A fresh rumor on the chip production grapevine casts worrying doubts on future supply levels of AMD’s 7nm processors and graphics cards, with potential manufacturing delays on the horizon with TSMC.
This one comes from DigiTimes, a tech publication which needs to be treated with some caution, as it has something of a variable track record when it comes to the veracity of the rumors it peddles (although the site certainly gets things right some of the time, and has a lot of ears to the ground in the component supply chain).
At any rate, DigiTimes claims that clients of TSMC – the big chipmaker AMD uses for its 7nm products – have reportedly been clamoring to secure 7nm production capacity, because TSMC is set to struggle with demand (particularly driven by the smartphone sector).
Indeed, the article cites unnamed industry sources as having revealed that TSMC has significantly extended the production lead time on 7nm from two months to almost six months. And obviously a tripling of the lead time period should raise more than a few eyebrows – if this is true, of course.
Now, before everyone starts running to the hills with their arms flailing around in panic that AMD might be coming up short when it comes to making Navi graphics cards or Ryzen 3000 processors (the latter having already seen struggles in terms of fulfilling demand for some CPUs), nothing is going to change anytime soon.
AMD is a big client of TSMC, and so doubtless has secured contracts to ensure that its nearer-term supply – likely for some considerable time – is all tied up safely.
However, the concern here is that further out, AMD’s future 7nm launches might start to suffer more, although TSMC is apparently in the process of setting aside more budget for expanding capacity in terms of its 7nm manufacturing (as you would hope).
If that doesn’t happen quickly enough, though, there’s a potential wobbly situation where AMD might want to launch new Navi graphics cards – budget offerings and an Nvidia killer GPU are in the cards, after all – but may have to delay these somewhat. And the same could be true of the much awaited Ryzen Threadripper 3rd-gen processors, which we’re hoping to see launched before 2019 is out.
There’s no point worrying too much, as all this is just speculation, of course, but still, these rumblings from the rumor mill do sound a little ominous, particularly in light of the fact that as mentioned, we’ve already seen AMD struggle with supplying some Ryzen 3000 processors (like the mighty 3900X for example).