Doris Hsu, the chairwoman of GlobalWafers, has said she expects the price semiconductor wafers in the international markets will rise 20% in 2018 compared to 2017 prices. This is down to constrained supplies and high demand, affording several semiconductor manufacturers the opportunity to cash in.
GlobalWafers has already sold through its entire capacity of 12-inch thick wafers for the year, and that’s with its 16 fabrication plants running around the clock, 365 days a year. In an effort to meet demand, GlobalWafers will be attempting to increase production capacity. This may lead to roughly 7% more chips being manufactured.
The Korean-based GlobalWafers won’t be alone in the price rises either. As we saw a few months again, Japanese silicon wafer manufacturer SUMCO said it too expects the price to rise 20% in 2018, and the “price of silicon wafer will continue to rise in 2019.” SUMCO is the world’s largest manufacturer of silicon, accounting for around 60% of the global supply.
In an era of rapidly escalating technology prices, rising silicon costs only pours more salt on the wound. Fortunately, we won’t see the knock-on effects of this price increase immediately, and silicon costs are only a single component of hardware pricing. With any luck, the rise in manufacturing costs will be more than offset by the prices of graphics cards, system memory and flash memory returning to normal levels.
As ever, those looking at PC gaming hardware these days are advised to take the wait and see approach in regards to pricing.