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The Greensheet

CPUs

Intel’s Ethernet Controller and chip supply continue to worsen

Realtek’s customers are turning to Intel for chips and Ethernet Controllers due to various raw material constraints. However, this is only a quick fix due to the supply constraints Intel is now facing as a result. It is expected to persist through Q2 2021.

Therefore, we urge networking and IPC embedded customers to purchase what they can on the open market before limited supply causes further price increases.

AMD is reallocating its EPYC Rome Server CPU production

Previously, demand for AMD’s EPYC Rome server CPUs was relatively higher in Asia compared to the U.S., but that has changed as its CPUs gain more market share. This is caused by the ongoing tariff tax in the U.S., compelling AMD to pull COO non-China parts out from Asia and into the U.S.

As a result, customers may see decommitments or extended lead time deliveries from AMD. This, in addition to limited substrate, limited TSMC capacity and the introduction of AMD’s EPYC Milan series, will prevent the supply of Rome server CPUs from recovering.

Intel’s Comet Lake mobile CPUs dwindling

Distributors have shared that Intel’s supply of Comet Lake mobile CPUs will be gradually reduced until Q2 2021, resulting in a price surge. Additionally, there is a limited supply of Ice Lake mobile CPUs as Intel pushes customers to adopt its new Tiger Lake mobile CPUs.

Therefore, we encourage customer to look for buffer stock while the Comet Lake mobile CPUs are still relatively available in the open market. Moving forward, there will be a shortage of Intel’s Comet Lake, so customers using these CPUs to fill production gaps will see a premium in Q2 2021.

Intel’s desktop CPU constraints to last through Q2 2021

Intel is experiencing desktop shortages because of the company’s shift in production from desktops to other products, a lack of substrate and Chinese customers aggressively pulling in desktop CPUs. As such, distributors are reporting that they have not received product from Intel and stated that their only supply was carried over from Q4 2020.

The lack of open market availability and Intel’s growing lead times indicate that these supply constraints are expected to last throughout Q2 2021. These would include entry G series CPUs, followed by the i3-10100, i5-10400, i5-10400 and i7-10700. It’s recommended customers to take advantage of open market availability now before supply soon becomes limited, and prices increase.

ICs

Texas winter storm delays NXP production

Various wafer fabs were damaged by the Texas winter storm in mid-February, including the shutdown of two NXP production facilities. Despite resuming operations at both facilities on March 11, the delay in production is snowballing and affecting lead times.

Due to these shutdowns, as well as rising automotive demand, the chip shortage is not expected to recover anytime soon. Distributors are at a loss as deliveries have been unreliable in meeting orders placed. Because of this, we will not see improved lead times for the foreseeable future.

Infineon has yet to resume operations

Infineon Technologies was as also affected by the Texas storm and has yet to resume its operations. This has put even more strain on the supply of its Cypress NOR flash memory chips and MCUs.

Many major manufacturers are not seeing any improvement, which is causing chaos in the market. This has been exemplified by customers pulling in allocation and double-booking parts to ensure they get sufficient supply.

Littelfuse is behind in meeting demand

As of Q3 2020, Littelfuse’s lead times have extended due to heavy demand for electronic components globally. The delivery lead times for circuit protection products and power component devices have increased significantly. Among them, the delivery schedule for TVS arrays and diodes has been observed to be at least half a year.

Based on Littelfuse’s quarterly booking report, bookings from South East Asia, Japan, Korea and Taiwan (excluding IXYS) have already been covered until the end of Q3 2021. To prevent disruptions, Chinese distributors are urged to ramp up their bookings until Q3 2021.

Renesas wafer production impacted by factory fire

On March 19, Renesas shut down its Naka factory in Japan due to a fire. Despite the fire being contained to the factory’s first floor, it is uncertain whether operations will resume as predicted by the company. Recently, the fire was reported to be more extensive than originally thought — Renesas initially stated 11 machines, including plating machines used for wiring, were damaged, but it is now believed to be 17.

Approximately two-thirds of wafers produced at this location is used in automobile production. Among these products are Renesas MCUs R5F, DS7, R5S and R7S7 for automotive and non-automotive applications, as well as power management and MOSFETS.

In order to combat the issue, Renesas is looking to shift a portion of the lost production to other plants, as well as securing alternative equipment. It is unknown whether this can be accomplished.

ON Semiconductor is experiencing severe shortages

ON Semiconductor is currently facing severe shortages, and prices have increased by approximately 30% as a result. Current lead times are roughly 28 weeks and could go up to 40 weeks. Affected automotive series include: NCV3, NCV6, NCV6, NCV7 and NCV8XXX.

ST Microelectronics’s lead times are intensifying

Standard lead times for ST Microelectronics’s accelerometer series LIS and LPS have increased to 30-40 weeks, mostly due to wafer shortages and growing automotive demand.

Competitors of ST Micro are facing increased lead times with deliveries stretching into 2022. The wafer shortage affecting the production of various products, shortages could potentially worsen in the near future.

Additionally, distributors have stopped accepting some of the forecasted orders due to these shortages. One such example includes orders for certain LIS2MDL and LIS3MDL sensor products.

MLCC pricing to increase in April

As reported in January, there is a tight supply of high-capacitance MLCCs due to high demand from the PC, laptop and automotive markets. This is especially true of 5G mobile phones with demand having sharply risen after the Chinese New Year. Furthermore, the shipment of 5G mobile products is expected to escalate from 200 million to 500 million this year.

Yageo has already stated that pricing for MLCCs and chip resistors will increase in Q2 2021. The affected series include case sizes 0201 and 0402.

