Intel and AMD say they can cope with CPU demand in coronavirus chaos

(Image credit: Future)

Intel and AMD have both moved to reassure those who might be looking to buy CPUs – consumers and businesses alike – that supply won’t run dry due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Disruption caused by coronavirus has become daily news, of course, and there have been plenty of stories in the tech world of how this might affect supply chains going forward; but seemingly Intel and AMD won’t have a problem.

As Tom’s Hardware reports, Intel – a firm that might be a particular worry for some, given their issues with producing enough supply of processors in recent times, pre-coronavirus – is maintaining a greater than 90% on-time delivery rate with its silicon.

That’s according to a letter written by CEO Bob Swan, which pointed out that Intel has a Pandemic Leadership Team (a crisis management team that was actually formed some 15 years ago), and that it has a robust global network when it comes to the supply and manufacturing chain.

Swan said: “[The Pandemic Leadership Team] includes medical and safety experts who work to safeguard the well-being of employees and minimize the spread of infection.

“They also collaborate with local governments and public health organizations to implement their recommendations. In the past, the team has successfully helped Intel manage through global health issues such as bird flu, SARS, Ebola, Zika and the H1N1 virus.”

World-class supply chain

We also heard from AMD’s chief executive, with Lisa Su penning a missive to customers saying that the chip maker is actively working to ensure continual supply, by mitigating the impact of the virus outbreak on the company’s global operations.

Su said that AMD also has a ‘world-class global supply chain’ and is ‘well-positioned’ to maintain supplies, as CRN observed. As well as Intel, AMD’s CEO also underlined the importance of ensuring the safety of its employees during the outbreak.

As droves of people isolate themselves, and switch to working from home, there has been quite a strain on the infrastructure of the internet in many countries, with an increase on the use of streaming services to boot.

As we’ve seen, Disney, Apple and Amazon recently made the same move as Netflix and YouTube did previously by reducing the video quality of their streaming offerings in Europe, to cope with huge demand.

Naturally, that also means more demand on the data centers that these – and other – companies rely on, and those data centers will likely be looking to expand the number of servers and chips at their disposal. But according to Intel and AMD, there’s still no need to panic on the supply front…

As for consumers, PC sales are expected to drop considerably in the face of coronavirus disruption, as economic shocks and job losses could make their presence felt, not to mention disruption to shipments.

Despite potential drops in demand, there’s still a worry that any further wobbles in the hardware supply chain may lead to an increase in the price of PCs (and components) for those who do want to buy (and with many folks being forced to adopt a new model of working from home, that could be a fair few people looking for new or upgraded devices).

Ultimately, we don’t have access to the crystal ball which is necessary to see how all these factors will pan out in the longer term – if coronavirus disruption continues in the same vein going forward – but hopefully Intel and AMD’s reassurances will go some way to assuaging any fears of supplies drying up and potential price hikes.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).