Component November 4, 2019
Could the iPhone 11’s A13 Bionic processor cause a shortage of AMD chips?

Could the iPhone 11’s A13 Bionic processor cause a shortage of AMD chips?

Could the iPhone 11’s new A13 Bionic processor cause a shortage of AMD chips?

Intel has struggled to produce enough 14-nanometer chips over the past year as they’ve deviated toward producing the newer 10-nanometer chips. This shortage sent an abundance of customers towards Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. to fulfill their CPU needs.  AMD had no issues supplying the 14-nanometer chips, since they outsourced their production to GlobalFoundries and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing. This resulted in AMD’s market share rising from 22.9% to 30.3% in the past year, while Intel’s share dropped from 77.1% to 69.7%.

AMD’s third-generation Ryzen (Zen 2), which was launched earlier this year, merges 7-nanometer cores with 12- and 14-nanometer dies. Since Intel doesn’t expect to launch its first 7-nanometer chips until 2021, AMD poses a serious threat to Intel and its demand.

However, reports suggest that an AMD shortage could be just around the corner.  Following the release of the iPhone 11 series, which employs the A13 Bionic 7nm chip produced by TSMC, Apple demanded that its suppliers boost production by 10%.  This resulted in TSMC tripling its lead time from 2 months to 6 months.  This will likely cause delays for AMD, and other TSMC customers like NVIDIA.

Apple isn’t the only speedbump in AMD’s production.  TSMC and GlobalFoundries have recently filed several lawsuits against each other, with both foundries alleging that the other infringed on their patents.  With TSMC producing the 7 nm cores in the Zen 2 CPUs and GlobalFoundries producing the 14- and 12- nm dies, this can be nothing but bad news for AMD.

AMD is yet to disclose any production issues; however the impact of higher iPhone orders on TSMC, and the conflict between TSMC and GlobalFoundries is very likely to impact AMD’s production.


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