AMD graphics chip shortage hitting PC vendors

Offshore TSMC foundry slow to ramp up production of AMD's new 40-nanometer GPUs

An offshore Advanced Micro Devices Inc. foundry is having trouble ramping up on production of a new 40-nanometer graphics processing unit, forcing PC makers to delay shipments of desktop and laptop computers, AMD confirmed today.

The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. (TSMC) is struggling to get up to speed manufacturing AMD's 5800 series, 40-nm GPUs (graphics processing units), according to Jim McGregor, an analyst at In-Stat. He added that the foundry is in full production but so far yields are below expectation.

Matt Davis, a spokesman for AMD, confirmed to Computerworld that TSMC is having issues in ramping up production of the chips. He added that it's not clear how far behind the foundry is on production expectations.

"The design is sound. It's just a matter of trying to get TSMC to a point where they can yield. They're feeling the manufacturing crunch," said Davis. "We're a little bitter under yield but we're working back into a manufacturing schedule we want for these parts. TSMC can only kick them out so fast at this point."

Davis said that PC vendors are being affected but declined to say how many vendors are feeling the pinch or which ones. "It's the end of the whip," he added. "[The vendors] are going to have a hard time."

Davis also said AMD is working with TSMC on the issue and hopes to have production up to speed by year's end.

"They haven't been producing these chips for long, so you'd expect some ramp issues," said McGregor. "AMD is being affected because these are great parts and they're getting a lot of demand. They're getting a huge swing on this. When you have more demand for a product than expected and lower yields than expected, you get the perfect storm."

McGregor said AMD has a little time to get manufacturing in line before PC vendors start looking for greener pastures and turn to a graphics chip from rival Nvidia .

"It's not something you can move away from overnight," said McGregor. "They're set up for that GPU. They could switch over to Nvidia but it would take some effort. They could switch. It will all depend on how bad the shortage gets."

Dan Olds, principal analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group, said that if projections of slow tech sales, especially of high-end products, hold true, AMD should survive the production slowdown rather well. If the economy was strong, and buyers were clamoring for desktops and laptops, a production slowdown would significantly hurt the struggling AMD .

"If the problem goes on long enough, or gets worse, it may prompt system vendors to reexamine their decision or hedge with products using other suppliers," said Olds, who added that he expects AMD to rectify the problem soon. "It's not unusual to see low yields when a chip is shrunk to a smaller process. But most of these problems are ironed out well before the product is introduced into the market, which ensures that there will be enough supply to handle demand. I would expect to see yields rise over time as the glitches get fixed, but that doesn't do AMD much good right now."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags AMDgraphics cardschip shortage

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?