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TSMC to prioritise production of chips for cars, not your next graphics card

I hope someone else hasn't done this yet.

 

Summary

Reports of chip shortages impacting all manner of industries abound, it’s not just graphics cards that are hard to come by. Now comes news that megafoundry TSMC is prioritising production of chips for cars over other applications. What hope is there for us poor gamers ever getting our hands on a new GPU?

According to CNBC, TSMC plans to prioritise new production capacity in favour of car makers.

The move comes as pressure reportedly mounts at government level for TSMC to prioritise chips intended for cars. The global auto industry is currently suffering from significant production delays due to the shortage of chips, leading Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier writing to his Taiwanese counterpart requesting that TSMC, a key supplier of semiconductors for cars, focus on production for cars above all. Similar requests have reportedly been sent from the US, the European Union and Japan.

 

Quotes

Quote

Reports of chip shortages impacting all manner of industries abound, it’s not just graphics cards that are hard to come by. Now comes news that megafoundry TSMC is prioritising production of chips for cars over other applications. What hope is there for us poor gamers ever getting our hands on a new GPU?

According to CNBC, TSMC plans to prioritise new production capacity in favour of car makers.

The move comes as pressure reportedly mounts at government level for TSMC to prioritise chips intended for cars. The global auto industry is currently suffering from significant production delays due to the shortage of chips, leading Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier writing to his Taiwanese counterpart requesting that TSMC, a key supplier of semiconductors for cars, focus on production for cars above all. Similar requests have reportedly been sent from the US, the European Union and Japan.

But before panic sets in and we all assume there will be no more GPUs for the foreseeable future, a few factors are worth bearing in mind. Firstly, it’s critical to note that the prioritisation is said to apply to any increase in capacity. TSMC will not be reducing the production of other chips in favour of semiconductors for cars.

 

My thoughts

Well, I am personally not gonna be making any GPU purchases in the foreseeable future but don't panic, please don't. This also seems to not affect the current production capacity but future one's, so....... I'm not too worried.

 

Sources

https://www.pcgamer.com/tsmc-to-prioritise-production-of-chips-for-cars-not-your-next-graphics-card/

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/25/taiwan-ministry-says-tsmc-will-prioritize-auto-chips-if-possible.html

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Whatever yields the most profit will be ran:

 

image.png.153a40ea4c541583d1e0527c75fffbe8.png

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23 minutes ago, Tristerin said:

Whatever yields the most profit will be ran:

 

image.png.153a40ea4c541583d1e0527c75fffbe8.png

It's more about car companies went full legal and started complaining to the government about wanting chips and wanting priority after saying they don't need any.

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What good does them having chips to make more cars do for them right now given there's nobody to buy them? 

Car sales have fallen more than 30% here, people are not buying cars when they're in lockdown and need the money for more basic things. Of course the car industry is gonna be in trouble, but the reason is covid...

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Welp, RIP my dream of getting a new graphic card this year to finally replace my scuffed 7970 with noctua fans strapped onto it...

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5 minutes ago, jaslion said:

It's more about car companies went full legal and started complaining to the government about wanting chips and wanting priority after saying they don't need any.

I understand - but influence is all these companies have.  Unless its contractually obligated of course, then legal has recourse.  If not, then it can be just empty promises as the article literally states - if possible.

 

If possible is not a commitment, and to me a clear "I hear you" message (doesnt mean anything will happen)

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Video cards need more than just the actual gpu chips... they also need vrms (controller and mosfets/power stages) and they also need RAM (gddr5, gddr6, gddr6x) which is also in low supply. 

Shipping is also tough these days, video cards are heavy so more expensive to ship by air, and boat shipments are in high demand so quite expensive as well.

 

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Guess i did the right thing when i delayed my upgrade to next year.... Guess ill use that money to buy a site instead, one step closer to owning my own house 😄 .

