As CPU and GPU shortages continue to persist into the new year, multiple factors are being blamed for the lack of microprocessor supply. At the moment, both NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series, as well as AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 GPUs, are either unavailable or priced at 2-3x the MSRP. Although the supply for the Ryzen 5000 CPUs has somewhat improved, it’s still far from sufficient. The crypto-mining boom is only going to make things worse. A few hours back the crypto market broke the $1000 billion dollar mark which is 30% higher than the last time when it collapsed after hitting $700 billion.
We have already reported on the ABF substrate shortage that is expected to affect the supply of nearly every microprocessor from consoles to top-end GPUs this year. For NVIDIA, this is the primary limiting factor as Samsung’s 8nm yields have significantly improved over the last few months. AMD’s situation, on the other hand, is much worse. For starters, GDDR6 memory which is being used to just about every modern GPU is in short supply, and as such the company has to compete with NVIDIA and other rivals in the industry.
The other core issue is with respect to TSMC’s 7nm capacity. While NVIDIA is Samsung’s sole 8nm customer, TSMC serves pretty much every chipmaker from Apple, Qualcomm, Mediatek, and even NVIDIA for its Data Center products. This means that AMD already competes for its share of 7nm capacity which is used for pretty much every contemporary CPU and GPU lineup the company offers.
The worst part is that Sony and MS have reserved roughly 75-80% of AMD’s 7nm capacity for the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles, leaving only around 20% for both the Ryzen 5000 desktop and mobile processors as well as the Radeon RX 6000 GPUs. Considering the profit margins, it’s likely that AMD will focus on the former and as a result, the supply for the latter will continue to suffer for at least the first half of 2021. As you can expect, the mining boom will most likely drive miners towards NVIDIA’s GPUs instead, making the situation worse for gamers. Overall, it looks like 2021 isn’t going to be any better than 2020.