TL;DR: The global semiconductor shortage looks to have claimed another victim: AMD’s lower-end CPU offerings. Company CEO Lisa Su said the situation is forcing team red to prioritize its higher-end commercial and gaming processors, which are more in demand.
At an investor event earlier this week (via PCMag), Su was asked whether AMD would be shipping more CPUs if it had extra chip manufacturing capacity. “There is some compute that we’re leaving underserviced,” she replied. “So, I would say particularly, if you look at some of the segments in the PC market, sort of the lower end of the PC market. We have prioritized some of the higher-end commercial SKUs and gaming SKUs and those kinds of things.”
The desirable Ryzen 5000 line has been one of the more difficult PC components to find at retail since they launched last November. They’re also relatively expensive, with the cheapest Ryzen 5 5600X starting at $299.
“Probably the fact that the inventories are very lean throughout the supply chain, and so people are really now focused on, ‘Hey, we’re not ordering stuff to put it on the shelf, right? We’re ordering stuff that end customers want,’ and that’s how we think about prioritization. Prioritizing sort of the end customer needs as we go forward,” Su added.
AMD could be pushing out more CPUs sooner rather than later. The company last week confirmed that it is gradually transitioning the AMD Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors to a ‘B2’ revision over the next six months. These won’t offer any noticeable changes compared to the current chips on the B0 stepping—it was initially thought they could be an XT refresh—but they might feature slight adjustments that improve yields, helping increase supply. Su said AMD hopes to add more manufacturing capacity over the “next couple of months.”