Earlier this month Intel Corp. said that its 32nm fabrication process was the fastest ramping manufacturing technology throughout the history of the company. However, the demand for mobile processors with integrated graphics engines seems to be so strong that even the world’s largest chipmaker cannot satisfy it.
Converge, a distributor of various electronics components from the U.S., said that the tight supply of mobile Intel Core i5/i3 microprocessors first occurred in March and in April the situation got even worse. In particular, Intel Core i5-430M, i3-330M and i3-350M were affected. These processors are currently not available to all OEMs, with Intel supplying first to first tier OEMs along with some smaller gaming machine producers. This meant that the shortage was not market wide, with only the very large or niche players affected.
“Throughout March we were tracking sporadic large demand on these parts while supply was severely restricted. It is unusual to find a device shortage that cannot be solved in the open market, but in March the off-road-map Arrandale was in short supply and demanding a 20% premium above its contract price. This shortage looks to continue through April. However, many manufacturers remain unaffected as they continue to utilize the Intel Montevina processor family, where supply remains healthy,” Converge said in its recent market update.
While the mobile market buzzed with activity, the desktop market was quiet by contrast. The retail box market offered cost savings on a range of Core i-series in Europe, and this lessened the demand for its tray equivalents. The Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 enjoyed an extended lease on life as the processor remained a high runner, but demand is expected to tail off in favor of newer models.
“We believe the Arrandale shortage must ease soon or it will have a prolonged effect as the entire manufacturer base may “swap-out” to the newer models,” Converge indicated.
Intel itself is also sure that as the volumes of the new 32nm processors manufacturer get higher in the coming weeks, the shortages will cease to exist.