is predicted to increase production by 50% for certain high-capacity drives, such as its P4510 series 1TB and 2TB, and will raise pricing going into Q4.
Nonetheless, vendors currently have little to no stock of Samsung’s popular PM883 series SSDs (capacities 480GB and 960GB). This is not the case for 1.9TB and 3.8TB capacities, both of which have healthy supply in the market and are currently trading below official pricing. It is unknown how long this will be the case.
HDD demand remains strong for high-density drives
Because hard drive manufacturers expect raw material shortages to continue, most production capacities are being allocated to high-density drives (10TB and above). HDD manufacturers are believed to remain focused on these products throughout Q4.
In other news, enterprise demand remains strong for large-capacity drives, especially in China, which saw an uptick in demand in September. Seagate’s 16TB was the most sought-after drive. This was followed by Western Digital’s 18TB HDD, which is more expensive than Seagate’s 18TB.
Lead times have continued to stretch for Seagate’s 4TB HDDs and other low-capacity drives, resulting in 12-16 week lead times for some customers. Similarly, Seagate is struggling to meet demand for its 8TB HDDs; however, the company has no issues with its 6TB HDD, which has less demand.
Cryptominers look to hack Nvidia's LHR GPUs
Professional hackers have managed to find a partial work around for Nvidia’s LHR feature, which was meant to impede cryptominers from buying Nvidia’s flagship 30xx series. The hack increases rate performance by 20-35%.
Regardless, there continues to be strong demand for Nvidia’s Non-LHR feature GPUs until hackers find a full work around the LHR feature. Once they do, miners will likely go back to using Nvidia’s 30xx series GPUs with no loss of performance.
In other news, Samsung’s foundry is increasing contract pricing for its chip fabrication, which Nvidia relies on to produce its RTX 3000 series GPUs. Shortly after Samsung’s announcement, add-in-card (AIC) partners reported that Nvidia began raising the price of its chipsets. As such, expect another round of price increases for Nvidia’s GPUs in the near future.
Demand for Nvidia on the rise
Demand for Nvidia’s A4000 GPUs ramped up rapidly in September. Currently, Nvidia’s A4000 GPUs are priced below its previous generation Quadro RTX 4000 series. With a low price tag and boosted performance, the A4000 series is quickly becoming popular for workstation PCs.
On the downside, board partners are still facing production constraints for the A4000 series due to the raw material shortages and competition over Nvidia’s GA104 chipset GPUs (A4000, RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070 and RTX 3070 Ti), which are used in multiple devices.
Nvidia’s RTX 3090 blower edition has been highly sought-after following the company’s announcement that it was resuming production. With supply well short of demand, it RTX 3090’s are in critical shortage
AMD looks to grow its market share against Intel
With TSMC playing a major role in the CPU production landscape, the production battle between Intel and AMD continues.
Despite continuous gating issues from substrate, raw material and IC shortages, AMD’s market share and revenue have been growing steadily. This is due to AMD’s focus on producing high-margin and premium models, thereby increasing the company’s revenue share. As a result of this shift, there will likely be a limited supply of previous generation products, as well as entry-level CPUs with a lower profit margin.
AMD’s embedded division has limited supply yet to be allocated, and with its server channel facing strict allocations, all Discount Purchase Agreements (DPAs) are being reduced significantly.
Intel focuses on higher-end product production
Deliveries of Intel’s mid-tier products, such as the 52xx/52xxR and 62xx/62xxR, are becoming less predictable as the company increases production for its Cascade Lake series server CPUs. This comes as demand moves away from Intel’s entry-level Cascade Lake series server CPUs and toward its mid-tier and high-end products instead.
As such, mid-tier server CPU users are urged to buffer more of their current inventories. Overall, supply of Intel’s Cascade Lake’s high and low core count products remains extremely tight.
To help with supply, Intel pulled in allocations for Q4 at the end of Q3, enhancing current product availability. On the flipside, this shortage will continue to be felt in early October and will escalate into November.
Intel pushes customers to newer products
Demand remains strong for Intel’s Comet Lake 400 series desktop chipsets, especially since many customers continue to heavily depend on its 10th Gen Comet Lake desktop CPUs.
Distributors anticipate minimal supply of Intel’s upcoming Comet Lake 400 series desktop chipsets in Q4. Customers are being pushed to transition to Intel’s 11th Gen Rocket Lake desktop CPUs and its Rocket Lake 500 series desktop chipsets.
Customers relying on Intel’s 10th Gen Comet Lake desktop CPUs should buffer additional stock now if they intend to linger on this product.
LCD shortages continue
Overall, the supply of LCDs continues to be heavily constrained. 13’3-inch screens, in particular, are still heavily short. Regardless, some suppliers have released stock for the 11’6-inch panel, causing a slight drop in price. 14’0 and 15’6 sized screens are also available in the market, but at a high cost.
Wireless modules experience growing demand
There is concern over the supply of Intel’s Wi-Fi modules in Q4 as demand slows down in the PC market. Customers have dropped their Q4 forecasts, which will likely result in reduced production and limited supply of Intel’s 3165 series.
Wireless modules for the 5G and telecommunications industries are also facing pressure from demand as Qualcomm and Intel face chipset shortages and factory lockdowns. Similarly, there has been an uptick in market demand for other Wi-Fi module manufacturers, such as Thales, Gelmato and Sierra Wireless.