Intel: We have plenty of silicon but bottlenecks in substrates, WiFi, and panels

Posted on Wednesday, May 05 2021 @ 10:26 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
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Over the past half-year, a lot has been written about semiconductor shortages. On one hand, there's a shortage of semiconductor foundry capacity, and on the other hand, there's been a massive and unexpected uptick in consumer demand. But the story gets more complex as semiconductor foundry capacity is far from the only thing that's a bottleneck right now.

Plenty of silicon... but not enough substrates, WiFi components, and displays

At the firm's Partner Connect 2021 event, Intel Chief Revenue Officer Michelle Johnston Holthaus shed some light on the issues the company is seeing right now within the supply chain. According to Holthaus, Intel has plenty of silicon dies ready to be packaged. But the company is not immune to substrate shortages. These are sourced from third parties and put a limit on the number of chips Intel can bring to the marketplace.

AnandTech offers a transcript and some commentary over here. Holthaus points out PC unit volume has increased 33 to 50 percent over the past two years. His commentary hints that Intel has no problem with getting enough processor chips manufactured, a lot of chips are apparently waiting to be packaged due to substrate capacity limits. Furthermore, down the line, Intel's partners have additional difficulty as shortages of WiFi components and display panels put a cap on the number of PCs that can be manufactured.
The good news is that with our investments at Intel and our increases in capacity, we can build the die to be able to supply well over market demand.

But what we’re now seeing is that there are new industry and ecosystem challenges where the rest of the component ecosystem can’t keep up. Whether it’s Wi-Fi components, substrates, panels, those are now kind of the bottleneck to the next level of explosive growth. So you might be able to find a CPU, but you may not be able to find a panel, or a battery, or some other component to actually be able to finish that kit.

We have plenty have silicon dies and I want everyone to know that those investments are absolutely paying off, and now we have got to go work on all the ecosystem pieces. -- Intel Chief Revenue Officer Michelle Johnston Holthaus

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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