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Chromebook popularity could prompt another round of Intel CPU shortages

Supplies of Intel’s CPUs, especially at the entry-level of the market, could worsen over the next few months according to a new report, which cites a popular period for Chromebook purchases as the reason behind the potential shortfall. This could lead to price rises and availability issues in 2019, with supply potentially only catching up with demand towards the end of the year.

Intel has experienced shortages of its most popular CPUs since August 2018, with low numbers of Core i5, Pentium, and Atom CPUs having the greatest impact on availability of devices. HP, Lenovo, and Dell, among other major suppliers, were all affected, as DigiTimes reports. Those shortages have continued throughout 2019 so far, with the lack of Core i5 options leading to greater demand for Intel’s own Core i3 chips, and some AMD alternatives.

The concern now though, is that with demand for Chromebooks expected to increase in coming months as new models are shipped out (these are our favorites right now), we could see even greater shortfalls of Intel’s most popular CPUs. Major manufactures which have deliberately overstocked certain CPUs are likely to be less affected than smaller supplies and manufacturers, but the shortage of Intel CPUs is expected to continue throughout much of 2019.

This could see demand increase for laptops based on AMD hardware. With a new range of mobile Ryzen CPUs starting to arrive, that could lead to a windfall for AMD. The success of its first and second-generation Ryzen processors has led to big gains for AMD in recent years, as Toms Hardware reports. That may only continue in the wake of further Intel supply issues.

All of these shortages involve Intel’s 14nm CPUs, rather than its planned 10nm chip lines which could make their debut toward the end of the year. To help counter the supply issues it’s facing with the older 14nm standard, Intel is set to bring new fabrication capacity online at the end of the summer, potentially increasing its chip production capabilities by up to 25 percent. That should be enough to solve the supply issues, but how long it will take to catch up with demand is still up in the air.

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Jon Martindale
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