PC makers say AMD Threadripper CPUs are in severe shortage due to Lenovo contract

AMD Threadripper 3000 and Threadripper Pro 3000 processors have been in short supply for several months, according to six executives at the US computer builder and IT distributor who recently spoke to The Register.

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The collector is rumored to be the lowest in Threadripper history. Readers will remember that AMD introduced the Threadripper line in 2017, announcing the processors as a premium, high-performance CPU capable of improving processing power over Intel products, particularly in demanding workflows, such as video editing.

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The problems of executives and IT distributors with accessing AMD Threadripper processors, including the latest Threadripper Pro 5000, are due to a lack of access to the latest chips from Lenovo, AMD’s exclusive Threadripper partner. The CEOs feature AMD Maingear-based systems builders, Puget Systems, and Velocity Micro.

AMD has given access to the latest workstation processors, but AMD has also brought back Lenovo ThinkStation P620 systems with the latest Threadripper Pro 5000 chipset. Lenovo’s exclusive contract with AMD allows the company to obtain an initial supply of the Threadripper Pro 5000 line when it is launched last month. Other companies won’t see any supplies until the latter half of 2022.

A Lenovo spokesperson commented on the shortage, “I have confirmed that CPU supply is not the issue with ThinkStation systems.” Lenovo’s website also shows P620 systems with Threadripper Pro 3000 processors instead of AMD’s latest line.

The current shortage of Threadripper processors has raised alarm bells in the workstation market, with vendors and manufacturers concerned that Lenovo has an unfair advantage in sales. However, this chip shortage hasn’t stopped companies from waiting for supply to improve.

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The PC industry in general is moving towards paper releases and product announcements well ahead of general availability.

[…]I think I can speak for everyone who is concerned about product launches that not everyone can participate in.

– John Bach, President, Puget Systems

Currently, the shortage of AMD chips is echoed by the global chip shortage that has been in place for nearly two years. This dramatic change in the economy and manufacturing has led companies such as AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA to search for alternative expansion options, such as building manufacturing plants in regions throughout Europe and even the United States. Along with scaling solutions, product prioritization has also been a major focus since they typically rely on large chip manufacturers (such as TSMC) to help with manufacturing, slowing the process further and creating higher demand.

Dr. Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, said the company has made significant investments to improve production with manufacturing partners. These investments cover chip and substrate capacity, as well as back-end capacity.

Our goal frankly is to have enough supply to meet the demand there,” she said during the call in early February. Our view is that we will continue to work with our partners and customers to make sure we know what they need.

– Dr. Lisa Su, CEO of AMD

Threadripper chip shortages have escalated over the course of just several months, leading manufacturers to question whether this situation is separate from the current global shortage. Companies have seen a slow decline in numbers, further straining the manufacturers’ impending plans.

Velocity Micro CEO Randy Copeland commented that its supplies of Threadripper processors — specifically, the Threadripper 3970X and 3960X — are still available in its factories. However, the company’s most notable workstation, the Threadripper 3990X, which offers 64 cores, has been completely eliminated. Velocity Micro produces Workstations based on Threadripper Pro 3000. However, Copeland states that the high cost of processors from AMD does not guarantee the company will sell a specialized chip with only specific users.

We’ve put a lot of marketing efforts behind promoting Threadripper over the past 3 years, and now it’s all in vain.

The bottom line is that I want to lose as few Threadrippers to a multinational company as possible.

Randy Copeland, CEO of Velocity Micro

For CEO Wallace Santos and his company, Maingear, the Threadripper crisis has prompted his company to list high-end workstations ($9,599 to $4,999) as “unavailable” in the company’s catalog since the end of 2021. With no Threadripper processors in place, Maingear had to To sell low-cost, cost-effective systems with inexpensive processors from AMD and Intel.

If you sell 10 systems for $15,000 to one customer, that’s a big buy. It’s no small order for me. So imagine saying no to [purchase order] With 30 and 40 systems. It’s real money, and it’s a pity that it turned out that way.

– Wallace Santos, CEO of Maingear

Some system builders have also resorted to purchasing from online retailers such as Amazon and NewEgg. This option of manufacturers is quite hasty, especially with specific guarantees through contracts signed with companies such as AMD. Also, it is difficult to sell a product when parts are unknown in price due to fluctuations in the consumer market and unnatural third parties, according to Copeland.

We are not banned [from buying through retail], but it is not good to get out of the channel. Moreover, how do you market a product when you have no idea of ​​its price online?

The lack of AMD Threadripper processors has also caused manufacturers to switch business from AMD to Intel, such as companies like Puget Systems. The move prompted his company to move some customers toward systems that offer Intel Xeon W workstation processors.

An AMD spokesperson assured us that “[t]Threadripper Pro 5000 will be available from additional partners in CY3Q22.” The spokesperson himself did not comment on current issues with supply chains.

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