Jul 7, 2021 2:22:00 PM




Intel’s Cascade Lake and Cascade Lake Refresh demand rises

Soon, we foresee the supply of Cascade Lake and Cascade Lake Refresh being under constraint as Intel transitions to Ice Lake. We are also seeing a recent uptick in demand for server CPUs and have noticed a growing number of customers going to the open market for offers.

We speculate this is because Intel may not be meeting customer delivery times, hence, we urge customers to take advantage of any cost-saving opportunities for Cascade Lake and Cascade Lake Refresh Xeon now.

The supply of Gold 6xxxR series, in particular, is becoming limited, which will result in a surge of up to 5% in open market pricing over the next month. Suppliers are forecasting less than normal supply due to stagnant server demand.

Code Name

Lithography Cores / Threads TDP Compatible Chipset Series Socket Type Memory Specifications PCI Express Type Launch Year

Comet Lake

(10th Gen)

14nm 10/20 35-125W 400-Series LGA 1200 DDR4 PCIe Gen 3.0 2020
Rocket Lake (11th Gen) 14nm 8/16 35-125W 500-Series LGA 1200 DDR4 PCIe Gen 4.0 2021
Alder Lake (12th Gen)  10nm (ESF) 16/24 TBA 600 Series  LGA 1700 DDRS PCIe Gen 5.0 2021


Supply constraint for entry-level CPUs

When wafer and raw material shortages occur, entry-level desktop CPUs tend to be hit the hardest, leading to limited open market supply and premium pricing. This is occurring with Intel, which has yet to announce or release its new 11th Gen Rocket Lake desktop CPUs, forcing customers to keep utilizing Intel’s 10th Gen Comet Lake desktop i3 and G series CPUs, Celeron and Pentium.

Demand for entry-level desktop CPUs will remain strong; however, limited supply is expected to continue.


Customers revert to Intel’s Cascade Lake products

AMD’s EPYC Rome supply is still severely constrained in the open market. As a result, pricing has nearly doubled compared to earlier months. Furthermore, limited supply and premium pricing is expected to last for the foreseeable future.

As such, some server-build customers are already considering switching back to Intel’s Cascade Lake and Cascade Lake Refresh models.


Shortage of graphic cards hinders AMD

There is a small pocket of supply for AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series available in the open market. What’s more, the graphic card required for this CPU is extremely short and open market pricing is very high. This has driven customers to switch to Intel’s other desktop product like the 11th Gen Tiger Lake desktop CPUs.



Fabs increase spending to correct lack of supply

Amid the global chip shortage, Samsung and Hynix announced that skyrocketing DRAM demand from both the mobile and PC sectors is causing serious issues. To resolve this, Hynix will increase its investment into chip production by purchasing new wafer fabrication equipment. Originally scheduled for 2022, Hynix plans to carry out its spending plan later this year to account for increased lead times and the setup period needed for the equipment.

Many fabs, including TSMC, are responding by committing hundreds of billions of dollars into building new facilities. Although it is an expensive and lengthy process, it is a move needed to support future growth in the global economy.

In other news, manufacturers are continuing to announce extended lead times, allocations and price increments in the current market.


Infineon prepares to raise product pricing

Infineon has also begun to re-strategize planning in hopes of increasing support for its customers. Despite this, there are rumors that Infineon will raise pricing by approximately 15% for new products as lead times remain long and allocations stay tight.

Infineon’s power MOSFET and MCU lead times are currently ranging from 12-23 weeks. These lead times are predicted to impact non-tier customers the most.


ST Microelectronics prices increase across the board

Automotive chip lead times remain long with NXP and ST Microelectronics MCUs being impacted the most. We advise that customers plan their forecasts accordingly to avoid missing deliveries when needed.

What’s more, ST Micro announced price increases across all product lines starting June 2021. To no one’s surprise, ST Microelectronics has been severely affected by the rising cost of raw materials, resulting in price spikes for its own products.


Sony and ON Semiconductor CMOS sensors extremely tight

Currently, Black and White CMOS from Sony and ON Semi are extremely tight in the market, and it’s almost impossible to find any availability from manufacturers or distributors. Part numbers IMX287LLR-C and IMX273LLR-C are the hottest and hardest to get.

Some relief can be seen in the market for Color Square Pixel CMOS as manufacturers have more availability. It has been noted that customers are looking to replace their black and white CMOS projects with the Color Pixel.

Overall, On Semi has been unable to produce enough CMOS sensors for its end-customers, causing a surge of customers to transition to Sony’s CMOS sensors instead.


TSMC invests in new production facilities and plant expansion

To offer more support to its customers, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has announced its plan to spend $100 billion over a three-year period. These plans include new production facilities in Arizona, USA and an expansion of its Nanjing plant to increase the production of 28 nanometer chips for automakers.

