Never mind GPUs, cheap laptops like Chromebooks might be in very short supply soon

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There’s some worrying news on the grapevine when it comes to laptop shipments, with a report claiming that many notebook manufacturers are going to fall well short in terms of supplying portables to would-be buyers, given the current high demand for PCs in general, combined with well-documented chip shortages.

The report from DigiTimes – a prolific source of hardware rumors, although not always the most reliable – claims that we could witness laptop makers fall short of orders by 30% to 50% in terms of the number of notebooks actually shipped in the second quarter (which we are, of course, now in).

This could particularly affect more wallet-friendly notebooks, such as basic Chromebooks which DigiTimes highlights as a particular problem area, because as ever when manufacturers are faced with prioritizing different models, they’ll generally lean towards higher-end hardware because it commands a much bigger profit margin.

So, the outlook for this current quarter (which runs up to and including June) is not good, and it’s somewhat bleak for the rest of the year, for that matter.

Ongoing problem

As Tom’s Hardware, which spotted this, observes, Taiwanese PC manufacturers are anticipating that supply problems will continue throughout the second half of 2021, with chip shortages continuing to be a thorn in their side.

This marries up with what we’ve been hearing elsewhere in terms of general gloom and doom around component shortages and manufacturing issues for all manner of tech going forward, including most recently broadband routers, with even the likes of MacBook production reportedly experiencing hiccups, too. If a behemoth like Apple is reportedly having inventory and supply issues, it’s clear enough that this is affecting everyone…

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).