The global chip crunch is basically its own meme at this point. It seems like the hits come one after the other (opens in new tab), whether it’s limited capacity, furloughed workforces, logistics issues or even GPU theft (opens in new tab), it seems like we have some way to go before we can walk into a main street store and buy a console or a GPU at RRP.
But, chip supply isn’t just a matter of wafer capacity. A semiconductor manufacturing facility requires countless numbers of components, tools and machinery that make up a very complex supply chain. Dutch photolithography specialists ASML (Advanced Semiconductor Material Lithography) is a key part of that chain, and word comes via ZDnet (opens in new tab) that ASML suffered a fire at one of its plants in Berlin.
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The fire damaged a part of one production area, with smoke affecting another. Luckily, no injuries were reported and ASML states that a part of the facility is already back up and running. However, the EUV production system remains offline (opens in new tab), and this is the worrying part. Extreme Ultra Violet lithography is used to produce the most advanced chips available, including the advanced 5nm nodes.
ASML supplies equipment and tools to the likes of Samsung and TSMC. With both companies currently undergoing major expansions, the last thing they need is disruptions. These kinds of things have flow on effects that eventually end up reaching gamers. Store shelves are already quite bare, so we can all do without these kinds of disruptions. End users won’t see any immediate impact, but if EUV tool production remains offline for any significant amount of time, there could be flow on effects in the months ahead.
ASML is likely to release an update during its earnings call scheduled for January 19. No doubt there have been many calls between all of the companies involved to asses the potential impacts of a lengthy EUV manufacturing halt. Cheaper GPUs might not come as soon (opens in new tab) as we hope they will.