Samsung, on the other hand, has already raised the price of over 30 MLCC lines by 20-30%. Many distributors have shared that Samsung’s MLCCs are showing lead time stretches of 3 ½ months, with additional shortages still looming.

It is speculated that MLCC pricing across the board may increase further in April.

Murata will evaluate customers before taking new orders

Murata is placing stricter controls when taking new orders and will evaluate customer demand, backlog and forecast before accepting any new orders. The company is allocating stock based on customer requests and is not allowing special pricing support, therefore standardizing the price among all distributors.

Lead times for Murata’s MLCCs, inductors and SAW filters have increased. Lead times for its MLCCs, specifically, has increased to 16+ weeks. The GCM and GJM series MLCCs are becoming less available in the market as automotive demand surges. There is also a price increase of 10-30% on certain high capacitances.

MEMORY

Memory prices to rise

Prices have increased for memory modules of all capacities due to poor supply. Though market transactions are currently at a 5-10% premium above official prices, demand is expected to grow in Q2 2021. Vendors have also shared that these supply issues will worsen in the coming quarter, resulting in more customers going to the open market to buy buffer stock.

Some industry insiders are also forecasting higher notebook sales in Q2 2021 due to the U.S. passing a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, which will stimulate demand for consumer electronics overall. Thus, demand for memory modules will continue to rise and prices will continue to escalate.

Memory DRAM and NOR flash demand cannot be met

As mentioned in February, DRAM and NOR flash prices continue to surge due to an abundance of demand in multiple segments. Supply for these products is thought to be further impacted by Samsung’s fab shutdowns in Texas and the 8” wafer shortage. Supply will not recover quickly.

Demand for DRAM continues to intensify from the growing global adoption of 5G, contactless payments and cloud computing. The recently passed U.S. COVID relief bill will likely cause notebook sales to rise and will benefit consumer electronics as a whole. Consequently, DRAM demand and pricing will continue to rise. Moreover, customers are likely to overbook DRAM products to create buffer stock, further exacerbating the shortage.

In other news, Hynix has officially announced its end-of-life plans for its 2GB DDR3, leaving customers to turn to other manufacturers, such as Samsung and Winbond. However, both of these companies have been so overwhelmed by demand that they have stopped taking new orders for the time being. Because of this, they are not expecting existing orders to be delivered until Q3 and Q4 respectively.

With no other options, users are being forced to convert over to 4GB to enhance options and prevent production disruption.

STORAGE


Samsung to reduce SSD production

Samsung’s SSD supply has been severely affected by the shutdown of its Texas fabrication plant, which produces IC controller chips critical to the production of SSDs. For that reason, the production of certain Samsung SSDs could be reduced in May by as much as 30%.

In anticipation of this upcoming shortage, many customers have been looking to the open market to buffer stock. The sudden spike in demand has already bumped pricing up by at least 10% across all capacities, and will continue to increase.

This is expected to affect pricing for other brands as well. Prices for Intel and Micron products have also increased and are forecasted to see another bump in April. In addition, Intel distributors are reporting that the company will be shifting its focus from small capacities to larger capacities due to material shortages.

Filecoin mining puts a strain on HDD supply

Filecoin has been gaining popularity around the globe. This decentralized block-chain based digital storage system is seeing very strong activity in China, and the platform has gained more than 2.5B gigabytes of storage capacity within 6 months of its official launch. Many Chinese miners and investors are hopeful that Filecoin will become the next Bitcoin – a market leader in the file storage crypto market.

This has in turn resulted in increased demand for large-capacity HDDs as more cryptominers join the platform. Vendors are starting to report stretched lead times for high-capacity HDDs, many linking it back to cryptocurrency and storage mining.

GPUs

GPUs being consumed by cryptomining activity

GPU distributors shared that Nvidia AICs (“add-in card” partners) have not been getting RTX 3060 Ti chipset supply in the past 2 months due to cryptomining activity. To combat this, the company launched its CMP (Cryptocurrency Mining Processor) cards to target cryptocurrency miners and separate this demand from their general-purpose graphic cards.

This comes after the release of Nvidia’s new model, the RTX 3060 12GB, which was intentionally programed to reduce Ethereum mining efficiency by 50% as a tactic to discourage miners. However, with the high valuations of cryptocurrencies, miners are bypassing the software and reportedly using the general-purpose graphic cards.

Nvidia may attempt a similar strategy with the RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3070 Ti to prevent cryptominers from purchasing these products, which are expected to launch sometime in April or May. If they are unable to find a solution, miners will continue to outbid gamers and other end-users for general purpose GPUs while still having a supply of CMP GPUs.

Nvidia’s two new models A4000 and A5000 are expected to replace its existing Quadro RTX 4000 and RTX 5000 GPUs. As the older models get phased out, it is anticipated that there will be yet another jump in inquiries to get the last available stock from the open market.

FINISHED PRODUCTS

Customers are not receiving full orders of LCDs

Due to strong demand for LCDs and the raw material shortages, panel sizes, 14”, 15.6” and 17.3”, have increased in price by 5-10% following the Lunar New Year. Lead times have increased 1-2 weeks and most customers are not receiving full quantities. Some customers are receiving as little as 50% of what they had ordered.

Wi-Fi cards unable to recover

Since February, Wi-Fi card supply has remained tight, especially on Intel’s AX200 and AX201 models. Vendors have been able to provide much of these products as they still need to fulfill existing contracts. However, supply is not expected to recover in the near future, and prices have increased significantly. For example, AX200 pricing has worsened by 20% since February.

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