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This may be because after the shortages of chips so far, some countries and the EU started investing into chip making so they wouldn't have to rely or rely nearly as much on imports for their chips.

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Bah, yeah because everyone is buying new and expensive cars.

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2 minutes ago, Doobeedoo said:

Bah, yeah because everyone is buying new and expensive cars.

Not really why. Its because cars are full of sensors and screens that need to be powered by a processor nowadays. If you want to get an acceptable score from crash testing you have to have emergency braking as a standard now, or you gotta have a massive infotainment screen so that people actually would consider buying your car. I am not even mentioning all the new features almost every single car comes with and relies on a SOC more powerful than consumer desktops of 20 years ago.

Most likely sleep deprived. 

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now that all the cars are "smart" they have to share fab capacity with chips for PCs

let's go back in time and prevent Henry Ford from getting born

Hi

 

Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler

Hi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Levent said:

Not really why. Its because cars are full of sensors and screens that need to be powered by a processor nowadays. If you want to get an acceptable score from crash testing you have to have emergency braking as a standard now, or you gotta have a massive infotainment screen so that people actually would consider buying your car. I am not even mentioning all the new features almost every single car comes with and relies on a SOC more powerful than consumer desktops of 20 years ago.

Well, I'm pretty sure most buy used older car and those buying new and expensive cars are a drop in the ocean though. I get modern cars needs this stuff, I find it funny like some priority though.

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Just now, Doobeedoo said:

Well, I'm pretty sure most buy used older car and those buying new and expensive cars are a drop in the ocean though. I get modern cars needs this stuff, I find it funny like some priority though.

Again, that doesnt mean people dont buy new cars. 14 million brand new cars were sold in US alone last year. That number is nothing to shit on. Supply chains are guarantees, if one chain is broken in that line, that company is facing lawsuits and massive payouts. Nothing new or surprising here, TSMC made a mistake prioritizing wrong line of production. 

Most likely sleep deprived. 

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14 minutes ago, Levent said:

TSMC made a mistake prioritizing wrong line of production.

Except AFAIK car manufacturers underestimated demand and ordered less capacity than needed.....

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24 minutes ago, Doobeedoo said:

Well, I'm pretty sure most buy used older car and those buying new and expensive cars are a drop in the ocean though. I get modern cars needs this stuff, I find it funny like some priority though.

Our view of the world is not necessarily the reality. If we're young and not in a rich country we may not see a lot of brand new cars but that does not mean it does not exists. Bought a new one 12 months ago and a colleague of mine (from Zadar actually 😉 ) is on her second purchase in 18 months. Covid or not, a bunch of people still have money for cars. And that's not even talking about the company fleets who tend to account for a good portion of new car sales.

 

I guess everyone is slowly starting to realize that pretty much everything runs on some kind of chips nowadays and it may take a little time for everything to align. During that time, let's face it gamers are clearly not the priority. Political pressure such as that one have far more impact than a bunch of people on a forum/youtube ...

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1 hour ago, jaslion said:

It's more about car companies went full legal and started complaining to the government about wanting chips and wanting priority after saying they don't need any.

 

1 hour ago, Kilrah said:

What good does them having chips to make more cars do for them right now given there's nobody to buy them? 

Car sales have fallen more than 30% here, people are not buying cars when they're in lockdown and need the money for more basic things. Of course the car industry is gonna be in trouble, but the reason is covid...

 

Job protection. That's pretty much it.

 

Right now, the assembly line is held up on completing cars and getting them on the lot. Because Big Auto is too-big-to-fail.

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20 minutes ago, Levent said:

Again, that doesnt mean people dont buy new cars. 14 million brand new cars were sold in US alone last year. That number is nothing to shit on. Supply chains are guarantees, if one chain is broken in that line, that company is facing lawsuits and massive payouts. Nothing new or surprising here, TSMC made a mistake prioritizing wrong line of production. 

Well many are fighting for the same fab too. Not sure about the 'mistake' part though.

