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The chip shortage looks poised to hit Tiger Lake-based PCs in the Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports next

A USB-PD controller. (Source: Texas Instruments)
A USB-PD controller. (Source: Texas Instruments)
The current silicon crisis is often perceived as bad news for CPU and GPU supplies worldwide. However, a new report highlights the point that its ramifications might be more widespread than that. It indicates that disrupted sales of a controller chip necessary for working USB 4/Thunderbolt 4 might lead to a lack of PCs with 11th-gen Intel processors next, or to OEMs resorting to releasing the same machines without this spec.

The prevailing "chip shortage" climate is currently regarded as a major factor in the profound lack of graphics cards and processors, particularly those of the newer and more powerful varieties, experienced by consumers in droves worldwide. However, a new Igor's Lab article suggests that the situation might get more granular and, thus, even more pervasive, soon.

It asserts that the 'silicon crisis' is now set to impact on the supply of other chips that, while incapable of running whole computers, are still potentially crucial for certain in-demand specs and features. They include the upgrade to USB 4/Thunderbolt 4 with which the Tiger Lake platform is often hyped.

It is ideally capable of high-capacity charging thanks to the Power Delivery (USB-PD) standard, as well as high-bandwidth data transfer. This is dependent on dedicated controller chips, made by companies such as Cypress or Texas Instruments (TI), and are responsible for recognizing an external type-C device as compatible with USB 4, DisplayPort, or Thunderbolt 4 and, thus, granting access to system power at necessary levels.

One example of these controllers, the TI TPS65994ADRSLR, is indeed out of stock at the moment. Igor's Lab also now claims to have heard from industry sources that this might affect the supply and sale of fully USB 4-enabled PCs as a result.

The ASUS ZenBook Flip S13 is one machine supposed to have Thunderbolt 4.


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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 06 > The chip shortage looks poised to hit Tiger Lake-based PCs in the Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports next
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-06- 8 (Update: 2021-06- 8)