back to article Dell bigwig: Expect another 6 months of supply woes. Oh, hello Windows 11

Semiconductor supply chain problems are set to continue for at least another six months, according to Dell UK senior vice president and GM, Dayne Turbitt, who pointed to a surprising culprit amid surging demand. "The silicon," he said, "has been consumed by all the vials for the vaccine," as he responded to a question from The …

  1. fandom

    "a collection of kit that's now two years old"

    So? That's pretty good kit.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: "a collection of kit that's now two years old"

      Look at this pendulum and repeat after me: "I will change my smartphone and my laptop every year. Holding on to old, crufty kit is simply gross. New and shiny is the best. I must have the latest. Only the latest is good enough for me. Because I'm worth it. I will change my smartphone and my laptop every year."

      Now grab your wallet and run along.

    2. cornetman Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: "a collection of kit that's now two years old"

      > "And most corporations run their assets between a three and a five year lifespan so some of those assets will now be seven years old.

      I came here to say pretty much the same thing.

      After 2 years, you've weeded out the lemons and are left with relatively reliable kit.

      Why kick all that good kit out to take the chance of getting a load more lemons again?

    3. GroovyLama

      Re: "a collection of kit that's now two years old"

      I'd look at it another way. It means there will be a lot of decently specced business hardware entering the refurbished market when that upgrade cycle starts, which will be good for the savvy amongst us.

      I might even finally decide to replace the 19 year old Dell Inspiron laptop I gave the kids. They're 5 and coming up to 3, so an air gapped laptop with Puppy Linux has been good enough for them to use with some basic typing and drawing apps. I'm starting to lose them to Youtube and Netflix now though...

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "there are about 700 million PCs out there that are older than four years"

    And most of them are likely very capable of handling a Zoom call and an Excel spreadsheet at the same time. It's more than likely that it's the Internet bandwidth that is an issue, not the CPU power.

    No, Dell, you're not going to renew 700 million desktop PCs this year. Nor next year.

    1. Scott Broukell

      Re: "there are about 700 million PCs out there that are older than four years"

      But . . but . . what am I to do! When the level1 and level2 cache is full up on my cpu, I throw the whole thing away into landfill and buy a brand new one! It degrades performance you know! (joke)

  3. Jay 2

    Back when Vista launched MS and the hardware suppliers all decided to collude to ship more kit via a combo of hardware requirements and a sudden lack of Vista drivers for (older) kit. For me this was the the straw that broke the camel's back when it can to running Windows at home. I took it as a good time to jump to Mac where my scanner still worked.

    I'm starting to get those vibes again with the TPM 2.0 and, of course, all the hardware manufacturers rubbing their hands together. I suspect a lot of people may hold out as long as they can, with some potentially jumping to Mac/Linux if they can get away with it.

    1. Lon24 Silver badge

      #MeToo

      It was Vista that made us go Linux - not Linux!

      But for those that stuck with Windows Vista and its children I guess nothing will make them desert Redmondia. Which is good news for us Linux users in a year or two looking for really good and cheap ex-corporate hardware ejected onto the market by the son of ten.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: #MeToo

        Not XP which started the phone home moves?

      2. Tim99 Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: #MeToo

        It was looking at the code in Vista that finally persuaded me to structure my life so I could retire.

        >>=======>No Joke icon, I'm serious, it really was...

  4. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    If you look around various places on the Internet, it appears that the situation regarding Windows 11 may actually be worse than we're thinking at the moment.

    Apparently, Microsoft published a Windows 11 compatibility checker tool, since removed from their websites that says that not only the things that have been mentioned are required, but also says that you need an Intel 8th generation Core, or AMD Ryzen 3 processor to run Windows 11, and this all looks a bit like an arbitrary decision on Microsoft's part. There's been a lot of speculation about why this is, but my guess is that they want to avoid processors with the secure enclave vulnerabilities, which have only been fixed in the most recent Intel silicon. GaryExplains on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrH4zEBmztc) has a good video of his experiences with the tool and the systems he tried it on.

