Shortages of Intel’s CPUs have persisted for well over a year now, but according to Dell, they actually got worse in the ongoing quarter because of unexpectedly high demand for client computers and servers. As a result, the company had to cut its revenue forecast for the fourth quarter as sales of its PCs were impacted by the tight supply.

Last week Intel issued a letter apologizing for CPU shipment delays because despite of the fact that it increased its 14 nm capacity by 25% year-over-year in 2019, demand still outpaced supply. Furthermore, Intel experienced production variability in the fourth quarter and because it had limited inventory buffers, it could not absorb the impact. Intel did not explain what variability meant in this case, but based on comments from Dell, it looks like Intel could not produce enough processors for commercial and premium system.

Here is what Jeffrey Clarke, COO of Dell, had to say:

“Intel CPU shortages have worsened quarter-over-quarter the shortages are now impacting our commercial PC and premium consumer PC Q4 forecasted shipments.”

Even though Intel’s supply and demand balance is not favorable to makers of systems, Dell’s PC business revenue was on the rise in Q3 increasing to $11.4 billion by 5% year-over-year. Sales of commercial PCs were up 9% to $8.3 billion, whereas shipments of consumer computers were up 6% to $3.1 billion.

It is particularly noteworthy that Dell remains cautious about Intel CPU supplies going forward, though it naturally does not make any actual predictions, but rather promises to monitor situation and adjust forecasts. Dell is not the first PC company that is cautious about Intel’s ability to meet demand as ASUS also expressed similar concerns earlier this month.

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Sources: Dell, Reuters

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  • Jorgp2 - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    Laptops usually require new motherboards every generation.

    The chassis can be recycled, but they still have to redo board layout
  • Samus - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Exactly. I think chassis are recycled every 3 generations for Dell and every 2 generations for HP. But the internals are strikingly different and almost nothing is interchangeable.

    The HP Elitebook G1/G2 (4000\5000 series) share the same chassis but almost nothing is compatible other than the keyboard\LCD\battery. G3/G4 (6000/7000 series) modified the chassis to be slightly thinner, losing the eject cover on the bottom opting for a place with 12 screws. Again, the G3 and G4 offers little interchangeability. And it got really radical with the G5 (Coffee Lake) where the chassis actually has interior modifications for the L shaped motherboard while the G6 has an incompatible chassis with the G5 motherboard, presumably due to the cooling design.

    In short its a wreck for OEM's. Every Ryzen notebook, is, all the Elitebook 745's, all have the same chassis, and the later models that got thinner, can still mount the G1 motherboard (and vice versa) because the board is essentially the same. They all take DDR4, simply have different revisions of the same chipset, and the cooling envelope is unaltered while Intel implemented TDP-up with Skylake which wrecked havoc on cooling systems (requiring some substantial firmware tweaking at the expense of sustained performance.)
  • melgross - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Yours is a very unusual company then.
  • yannigr2 - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    They are not going for the money. You, yourself says they need to be noted. So, that's what they are doing. They are trying to be noted by professionals. And the only way to do that, is to sell at premium prices models that Intel can NOT offer.

    Both companies are using the relatively small HEDT market to pass different messages. Intel is trying to convince people that it's latest models offer double performance per dollar and AMD is trying to make people see that they are the premium brand today, not Intel.

    But in the mainstream market and the server market, where both companies make all their money, things have NOT change. AMD is still the cheaper, more value for money brand.

    So, you are wrong about AMD. They didn't became Intel just because they released two "expensive" models. And no, they can NOT be noticed by certain type of consumers if they keep selling EVERYTHING cheap. Some people see the price of a model to come to conclusions about it's performance. They don't check benchmarks. They don't know how. What you pay is what you get and if it cheaper, it can NOT be better.
  • sharath.naik - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    Stop complaining and go with AMD. What is stopping Dell other than underhanded dealings with Intel? AMD is a better processor right now anyway.
  • haukionkannel - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    They can not buy enough amd cpus to fullfill the demand... TSMC just can not produce enough Zen2 cpus to fullfill what would be needed if companies moves to amd cpus... As it has been said above amd is too small company to compete with Intel in production volumes...
  • eva02langley - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    First off, Ryzen mobile CPUs are GloFO, so AMD is having WAY ENOUGH offering if Dell, HP or Acer want to go all in... the issue here is Intel threatening these OEMs from doing so with anti competitive practices. These companies are going to pay the price for the next 2 years.
  • Jorgp2 - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    You do realize that it takes weeks to produce CPUs right?

    AMD can't magically decide to order more and have them the next day.
  • azfacea - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    you do realize that intel shortage has benn going on for over a year a now? nvm the 5g shitshow, the security flaws, and the 10nm disaster now in its 5th year. if u still have confidence in intel thats not AMD's problem.
  • xrror - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    It's Dell's own fault. They refuse to offer any AMD config that would threaten their Intel offerings - they won't risk their favored status / rebates / incentive payments from Intel.

    An anecdotal story: Originally Dell was developing the Opiplex 5055 as a Ryzen R5 1600 and up and our organization was excited to buy. We kept being told by our sales rep that it was still in validation. Finally after 6 months waiting he was told that those options were canceled as not being financially viable? But "amazingly" we could get an intel equivalent system for $300 "below cost" instead.

    Stranger still, the Optiplex 5055 returned for sale this year again, but you can't order it with anything with more than 4 (8 threads)... basically anything where Ryzen's price/perf really start to hurt Intel.

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