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Why it matters: We’ve seen quite a few claims recently that this year will see the nightmarish graphics card situation improve, but prices returning to pre-chip-shortage levels might be further away than hoped. According to a new report, TSMC has already raised its quotes by 10 - 20% for both its 7nm and 5nm processes, and that will impact GPUs, CPUs, and ASICs.
According to DigiTimes (via Tom’s Hardware), TSMC’s rising foundry costs will have an impact on all processors made using its 7nm and 5nm process nodes. It will hit AMD the hardest as team red’s product line includes the 7nm Zen 2 and Zen 3 architectures, while this year’s Zen 4 is built on the 5nm process.
Although Intel will be less affected, the chips it already relies on TSMC to manufacture could get more expensive for consumers due to the Taiwanese firm’s price hike. Team blue could also make its products more expensive to cover the company’s own fab development and expansion; Intel plans to spend $25 billion to $28 billion on chip manufacturing in 2022.
TSMC (click to expand)
It’s not just CPUs that could feel the consequences of TSMC’s rising quotes. All but one of AMD’s current RDNA 2 consumer graphics cards are manufactured on 7nm, while RDNA 3 is expected to be built on 5nm. Even the rumored refresh of the Radeon RX 6000-series is said to use 6nm, so they could also be impacted.
Nvidia, meanwhile, uses the Samsung 8N node for the consumer Ampere line, but the upcoming RTX 4000 series is expected to be another built on TSMC’s 5nm process. Nvidia recently said the supply of its cards would improve in the second half of the year—I.e., when the RTX 4000 series gets here—so while availability might be better, MSRPs could be a lot higher than expected.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. TSMC is spending $44 billion on upgrading capacity this year; card shipments are predicted to increase 10%; and mining demand should fall due to Ethereum’s upcoming shift from a proof-of-work mechanism to proof-of-stake. And if you want to buy a card from eBay, the good news is that their average price has fallen over the last few weeks.