Will the Chip Shortage Affect You?
Every few decades an unexpected development in semiconductor availability will arrive to have a wide-reaching negative effect on the technology market. The last time this occurred was in 2011, where the Japanese earthquake created a limited supply for parts in certain systems. In a more modern context, 2020 and 2021 have become the next years to experience a server chip shortage, and it could be years before the market finds relief.
What Caused the Shortage?
In 2020 and 2021, the greater move towards remote-work systems led to a substantial increase in demand for computer components. Issues here also related to the release of new high-tech devices and systems such as the new gaming consoles, and the new 30 series of GeForce graphics cards. In basic terms, demand skyrocketed, and supply couldn’t keep up.
For simpler components, problems like this could be solved by simply increasing manufacturing, but such solves aren’t easily possible with advanced systems. As it stands, only a few manufacturers in the world are capable of building such specialized components, and creating new facilities to bridge the gap isn’t economically viable. According to industry experts, it could take another two years before supply catches up with demand.
Adding to this problem downstream is the unusually high demand for certain high-tech products. This is best illustrated by the new gaming consoles and GeForce graphics cards. With the consoles, scalpers have instantly bought up as much stock as possible to rerelease systems for extortionate prices. With graphics cards, bots are similarly used so that cryptocurrency miners can receive as much stock as possible, leaving actual gamers to miss out.
Does the Shortage Matter to You?
This question is ultimately one of use-case, where some users could see extreme issues, while others might see none at all. The biggest losers in the current chip shortage are video game enthusiasts. For consoles, anyone not willing to purchase second-hand off of scalpers is going to have an extremely difficult time finding a new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series system.
The same can be said for anyone looking to buy a new GeForce series card, though the issue here extends further than just the direct cards being bought up by bots. Due to the recent increase in new computer users, demand for a whole range of cards has increased, leading to a lack of supply for many older cards on the market.
For those who tend towards more general use, however, supply shouldn’t be as much of a problem. Consider what is involved in a typical use case like football betting online as an example. Getting involved with services like these typically involves browsing, the use of interactive elements like wagering systems, and placing bets through secure payment software. Since none of this has high hardware requirements, even older stock of cheaper existing tech will manage without performance concerns.
Finding a Solution
If you are someone who could use a new piece of technology affected by the chip shortage then you have two options available. The first, which we don’t recommend, is that you pay scalpers for an item. This will cost a lot more than retail, will usually not come with a warranty, and encourages the scalping market to continue. That said, it’s your money, so the choice is yours to make.
Otherwise, it can be best to contact the stores which sell these items directly and ask to be placed on their waiting list. If these systems are operated in person rather than in online storefronts, they are much easier to keep safe, which makes it much more difficult for bad actors to break in. Alternatively, it can be worthwhile to set up automatic alerts for major resellers and to stay aware that you might quickly be called into action.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any simple solutions for the current chip shortage, and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. Other than following the advice outlined above, there isn’t really a solution to be had that doesn’t include waiting. At least we can rest assured that the chip shortage mostly affects the entertainment sector rather than anything related to health or security, but for those missing out, such assurance might not mean much.