As the world faces a global chip shortage, almost every manufacturer that deals with electronic systems has been affected. Semiconductor manufacturers like TSMC have seen major supply issues due to component shortages which has affected many companies including Nvidia and AMD, but Intel’s supply of Rocket Lake CPUs have been pretty steady so far, and have mostly been pretty affordable at MSRP where other companies have seen price increases due to the situation.

Both Nvidia and AMD have been facing supply issues since the launch of their graphics cards like the RTX 30 series and RX 6000 series (as well as the Ryzen 5000 processors from AMD). But Intel has their own foundry to produce chips which has been pretty good for them so far. 

However, a new report from Intel suggests they are now facing the same issues from component shortages, and price increases are now likely for the recently released Rocket Lake CPUs in Q2 2021 as well as problems with supply.

Apparently Intel has been reporting shortages for substrates to their key partners last week. Their allocations for Q1 have been pretty strong so far, with Rocket Lake CPUs being available and at MSRP in the following weeks since launch. But Q2 allocations for Rocket Lake aren’t looking good as Intel faces the substrate shortages.

Since Core i9 CPUs are prioritized, the processors most affected by this situation will be the Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs.

Since Intel is in a better position than TSMC, as the latter is not only facing component shortages as well but also at full capacity (which should hopefully get better in the following years as they plan a 3 year expansion plan to their foundries), Q1 allocation is still pretty good as distributors and retail will continue to have a decent inventory for the next month or so.

But for Q2, Intel will most likely not be able to meet the entire volume needed. Since any chip a company can sell at the moment sells out fast, Intel will likely focus on their higher margin (the Core i9 CPUs) first and foremost, resulting in price increases for the rest of the 11th Gen CPU stack (Core i7 and Core i5).

The unprecedented global demand for semiconductor components and substrates is a challenge for many industries, including ours,” a spokesperson for Intel said in a statement to the press. 

We are actively working with our supply chain partners to increase the availability of third-party materials and components to further improve output for our processors and also support the broader PC ecosystem. We remain focused on supporting our customers and we will continue working to increase supply to meet our customers’ needs.

The unfortunate situation is that wafer manufacturers - which supply the components needed to manufacturers like Intel - are also at full capacity and so only a limited amount of components can be sent to foundries, and so there is not much that companies like Intel can do to help the situation. It’s essentially a bottleneck of a bottleneck.

When asked whether other Intel products would be affected by the situation, Intel responded that they are only talking about Rocket Lake right now, so it’s unclear what else will be affected. But it’s likely that Intel is focusing their substrates on production for upcoming parts like their Ice Lake processors for laptops and servers, which is a much bigger market for Intel than desktop CPUs.

So if you were thinking of getting a new 11th Gen Rocket Lake CPU any time soon, then now is the best time to do so before we see a sharp decline in supply and an increase in prices.

What do you think? Are you thinking of getting a Rocket Lake processor? Which one were you thinking of getting? Let us know!

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