Back in November, we heard that SUMCO, one of the largest silicon wafer producers in the world, was planning to increase prices by 20 percent this year, with another price increase planned in 2019. Now, it looks like other Silicon wafer manufacturers are joining in, with Taiwan's GlobalWafers confirming that prices will increase by 20 percent throughout this year.
SUMCO is a Japanese based company and is responsible for over 60 percent of the world's silicon wafer supply. With a 20 percent price increase, CPU, GPU, DRAM and Flash makers may have taken their business elsewhere, but it looks like they won't necessarily have that opportunity. This week, GlobalWafers Chairwoman, Doris Hsu, informed shareholders that the company would raise prices for silicon wafers by 20 percent this year.
Apparently, the biggest reason for this price increase is a shortage in 12-inch, 300mm wafers, which are traditionally used to build processors, graphics chips and RAM. Given that GPU prices have already risen to ridiculous heights due to crypto-mining, this is an additional blow to DIY PC builders.
Last year when SUMCO revealed its own price hikes, the company estimated that global wafer demands will rise to 6.6 million per month by 2020. Hopefully by then, we'll see production increase but for the time being, it looks like we will be stuck with price hikes as demand outstrips supply.
KitGuru Says: This is terrible news all around really. Building a PC got prohibitively expensive over the course of 2017 and now, it is starting to look like things won't get much easier this year. It is getting more and more difficult to be a tech enthusiast.