    It is still quite possible to buy systems with 7th generation Core or Ryzen2 processors, or even the processors themselves as upgrades to older systems, so I think this will cause all sorts of barriers for people with recently purchased kit as well.

    You cannot rely on whether the insider pre-release versions run on your hardware to be an indicator. These builds no not enforce the requirements that the production build will have.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      That's actually a pretty good thought. That's the first plausible and intelligent reason for the "insane" W11 specs I've seen.

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    It's not just high end parts

    I've been trying to get hold of small - hobby - quantities of ARM M0+ chips and there are literally none to be had. Everyone is quoting deliveries in November if you're lucky and in March or April if you're not.

    And even commodity op-amps seem a bit thin on the ground.

    1. Dr. Vagmeister

      Re: It's not just high end parts

      Agreed. I was looking at Dell laptops, and their 17" Inspiron's are not available in the UK.

      I was also having trouble obtaining the IRFI4020 for my class D amplifier, and Nov 2021 is the delivery date, but luckily i obtained them from RS, as they were out of stock for months, so some have just come in.

      Strangely, same for some capacitors too, next year delivery on 1% tolerances in some areas.

  6. Scott Broukell

    I suppose it would be too sensible to imagine that all those billions of vials, or atleast a large proportion of them, are being recycled into new vials or even semi-conductors (if that's even possible), etc. Just a thought.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      That statement struck an entirely false note with me. Glass, when it's not recycled, is made from sand - silicon dioxide, not neat silicon. I doubt the the glass-making industry and wafer producing industries have many steps in common other than sourcing sand. Is he telling us there's a world shortage of sand?

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Well, there's plenty of sand around, but are you saying you'd be happy to have a dead jellyfish, rotting bladderwrack, or discarded condom embedded in your next CPU?

        1. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

          I'm sure that glass vials are part of the story, but I really doubt glass vials had such a major impact. Global sand use is ~50bn tons of sand, I seriously doubt glass vials even in a quantity of 10bn would touch that.

          But sand raw materials have their own sustainability issues. Heck, you often can't use desert sand (for CPUs probably impurities, for construction the shape of the sand is different) and there are literal sand mafias in Asia/Africa illegally "mining" sand from anywhere they can.

          In my head, it's just one of those perfect storm situations. Covid meant productivity was down, working from home created a step change in demand, Taiwan had a drought (TSMC use tens of millions of kg of water per day) + it's hard to build sub 8nm CPU factories.

          Glass vials? Pfft. I'm sure it's a minor factor, but really?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Down and dirty

        Food is made from dirt. The process takes time and energy and care. Your tastes may differ, but requirements for selling food mean no insects, no fungus, no dirt (!), etc. But you'd say it's just made from dirt. Kinda reductionistic.

        Anyway, yes, vials and syringes have insanely detailed requirements for manufacturing. For the vials, think about ensuring that glass can be: sturdy enough for manufacturing, for shipping to fill, for filling, sturdy enough for flash freezing to -80C, shipping at that temperature, then warming, all while guaranteed totally sterile and clean.

        One vial explodes or cracks and they might have to throw out the whole lot. They don't take chances with reputation when imaginations are so fevered.

        Yes, there's a world shortage of time, energy, and *smarts* most of all.

        Oh, and yes, there's a shortage of sand. Read up on "sand theft".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Down and dirty

          You're trying to sound smart, but yes silicon chips and glass are made out of different raw materials.

          The world produces vastly more tonnes of glass than silicon chips. I think the cost silicon chips vs the cost of glass vials would be a hint that availability of raw materials isn't the constraint.

          The actual problem is everyone wanting the new <11nm chips which only a few factories make.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Down and dirty

          "Food is made from dirt."

          To be pedantic, it's grown in soil or fed from stuff that's grown in soil. Only a small proportion of it is actually derived from a component of the soil (apart from the water which was only passing through). I've never understood why the uppermost geological layer gets called dirt.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: Down and dirty

            > I've never understood why the uppermost geological layer gets called dirt.

            Out of pique I guess? When it's valuable substrate to grow stuff on/in, we call it "soil". when it gets moved and ends up on/in places you doesn't want it, it gets called "dirt"?

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