Rumour: AMD facing 40nm chip shortage

With the current steady flow of DX11 chips streaming into shops, it looked as though the worst of the 40nm chip shortage was over. However, the grapevine is currently buzzing with reports that AMD is facing supply constraints again.

Taiwanese tech site DigiTimes has been chatting with sources in the graphics industry, who point out that there's only so much 40nm production space that TSMC can share around its clients. Nvidia will apparently be given priority in the second half of 2010.

According to the sources, Nvidia has already pre-booked a large amount of TSMC's production capacity to accommodate the launch of its forthcoming GF104, GF106 and GF108 Fermi chips.

Nvidia is believed to be introducing its new GeForce GTX 460 graphics chip later this month, which is rumoured to be based on the new GF104 chip. However, the green team is also reportedly planning to churn out several other new Fermi-based chips to cover the budget and mid-range segments over the next three months too.

TSMC's problems with 40nm volume production made it very difficult to get hold of AMD's Radeon HD 5000-series chips when they were first released, and they also resulted in a delay of several months for Nvidia's first Fermi chips.

Although the supply problems seem to be over at the moment, the initial issues will still have affected the overall stock. As such, it's quite possible that there could be a further shortage of 40nm AMD GPUs if TSMC is indeed going to prioritise production for Nvidia chips over the summer.