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Intel’s CPU shortage might come to an end in the first few months of 2019

Intel’s recent bout of supply constraints may be on track to let up in the first few months of 2019

Intel manufacturing floor

The short supply of Intel desktop processors should let up in the first few months of 2019, according to industry insiders. Intel’s been wrestling with capacity for 14nm production, in the public eye at least, since earlier this year, with chipsets and component CPUs some of the first products reportedly getting chopped to make space. However, that may all be set to change in Q1, 2019.

Industry sources are expecting Intel’s supply woes to ease up early next year, with Taiwan-based IC manufacturers looking forward to fresh orders from PC and laptop clients come February as a result. That’s not all the good news for Taiwanese manufacturers either. The sources also believe the US-China trade war will “subside gradually” as next year unfolds. Great news for IC companies that bridge both China and the US if that does prove true… but ew’ve got to say that’s an astronomically big if.

But seemingly unrelated to the whims of the two global economic powerhouses, Intel’s supply chain issues could finally be coming to an end. The company has already outlined a $1bn increase in capital expenditure to combat some of the issues, which should be making an impact relatively soon, if not already, and Intel has stated it has been swapping some future 10nm fab space back to 14nm to play catch up.

If Intel sticks to its word, 2019 will be the last year that 14nm retains the prime spot for its CPU manufacturing. It has been insistent that 10nm will be shipping in FPGAs and client chips by the holiday season next year. Although that still leaves a year, and twelve month’s worth of 14nm processors, to ship out before that day arrives.

Intel 8th Gen wafer

Until the supply issues ease up, Intel is reportedly cutting two million shipments of CPUs to the DIY market for Q4. Instead, it will be focusing on the mobile and server markets – the latter in which it faces increasing competition from AMD’s EPYC server chips.

It’s not just Intel and IC companies hoping for a good start to 2019, either. This year has seen disappointing third quarters for major graphics card manufacturers and motherboard partners. Q4 isn’t expected to be particularly uplifting either, and it’s somewhat understandable that various manufacturers the globe over are hoping for a more positive outlook going into 2019.

As DigiTimes report, MOSFET and USB Type-C chip suppliers are hoping “new Intel CPUs” in the first half of 2019 will drive strong quarter profits in 2019. That’s likely to entail the remainder of the 9th Gen chips we’re yet to see following the i5 9600K, i7 9700K, and i9 9900K launches this year.

Meanwhile, despite its glaring limitations, Intel has shown strong quarterly profits for the year, although faces turbulent times ahead thanks to efforts by rivals AMD. The red team is expected to start shipping its AMD Zen 2 processors sometime in the first half of 2019. These chips will be built upon TSMC’s 7nm node. From the day these chips launch, Intel will be pushed for time with development of its 10nm node.

But at least there’s some light at the end of the tunnel for Intel. It might need all the help it can get if it’s to take AMD’s best efforts head on before 10nm is ready to go.