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War: Silicon production can stop totally
  • Threats to stop deliveries of AMD and Intel to Russia, as well as stopping the production of Russian Baikals and Elbrus at the Taiwanese TSMC plant, look like an information attack. The reality of the implementation of these plans in the conditions prevailing in the modern microprocessor industry is close to zero.

    The fact is that Russia today accounts for 80 percent of the market for sapphire substrates - thin plates made of artificial stone, which are used in opto- and microelectronics to build up layers of various materials, such as silicon. They are used in every processor in the world - AMD and Intel are no exception.

    Russia position is even stronger in special chip etching chemistry using ultra-pure components. Russia accounts for 100 percent of the world supply of various rare earth elements used for these purposes.

    The ban on finished products for Russia will result in a retaliatory ban on the supply of production components and will cause an acute shortage of processors for the whole world. By comparison, the end-2021 supply disruption situation will appear like no problem at all.

    Same is true for neon - 90% of supply.

  • 4 Replies sorted by
  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev there is a lot of irony here. Russia is an exporter of energy and raw materials, including for high tech. It is interesting though that you can choke TSMC and most fabs in the world, this gives you leverage. It takes a crisis to unravel and expose dependencies.

  • @radikalfilm

    One of the reasons of huge AMD and Intel profits (as well as TSMC one) is that they set prices of all materials via fully controlled system. Such way that all profits are concentrated in their hands.

  • The main winner in this is China.

    Also the supply situation isn't as bad as it seems. Since 2014, the chip makers reduced reliance on Russian rare earth elements and rare gases. Things will not come to a stand-still, but prices will rise.

  • But as hostilities broke out, the industry’s big players, including SK Hynix, United Microelectronics, GlobalFoundries, ASE, Intel, and Micron, each made statements assuring investors they could handle the risk.

    “The industry learned its lessons in 2014,” Sravan Kundojjala, an analyst at Strategy Analytics told Al Jazeera, referring to Russia’s takeover of Crimea which triggered a 600 percent spike in neon gas prices.

    The disruption, Kundojjala said, led Dutch firm ASML to dramatically reduce the amount of neon gas needed in their industry-standard DUV lithography machines by between 30 and 50 percent.

    You need to understand that this article is made to calm down lot of funds and similar investors who hold huge money in semiconductor makers stuff.