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3 minutes ago, McBUrn said:

Our view of the world is not necessarily the reality. If we're young and not in a rich country we may not see a lot of brand new cars but that does not mean it does not exists. Bought a new one 12 months ago and a colleague of mine (from Zadar actually 😉 ) is on her second purchase in 18 months. Covid or not, a bunch of people still have money for cars. And that's not even talking about the company fleets who tend to account for a good portion of new car sales.

 

I guess everyone is slowly starting to realize that pretty much everything runs on some kind of chips nowadays and it may take a little time for everything to align. During that time, let's face it gamers are clearly not the priority. Political pressure such as that one have far more impact than a bunch of people on a forum/youtube ...

Man... for personal use I just can't see myself spending for a new car at all though. 

But yeah political pressure > entertainment huh.

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11 minutes ago, jagdtigger said:

Except AFAIK car manufacturers underestimated demand and ordered less capacity than needed.....

When the Gov prints money, some of that goes into purchasing a new vehicle for two reasons.

  • Because liquidity is now available to do so
  • Inflation will drive up the prices further, so now is the time to lock-in on a new vehicle

The only other countering economic force is if unemployment goes up and more cars remain unsold; both new and used.

 

So yeah, there's a demand for new cars so long as money is being printed and handed out.

 

Supply / Demand

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1 minute ago, StDragon said:

When the Gov prints money, some of that goes into purchasing a new vehicle for two reasons.

  • Because liquidity is now available to do so
  • Inflation will drive up the prices further, so now is the time to lock-in on a new vehicle

The only other countering economic force is if unemployment goes up and more cars remain unsold; both new and used.

 

So yeah, there's a demand for new cars so long as money is being printed and handed out.

 

Supply / Demand

Yeah but demand can be only predicted, its never a known factor. Manufacturers screwed up their predictions and as a result they reserved less capacity at the fab, TSMC is well within its right to ignore their bitching saying "you screwed up its your problem"......

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7 minutes ago, Doobeedoo said:

Man... for personal use I just can't see myself spending for a new car at all though. 

But yeah political pressure > entertainment huh.

Yeah especially since car manufacturing is responsible for quite some employments in countries such as Germany which is definitely not the case for Games/entertainment etc ... Priority for a government is therefore rather easy to understand.

About the word "possible" in the article, this is true that they have no legal ground to force any foundry to prioritize anything but one has to understand that pressure is most probably put behind closed door using the countries weight in certain industries as possible leverage ...

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To me, this is a friendly reminder that PC gaming isn't the centre of the universe, as you'd sometimes think if you spent all your time in tech forums. People have to travel even during a pandemic, and it's still possible to have production shortages despite any sales dips.

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If someone at TSMC had predicted this pandemic 5 years ago and started production on a few new fabs TSMC would be making an absolute killing right now. It seems like everyone is in a fight to the death for fab space at the moment.

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7 minutes ago, Master Disaster said:

If someone at TSMC had predicted this pandemic 5 years ago and started production on a few new fabs TSMC would be making an absolute killing right now. It seems like everyone is in a fight to the death for fab space at the moment.

Not sure it is that simple. Pricing elevates if demand outstrips supply. If they had more capacity, you wouldn't get as many customers trying to out-bid each other.

 

I also wonder if this will also push some less performance critical designs to older processes, assuming they're better available.

 

 

Back on the topic at hand, maybe if they made cars like this...

https://www.tomshardware.com/uk/news/the-fastest-rtx-3080-mining-rig-is-a-bmw-i8

 

Thinking more, does automotive silicon need to be on cutting edge processes? Unlike electronic mobile devices where power efficiency is more important, I'd argue in an automotive environment if a chip is less efficient due to older process, that doesn't make a huge difference. The problem might be the same as what Intel are going through. The chips are already designed to go on newer processes, and it is no trivial matter to re-make them on older process.

 

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