If you’re wondering why it’s taking longer to deliver and install new computers, it’s because there’s a shortage of Intel chips. Intel has placed the blame on several factors, including a slower demand in China. According to reports, Intel can also cite sales to cloud customers, a weakening NAND flash market and weaker modem demand.
Some observers contend the shortage will worsen this spring, a traditionally high season for entry-level computers such as Chromebooks. Others say Intel simply didn’t anticipate the demand and didn’t put in enough manufacturing capacity to handle the volume. With priority going to data centers (the cloud), that means there are fewer chips available for PCs and laptops. PC processors are reportedly last on the company’s priority list.
As for us, we’ve seen a drastic increase in the lead time for new computers. We used to be able to get them in a day or two. In one instance, an order placed in January arrived at the end of March. One of the computer manufacturers affected by the shortage is Dell, one of our favorites for Windows-based units. Dell prefers Intel chips, and so do we. Dell said earlier this year it might look for other sources, but as it stands, we’re stuck for the moment. We don’t expect the situation to improve until the second half of 2019 – and nobody’s making sure-fire predictions.
Some industry sources predict the shortage will ease by the summer because the large data-center customers have made their required purchases. But with expected Chromebook sales still to be made, others are predicting the shortages will extend well into the summer and maybe beyond. The shortage may worsen before it gets better – because of the Chromebooks. We’ve seen reports that Intel will ramp up production facilities in Ireland and Israel, increasing capacity by 25 percent.
What can we do in the meantime to minimize the effects of the Intel shortage?
If you’re looking at new computers to improve business efficiencies, we can look at upgrading the efficiencies of other equipment, such as routers, servers and peripherals. Those are improvements you are likely to make down the road, anyway, so it could mean you’ll have a two-stage process. The computers will come later. We can also fine-tune your software and make sure that all your operating system and app software is up to date and in sync with your computers’ capabilities.
If you’re still using the Windows 7 operating system and planning to purchase new computers to work with Windows 10, we can place your orders now. Even though your new systems may be backlogged, they will be in the pipeline, and you should be able to plan your migration to your new systems before next February, when Microsoft ends its Windows 7 support.
We can also consider alternatives, such as computers with chips from other manufacturers. However, we urge you to consider the long-term effects of any alternative you select to solve a short-term problem.
If you are planning on buying new computers, let’s talk about your needs and explore possible solutions in light of the Intel chip shortage. Good planning can help you mitigate the effects of the current market conditions. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to set up an appointment.