Good news for AMD: Intel’s CPU shortages could last well into 2020

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It looks like Intel’s CPU shortages, which began back in 2018, could continue well into 2020, and if true, that could help its rival, AMD, further increase its processor market share.

Nearly 14 months after Intel’s struggles to produce enough 14nm processors began, rumors are flying that the shortages will last at least one or two more quarters, taking us well into 2020.

The rumors have emerged from the Canalys Channels Forum event in Barcelona, Spain, where, as the Register reports, several partners of Intel have commented on the shortages.

For example, Alex Cho, president of HP's personal systems business, said about Intel’s supply issues and the impact it’s had on HP’s business, that “it's been a hard year, it makes life more complex and expect it to continue for another quarter or two."

Ominously, Cho also hinted that Intel’s supply issues were did not affects “just specific CPUs", but a range of products.

Gianfranco Lanci, chief operating officer at Lenovo, was also at the event, and reportedly said that Intel’s chip constraints were a “concern” that had limited the potential growth of the PC market this year.

According to Lanci, Lenovo has been told by Intel that supply would improve quarter-on-quarter, but that has yet to happen. He also suggested that the supply issues could be because of either production issues, or a "problem with the architecture of the CPU. If this is the problem, it is unpredictable."

Why the shortage?

AMD, which is suffering from no such shortages, has been on a roll recently, and now has the biggest slice of CPU market share in over a decade. If Intel continues to struggle to produce processors well into next year, then more people could start switching to AMD.

Supply chain sources have told the Register that with Intel moving from the 10nm to 7nm process for creating new CPUs, it means there are less resources for making the 14nm CPUs – which are the ones experiencing the supply issues.

Apparently, Intel is also prioritising supply for high-end Xeon chips for businesses – further compounding the supply issues for the more affordable 14nm processors.

While this is frustrating for customers and system manufacturers that are having trouble sourcing Intel’s 14nm chips, it could also mean that Intel continues to lose market share to AMD.

We've contacted Intel for comment, and will update this story when we hear back.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.