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Chip shortage wait times continue to grow, hampering new Windows 11 PCs

Intel Core i9-10900K review
Intel Core i9-10900K review (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The lead time to purchase semiconductors has increased to over 20 weeks.
  • PC manufacturers will struggle to meet the demand for new PCs running Windows 11 at the launch of the OS.
  • Windows 11 doesn't have a confirmed release date but is suspected to come out in October 2021.

The global chip shortage continues to affect the PC industry. The wait time for semiconductors is now over 20 weeks, according to research by Susquehanna Financial Group (via Bloomberg). That delay between ordering semiconductors and receiving them will likely affect manufacturers building PCs to come out with the launch of Windows 11.

The wait time for chips has reportedly bumped up to 20.2 weeks as of July. Even before this bump, wait times for semiconductors are the longest they've been since Susquehanna Financial Group started tracking them in 2017.

The global semiconductor shortage affects the availability of several components in PCs, including the best CPUs, best GPUs, and the best SSDs. The global demand for these currently exceeds supply, so companies have to compete to get components.

Major manufactures, such as Lenovo, HP, and Dell, won't be affected by the shortages as much a company like Microsoft that orders fewer chips than the major PC OEMs. That being said, even the top manufacturers will struggle to get PCs out as quickly as customers would like.

Microsoft is reported to have the Surface Pro 8, Surface Book 4, and Surface Duo 2 on the way this fall. Expectations for these will have to be lowered based on component delays. Other manufacturers will also have to taper expectations.

PC manufacturers aren't just competing with each other. The automotive and industrial manufacturing industries need some of the same components as those in computers.

While the U.S. government, Chinese government, and several major chipmakers are investing billions into chip manufacturing, those efforts won't help close the gap between supply and demand for quite some time. Intel's CEO believes the shortage could last into 2023.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

12 Comments
  • Everyone sees current inflation destroying profit. So they're stocking up and hoarding...further exacerbating the problem.
  • Good! They will be delayed because old machines can't be upgraded due to their requirements and that's what will cause delay to adoption. With complete disregard to environmental effects from Microsoft, I hope this flops worst than vista.
  • "With complete disregard to environmental effects from Microsoft, I hope this flops worst than vista."
    It won't because the demand for laptops and PCs is at an all-time high and is expected to continue through 2022 regardless of Windows 11. That's the issue here: demand is outstripping supply. Not "people are mad about not getting Windows 11" which is a non-issue that only those in comments here care about. If companies need new PCs they don't care what OS it ships with, they need new PCs. I don't think anyone is planning to buy a new PC just because of Windows 11. They buy a new PC because they need a new PC. Apple, too, has weighed in noting they can't ship as many iPhones as they want because of the chip shortage.
  • The nerds have displayed their dissatisfaction, but joe schmo hasn't even clocked that his PC from 16'/17' can't be upgraded to 11, I think there's sizeable blowback down the pike...
  • I believe it’s the opposite. Companies that don’t need to buy new pc’s are being forced to buy new pcs in a few years. This is by far more common. Also, most people these days are used to getting the illusion of free OS updates, but now they are forced to buy a new pc for this update.
  • As soon as I finish drinking my cup of tea, I'm heading out to pick up my new Ryzen 7 5800X and accompanying new motherboard to replace the 6th-gen Core i7 I currently have. I want to get a new Radeon 6xxx graphics card too but that can wait for a little while yet, although I don't see the prices going down much, if at all, for some time.
  • Got 'em. Couldn't help it - ordered a new Radeon 6700XT too. AU$1200 (US$884) and that's not the most expensive. Would have liked to get a 6800 but the equivalent card was AU$1900 (US$1400). Cheapest 6900XT is AU$2300 (US$1695). Stupid crypto-currency miners!
  • I just hope manufacturing comes back home. This global supply chain is not reliable and even worse its affected by Politics.
  • Well done Microsoft, you couldn't have pick a worse time to require new hardware to support your next operating system. I really hope Windows 11 adoption is as low as of Windows Vista, that whilst was too heavy for the average machine at release, at least didn't have artificial requirements.
  • "I hope there's a problem to prove that I'm right that there's a problem". Genius.
  • "While the U.S. government, Chinese government, and several major chipmakers are investing billions into chip manufacturing, those efforts won't help close the gap between supply and demand for quite some time. Intel's CEO believes the shortage could last into 2023."
    I don't think it's going to last in 2023.
    I think things will probably come down by the middle of 2023.
  • Possibly Summer 2023, that's if the curent trajectory of the pandemic doesn't take a turn for the worst.