IBM agrees with Intel and TSMC: this chip shortage isn't going to end anytime soon

The IBM-made Gamecube Gekko PowerPC processor
Remember this guy? The IBM-made Gamecube Gekko PowerPC processor (Image credit: Baz1521, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons, cropped, resized)

IBM joins the ranks of high-profile tech companies that believe we could be in this chip crisis for a few years, at least. Disappointing, I know. It's the last thing us PC gamers want to hear, but it's looking more and more like the top tech companies are planning for shortages until 2022/2023.

I won't waste your time going over the chip shortage in too much detail. Most, if not all, reading this will be painfully aware how difficult it is to buy a graphics card today. This past year has been a perfect storm for PC gaming shortages, with little sign of stopping.

Jim Whitehurst, IBM president, told the BBC (via The Guardian) that we'll be waiting on supply for a while because it takes a long time to build new fabs.

“There’s just a big lag between from when a technology is developed and when [a fab] goes into construction and when chips come out,” Whitehurst said.

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“So frankly, we are looking at couple of years...  before we get enough incremental capacity online to alleviate all aspects of the chip shortage.”

Whitehurts' comments closely mirror what Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger had to say about the chip shortage last month.

“We do believe we have the ability to help,” Gelsinger said to the Washington Post. “I think this is a couple of years until you are totally able to address it. It just takes a couple of years to build capacity.”

TSMC, too, expressed hesitation at a quick end to the chip crisis. No end in sight this year, and maybe next, at least.

It's not just PC components that are running low thanks to this latest chip shortage. It's mainly automobile chips that already has world leaders, including the Biden administration, worrying for the shape of the industry over the next few years. Such a shortage is likely to lead to a push in US and European production of chips alongside the manufacturing powerhouse in Asia, but, as most tech leaders admit, it'll be a while since those start chucking out chips.

At least PC gamers are really only feeling the crunch in graphics cards and, to a lesser extent, high-end CPUs. Everything else, for now, seems to be stable enough.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would later go on to win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top team as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. He also enjoys making short videos for TikTok and believes everyone reading this should go follow our account immediately.