A little sentence has snuck its way into an IT market report, one that was supposed to sound encouraging, but which actually confirms long-held fears regarding the availability of GPUs.
It is just the luck of the IT industry that the 28nm manufacturing process has been overworked ever since it first went into use.
Sure, Intel and AMD may have their own processors, none of which is built on the 28nm node. The companies also have their own suppliers (Intel makes its own chips and AMD has Globalfoundries). NVIDIA
and Advanced Micro Devices
, however, are both milking the 28nm node for all its worth. At least, that is what we would say if such a thing was, in fact, happening. The truth is that both companies have to settle for second spot when it comes to TSMC allocating production capacity. Qualcomm
, it seems, has been hogging most of the Taiwanese foundry's supply, along with the 28nm chips from Samsung and UMC.
This is why NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards are more expensive than they would otherwise be and in lower than ideal stock levels.
NVIDIA supposedly became a TSMC priority
, back in May, but that privilege has either been taken away or never actually got acted upon in the first place.
Now, according to Digitimes
, TSMC's 28nm process is expected to be “close to market demand” in the fourth quarter of 2012.
In other words, even after this year ends and another begins, TSMC still won't have enough chips to go around. At least everything is going much better than it did with the 40nm node.
We can't say for sure how visible the impact on the graphics market will be, to consumer eyes. Maybe it is already here, in the shape of canceled boards. ASUS Ares
comes to mind, although, true enough, the alleged motives don't seem to have anything to do with all this (price, cooling headaches and other design difficulties were blamed).