The global microchip supply shortage will likely end in the second half of 2022, AMD’s CEO Lisa Su told CNBC.
The chip shortage has affected almost all electronics, from cars to games consoles and graphics cards. When the pandemic began car companies drastically scaled back chip orders expecting a drop in demand and many factories had to temporarily close to control the spread of the virus. Demand for cars rebounded rapidly while remote working and lockdowns drove demand for PCs and consoles to record levels.
“The pandemic has just taken demand to a new level,” Su said. “We’ve always gone through cycles of ups and downs, where demand has exceeded supply, or vice versa. This time, it’s different.”
Fabrication plants (fabs) in Taiwan and China are expanding capacity as quickly as possible. But as process nodes continue to get smaller and manufacturing techniques get more advanced, the cost & time needed to scale up production keeps rising.
AMD launched its latest generation PC graphics cards back in October 2020 but availability has remained severely limited. Competitor NVIDIA warned in April it expected shortages to last “much of this year”. It’s been a bad year for Oculus Quest owners looking to get into PC VR, or existing PC gamers looking to upgrade their rig for the latest titles like Microsoft Flight Simulator.
AMD supplies the chip for Valve’s Steam Deck portable console. When asked last month by The Verge whether the chip could be used in a standalone VR headset, product designer Greg Coomer replied it “would run well in that environment” and teased “it’s very relevant to us and our future plans”. However, Steam Deck is already backordered to the second half of 2022 – suggesting a Valve standalone headset probably won’t launch any time soon.
Have you been able to purchase a new graphics card this year? Let us know in the comments.