Chip shortage and high prices threaten supplies of SBCs and other electronics products

A few weeks ago, we started to hear news about a chip shortage for the automotive industry, but the shortage appears to be affecting all sectors now apparently due to a drought in Taiwan where a reservoir could be a risk of being depleted, and TSMC has been asked to reduce its water usage by 7 percent.

I’ve also started to see several companies in the maker market warn about shortages and price increases. Pine64 announced it would only open pre-order for PinePhone, PinebookPro, PineTab, and other products once they could secure stocks of components, and while they hope to be able to do so within this month, there’s no guarantee.

Ameridroid also reported that Hardkernel and another unnamed manufacturer expected really large delays possibly into 2022.

Just wanted to give you a heads up that there are severe component shortages happening globally now; this certainly is affecting all SBC manufacturers such as PINE64, ODROID, and also Raspberry Pi. We are trying to navigate this difficulty and minimize the impact.

It looks like this shortage can last a long time, possibly into 2022.

Here’s the quote from ODROID forum:

The H2+ is out of stock temporarily.
But, it is very hard to estimate when we can produce the H2+ next batch due to very serious component shortage problem these days.
Some key components (PMIC, 2.5GbE NIC and audio codec chips) need over 35 weeks lead time even we placed order last October though.
I think we have to wait 4~5 more months at least to sell the H2+ again.
Sorry about this bad situation.

The issue is also discussed on Raspberry Pi forums, and the shortage will impact TV boxes as a manufacturer recently asked me:

Have you heard about the rising price of Android TV box due to the rising price of raw materials recently?

That’s a slightly different take though, as they did not mention the drought in Taiwan, and the chip shortage, but instead the increasing price of raw materials.

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18 Replies to “Chip shortage and high prices threaten supplies of SBCs and other electronics products”

  1. I’ve been told it’s really bad, like the toilet paper crisis last year.
    And not only for chips, LCD panels price has gone up massively, and there’s almost no stock in the market.

    1. Thing with the toilet paper there was no real crisis. People were just stocking up so fast that the shelf’s couldn’t be refilled fast again.

      And after the toilet paper peak there actually was a drop in selling because people actually didn’t sh!t more but just stocked more…

      1. High prices for GPUs are usually attributed to cryptocurrency mining demand, so the problem may be a bit different.

        1. Best solution would then be to take the resources from gpu and allocate to other things, so shortage of general electronics parts solved, as well as energy waste due to mining 😉

    2. Just be patient, it’s a cycle. Prices will drop after WW3, with less people to buy stuff and the remaining ones obsessed with seeking food and water instead of playing on their PCs and smartphones, there will be plenty of stocks available at very low prices 🙂 [I’m pretty sure I’ll get downvoted by those who don’t like being sarcastic]

  2. Some actual numbers for the cost increases. This was shared by direct message, I don’t know the source of the picture.

    1. uk.farnell have some variants in stock as well as others out of stock.
      Also digikey, Mouser uk if it helps anyone.

  3. For me this has been going on for a long time. Initially the prices were the same but shipping was ten times more expensive. Now the prices are up and the shipping is up.
    I remember last year 10 x 30mm x 30mm 4 layer PCBs were ~$40 shipped now the quotes are like $150+ 🙁

  4. Mobile phones are generating massive discounts at the moment, which would appear to buck this higher price trend.

    I suspect that many manufacturers and dealers have poor sales because of covid and are now in a catch 22 position where they cannot get new stocks because of this shortage but where people are also not buying as much as usual because of the insecure positions that many face themselves in.

    I don’t think that raising prices is going to work this time because people will likely hold out until things are affordable.

  5. Example of massive price increase: https://www.cnx-software.com/2019/11/26/pocket-popcorn-computer-handheld-linux-computer-improved-pocketchip/#comment-581472

    Pocket P.C. went from $199 to $299. One of the reasons listed is STM32 price:

    an STM32F103 by STMicro, has increased from $2.30 to $8.30, a 400% increase in price.

    Longer lead times mean Q1 pre-order = Q4 delivery

    In addition, because of the new longer lead times, the newly-ordered units will not be available until the 4th quarter of this year.

    Normal $199 price is still available until March 19.

  6. Sipeed reports prices have doubled:

    Bad News, due to chip shortage, many chips’ price are doubled, include SoC(V83x, R329, RV1126), DDR, eMMC, etc. And more and more chips are out of stock now… We are sad to say M2, M2S, M2A, M3 board’s price will significantly raise, or even out of stock this year…

    https://twitter.com/SipeedIO/status/1375010383539306498

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