The disruption in server and smartphone production is expected to continue in the first quarter of this year due to a supply shortage of semiconductors and parts. For laptops and desktop PCs, there are signs that supply shortages for major parts will ease.

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According to TrendForce, a market research firm, production disruptions in information technology (IT) devices such as servers and smartphones due to delays in production of semiconductors and major components in the first quarter are still on going like the previous quarter. Major server components take tens of weeks or more to supply to manufacturers. The delivery period (lead time) of the 'FPGA' chip programmed according to the user's environment takes up to 50 weeks or longer. For local area network (LAN) chips, the delivery period was slightly shortened compared to the previous quarter, but it still takes about 40 weeks. It is known that orders for power management integrated circuits (PMIC) and MOSFET-based chips, which are essential for server operation, are still significantly delayed.

As the production of server motherboards is disrupted due to a shortage of semiconductors and parts, server production itself is expected to decrease. TrendForce predicted that total server shipments in the first quarter would decrease by 8% compared to the previous quarter. L6 server production scale is expected to maintain a similar level.

For smartphones, it was found that it takes at least 20 to 40 weeks to supply Long Term Evolution (LTE) System-on-Chip (SoC), Display Driver IC (DDI), and Touch Integrated Circuit (IC). TrendForce explained that delays in DDI and touch IC delivery were affected by foundry production capacity. This means that the foundry bottleneck has worsened as semiconductor demand has surged. TrendForce estimates that smartphone production in the first quarter will decrease by 13% from previous quarter.

The decrease in server and smartphone production is also expected to affect the central processing unit (CPU), application processor (AP), and various memory markets. A decrease in total IT device production means that the number of smartphones and servers to which CPU, AP, and memory is applied will decrease. In the end, even if they produce core semiconductors, they are limited in market supply.

The setbacks in laptop and desktop PC production are partially easing. Excluding the solid state drive (SSD) interface PCIe 3.0 controller, the shortage of major semiconductors and parts is being resolved. The delivery period for the controller is about 8 to 12 weeks. TrendForce said, “The shortage of PC and laptop parts has been partially eased since November of last year. Compared to smartphones and servers, the impact of the shortage of laptops and PCs is relatively insignificant.”

By Staff Reporter Dong-jun Kwon (