Additionally, TSMC reported that smartphones accounted for 45% of its first quarter revenue, high performance computing made up 35%, IoT accounted for 9% and automotive only accounted for 4% but was up compared to previous quarters.




Memory pricing to rise in Q3

Demand for memory remains flat due to customers having enough buffer stock for the time being. However, customers are conscientious of the risks associated with holding onto many parts because of the possibility that the buffer stock may lose its value due to the ongoing shortages with other components (e.g., HDDs, SSDs).

Memory manufacturers may continue to push official prices higher due to expected supply constraints in Q3. Overall, May’s official pricing rose by 3-5% across all capacities for server DIMMs. The effects of wavering COVID-19 measures continue to affect the memory supply chain as people continue to work from home, driving demand for data center-related industries.




HDD and SSD supply hit by cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrencies, most notably Chia Coin, continue to drive unprecedented demand for storage devices used in mining. This has crippled SSD and HDD supply from major manufacturers (e.g., Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba) and has driven prices up by at least 200%. Because of heightened forecasted demand, official lead times for HDDs have stretched to 13-16 weeks.
Western Digital, for example, is focusing production on higher-capacity drives and industrial products, which are typically more profitable than commercial products. Thus, availability and pricing for lower capacity HDDs – 4TB, 6TB and 8TB – are now being impacted as well.


Lower capacity SSDs remain short

SSD supply remains limited, and demand continues to be strong primarily for lower capacities up to 1.92TB. Furthermore, IC controller constraints continue to cause a bottleneck in SSD production, and vendors shared that it is likely to continue for at least another quarter.

Demand in the Chinese market remains strong due to increased cryptomining activities. Notably, numerous vendors are voicing concerns about the durability of storage drives when used for cryptocurrency mining due to high read and write rates.


Nvidia prioritizes PC and Workstation Builders

Demand for Nvidia’s RTX 3000 series GPUs continues to outpace supply. Although Nvidia intends for these graphics cards to be made for gamers, supply has been primarily going to PC and workstation builders. This has left many gaming builders out in the cold, forcing them to buy pre-built PCs that contains a 3000 series card as an alternative to paying highly inflated prices or waiting for future support with no ETA.

To further direct the supply to the intended end users, Nvidia has been working on methods to make its graphics cards unusable to cryptominers. The company’s last attempt in February failed when cryptominers devised a way to bypass the hash rate limiter that was introduced.

Nvidia is now launching a new "light hash-rate" model that is expected to begin shipping in early June and will pose additional obstacles for cryptominers. This new feature, coupled with the recent tumble in Bitcoin pricing, could improve supply and demand issues over the coming months, assuming miners do not find another work around for the newer models.

In other news, supply of Nvidia’s Quadro series is also tight. Lead times for the RTX4000, RTX5000 and RTX6000 have stretched to 8-10 weeks. What’s more, some vendors are not seeing expected ship dates from manufacturers.

Authorized distributors shared that overall pricing increased once again in May due to the rising cost of memory, which is essential to GPUs. The new prices are applicable to new allocations and shipments from May onward. Customers are required to accept the increased prices or cancel their orders.


Customers wait for AMD supply

Supply for AMD’s GPUs remains paper thin. An AIB (Add-In-Board) partner shared that they have no GPU stock left on hand and production has been stopped since late May while it waits for AMD’s supply. It is expected that the supply of GPUs in Q3 will be even lower than it has been for the first half of 2021. The shortage is likely to last into 2022. AMD’s RX5700 and RX6800, in particular, are constrained.




Chia Coin mining drives controller prices

The availability of RAID controller/card stock is tightening, and pricing is increasing in tandem with Chia Coin’s rise. RAID controller/cards, specifically, are critical to Chia Coin plotting and farming. The same is occurring with Intel’s network cards, resulting in price adjustments starting in June due to high demand and increasing costs.

Low-end models like Intel’s I210 and I350T2 will see larger price increments than the higher end models. Existing special pricing support for authorized distributors will be invalidated because of high production cost and vendors will need to re-apply for Intel’s approval. Existing backlogs are also subject to new increased prices.

AMD releases its own Wi-Fi module

There is still a major shortage of Wi-Fi modules, especially for Intel’s AX200 series. One possible reason could be the shift in Intel’s production capacity toward its AX201 and AX210 series. Although there is no official EOL announcement for the AX200 model, it is hardly getting produced and Intel is giving it very little attention.

Vendors shared that Intel has recently been getting its channel partners and distributors to buy these products back from the open market as it is required to be paired with Intel’s mobile CPUs for some of its tier 1 customers.

The AX200 shortage is also expected to worsen. AMD appears to have found its own solution to the Wi-Fi module shortage by debuting a Wi-Fi module of its own, partnering with AYANEO - AMD RZ608 (which is a rebranded version of Mediatek MT7921K).


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