Despite the good news around graphics card prices (opens in new tab), the PC market still faces significant headwinds. The fallout from the pandemic, Chinese factory shutdowns (opens in new tab), and high oil prices mean that the cost of a PC remains higher than it should be, and if the words of Micron’s CEO Sanjay Mehrotra turn out to be true, some PC parts could soon cost even more than they do now.
Mehrotra was interviewed by Fox Business (opens in new tab) (via wccftech (opens in new tab)) stating that "There are parts of the chip shortage that will continue to improve as we go through the calendar year 2022 and some parts of this will continue into 2023 as well. Of course, Micron continues to make the necessary investments to meet the demand growth that our customers are bringing to us."
Micron is mostly known for its memory products including DRAM and NAND flash which are obviously key components in all PCs. If things like Covid related shutdowns continue on and off, then supply is indeed likely to be disrupted for the foreseeable future. The price of DDR5 memory is falling but it remains high compared to DDR4. Given that Micron is one of few DRAM manufacturers, it doesn’t bode well for pricing going forward.
Micron is set to invest over $150 billion over the next decade, ramping up its commitment to research, development, and manufacturing. That's all long-term though and won't have much effect during 2022. One thing it won’t be doing, at least in the shorter term, is producing Ballistix memory. Sadly, Micron killed off its long-running Ballistix memory brand (opens in new tab), instead choosing to focus on supplying other RAM manufacturers.
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Micron has also released a statement (opens in new tab) regarding its supply of neon gas, which is a key component in semiconductor manufacturing. Around 50% of neon comes from Ukraine (opens in new tab) which means that world neon production has been halved due to the Russian invasion. Micron states that its production should remain unaffected due to diversified supply and long-term agreements.
All of this goes to show that semiconductor supply shortages aren’t yet in the rear-view mirror and the prices of many PC components are likely to remain high, if not rise further due to rampant inflation worries, ongoing war and work from home related high demand.