Most people don’t pay attention to just how much they rely on computer chips in their day to day life, yet we use them more than we realise at times. From smartphones, cars, airplanes and even smart gadgets in your house, we use devices that rely on chips constantly. The computer industry is just one of many that has been impacted by this. Graphics cards are incredibly scarce, CPU stock and availability jumps up and down and even RAM and SSD stock has been uncertain at times this year.
So what are chips used for?
Chips essentially serve as the brains and memory of our devices that we use in our day to day lives such as computers, phones, gaming consoles and much more.
Chips are also used in more specialised equipment such as devices that ensure temperature control in shop freezers, produce trucks and even parts of cars such as the ignition, brakes and lighting. In fact, cars have thousands of chips dedicated to specific jobs to ensure a smooth ride. And a lack of simple 1 USD computer chips has even held up the production of 50K USD worth of cars.
Is a shortage like this normal?
While shortages themselves are common, the odd thing about the current shortages is that there are many different kinds of chips all in shortage, where as common yearly shortages are typically confined to one type of chip. Thanks to the pandemic, these shortages are taking longer than usual to fix. And since the demand for them hasn’t eased up, the shortage doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
Even Samsung said that the shortage has affected their television and applience production, and LG has acknowledged the risk of the shortage.
When will the shortage end?
At this stage there is no way to tell when the shortage will end for sure, but current trends look like it is likely going to last the rest of the year, and run into next year as well.
The computer industry isn’t the only one to be hit by this, and nine out of 10 people will be affected in some way or another by this shortage.