The State of the Technology Supply Chain – Q2 2022

Over the past few weeks, the availability of consumer-grade GPUs has improved based on online retailer checks and visits to retail outlets that have been made by a number of technology-focused YouTube personalities. Looking at the current competitive desktop landscape between Intel’s 12th-generation processors and AMD’s Ryzen 5000-series processors provides hope that one can build a new system of choice with less of a markup than the egregious pricing of 2021. nVidia GPUs are still carrying a larger premium over MSRP yet are beginning to come closer to the designated price points noted at the launch of the RTX 3000-series models. In the Team Red camp, one can currently score the RX 6900 XT at MSRP through careful selection of vendor. The more mainstream models (RX 6800/XT, RX 6700 XT) still incur a premium outside of AMD’s reference units. While there’s still room for improvement, the state of affairs is better in the consumer space.

The supply chain in the enterprise space has not seen as much improvement. Lead times for network switch gear from vendors such as Cisco continue to be measured in months. Servers from Tier 1 vendors are also susceptible to longer lead times versus the traditional three-to-four weeks for customized configurations. A very recent quotation exercise involving a server with two GPUs was provided with a twelve-to-fourteen week lead time. Vendors and value-added resellers may be able to improve upon the delivery of required compute if the price is right. Larger volume deals with improved margins may receive priority allocation over general-purpose, low margin building blocks. Automotive production lines are still being slowed down by a lack of available chips for seat warmers and other creature comforts.

It’s difficult to predict the future, but the expectation at this moment involves the technology supply chain not returning to “normal” prior to the latest work-in-progress fabs being brought online and producing enough volume to clear out the backlog of orders.

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