Apple could cause CPU prices to jump with new TSMC deal

Not great.

If you see CPU price increases this year or next, it's likely Apple's fault.
Image credit: Dmitry Chernyshov

Apple is a very hungry company, and its new deal with TSMC will see it consume a lot of chips. It’s supposedly gobbled 50% of the manufacturer’s available capacity for 2024. Since TSMC is the primary creator of the components needed for processors, that leaves Intel, Nvidia, and AMD fighting for their fair share.

That’s not so bad if you’re staunchly in the Mac and iOS ecosystem. It probably means you’ll have no issue getting your next Apple product. However, those looking to upgrade or buy a new PC could see CPU availability plummet. As chips are harder to come by, prices will also likely skyrocket.

Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer TSMC has been at the forefront of production for a little while now. It’s quickly shifting from 4nm and 5nm processes to 3nm, which currently makes up 15% of its output. The first wave will end up in Apple’s lap, feeding the A18 Pro chip that could appear in iPhone 16. This is likely to be the standard going forward for a couple of years. We’re happy for the company, and it does good work, but an impending shortage is always bad.

This unfortunate look into the next couple of years for PCs comes from Taiwan Economic Daily. If chips are harder to buy, then production gets substantially harder. That could lead to big price increases as supply becomes unable to meet demand. Companies always pass costs onto you, the consumer. There are further concerns about how this will affect the wider market. Larger brands like Nvidia, Intel, and AMD should be able to grab most of the remaining chips, but that says nothing for start-ups wanting to make a splash. It’s reminiscent of NAND inflation that, thankfully, has slowed right down.

What this means is that whether you’re looking for a pre-built machine or trying to get component parts, if you’re aiming for the cutting-edge, then you’re going to have to take a potentially hefty hit to your wallet. Fortunately, upcoming GPUs should continue using 5nm for the foreseeable, freeing them from the expected price gouging. CPUs on the horizon, however, won’t be so lucky. You’ll need to consider whether a brand-new chip is worth the price of admission. Instead, I’d just go for one that’s currently available, and you’ll still be able to do pretty much everything with them.

Translation via PCGamesN.