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Component shortages for PC and laptop markets are finally improving

The tech industry has been affected by the ongoing components shortage for nearly two years, but there’s finally some good news for the PC and notebook markets.

According to a new report from TrendForce, component material shortages for both PCs and laptops have been “partially alleviated” starting in November 2021.

Computer components have been in short supply for nearly two years.

As a result, the shipment volume of PC manufacturers for the fourth quarter of 2021 has been increased. TrendForce highlighted how the effect of undersupply/oversupply of materials on PCs and notebooks is “relatively minor” compared with mobile phones and whole servers.

Currently, the SSD PCIe 3.0 controller is still affected by supply issues, while “current tightness exhibited in component supply” is attributed to delays in the transition of Intel’s 12th-gen Alder Lake platform. This has resulted in a delivery cycle of around 8 to 12 weeks for such parts. However, bottlenecked supply chains for other parts, including USB Type-C, Wi-Fi, and power management ICs (PMICs), is “gradually” improving. General lead times from chipmakers reached an all-time high in August 2021.

As Tom’s Hardware notes, sales for the PC market are usually subjected to a considerable decrease during the first quarter of a year. However, as supply chain issues continue to show signs of improvement, TrendForce expects that notebook shipments during the first quarter of 2022 will only decrease by 5.1% quarter-over-quarter.

Elsewhere, although material shortages for the mobile phone market have gradually eased from the second half of 2021, there’s still a scarcity of supply of key components. For example, 4G systems on a chip currently have a delivery cycle of 30 to 40 weeks, while the wait time for OLED DDIC/Touch IC has reached 20 to 22 weeks, both of which are having a “significant impact on the market.”

Ultimately, TrendForce stressed that “the uneven distribution of supply chain resources that has exacerbated the shortage of parts and components has yet to be definitively alleviated.”

The chip shortage has severely affected several industries beyond the PC market, including vehicles, gaming consoles, and other products that require a semiconductor to function. To make matters worse, scalpers are normally the first to acquire certain products and hardware such as graphics cards, resulting in significant price increases compared to the MSRP for those trying to purchase the item from a third-party marketplace like eBay.

Moving forward, Nvidia has confirmed that supplies for its GPUs should improve during the second half of 2022. Intel, meanwhile, expects the chip shortage to continue throughout 2022 until a supply-demand balance is achieved in 2023.

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