Commodities Analyzed: ASICs, Chipsets, MCUs, MPUs & PLDs

Welcome to the second article in our new Commodities Analyzed series! In this series, we take a deeper look at data and analysis from Supplyframe Commodity IQ’s recent mid-quarter summary, offering a look at what users can expect and learn from the information available to them.

In this second part, we look at ASICs, chipsets, MCUs, MPUs, and PLDs, offering a combination of real-world data, deep expert analysis, and a better understanding of how key metrics like lead times, pricing, and availability will shift for this commodity in 2023. If you missed our first article on analog components, click here to learn more!

ASICs, Chipsets, MCUs, MPUs & PLDs Overview 

ASICs are integrated circuit chips customized for a specific use that generally involves controlling how an electronic device functions. For example, ASICs are used in cell phones, avionics, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and electronic toys. According to one market researcher, the increasing number of smart devices will drive demand for ASICs in 2023.

Chipsets are electronic components in integrated circuits that manage data flow between the processor, memory, and peripherals. They are usually found on the motherboard. Chipsets control communications between the microprocessor and external devices and determine system performance.

Automotive-grade and high-end semiconductors, including chipsets, were heavily constrained in early 2023. According to Jabil, most of these high-end components are on allocation, with lead times averaging 52 to 78 weeks.

MCUs are small computers placed on VLSI chips that control CPUs, memory, and programmable peripherals. They are designed for embedded applications, unlike microprocessors used in personal computers and other general-purpose applications that consist of various discrete chips. According to the SIA, the automotive sector is the largest MCU market and will continue to drive strong MCU demand growth. 

GPUs are specialized electronic circuits that manipulate and alter memory to accelerate the creation of images in a frame buffer intended for output to a display device. GPUs are used in embedded systems, mobile phones, personal computers, workstations, and game consoles. Their parallel structure makes them more efficient than general-purpose CPUs. According to one market researcher, global shipments of servers equipped with GPUs for AI acceleration are forecast to grow 8% in 2023.

MPUs implement the core elements of a computer system on one or more ICs designed for processing digital data. Specialized MPUs may also serve as GPUs, MCUs, DSPs, and neural processing units (NPUs). Global MPU design is expected to reach over two times the index baseline set in June 2022, bolstering optimism for the server and data center market in H2 2023, according to Commodity IQ.

PLDs are forecast to post a healthy 9% CAGR in 2023, driven mainly by the deployment of base stations and more mobile communication equipment for high-speed connectivity technologies such as 4G-LTE and 5G. 

Market Trends 

  • Commodity IQ forecasts rising prices for most MCUs through H1 2023. The market is expected to flatten in H2 2023 as MCU demand slows.
  • Automotive MCU suppliers STMicroelectronics, NXP, and Renesas have increased or will soon increase pricing.
  • MCU and MPU pricing was up 6% in 2022, with MCUs forecast to rise by over 8% in Q1 2023 and MPUs to remain below the baseline of the CIQ Price Index.
  • Like analog, power management, and RF devices, MCUs continue to suffer from a lack of 200-mm capacity, which will remain tight into H1 2024, as will the supply of 200-mm wafers.
  • GPU manufacturer Nvidia is flexible on pricing after encouraging distribution, enterprises, OEMs, and hyperscalers to pull in orders for January to counteract lowered Chinese demand.
  • Taken together year-on-year for 2022, MCUs and MPUs saw a drop in demand of 2% and a 3% reduction in design activities
  • According to one market researcher, global shipments of servers equipped with general-purpose GPUs for AI acceleration are expected to rise 8% in 2023. The increase contrasts with the performance of the overall server market, with sales expected to decline or increase moderately in 2023.
  • U.S. chipmaker Marvell Technology said it would eliminate some jobs at its China R&D facility in response to the Biden administration’s October 2022 announcement of new export controls on high-end components to Chinese companies. This announcement has escalated tensions between the two countries.
  • Semiconductor suppliers will continue to defocus legacy devices by increasing pricing and accelerating end-of-life announcements.
  • After dropping by nearly 30% in Q4 2022, demand activities for MCUs are forecast to double from December 2022, reaching three and a half times the Commodity IQ Demand Index baseline in February and on par with Q1 2021 when global industrial production nearly quadrupled.

How Supplyframe analyzes the market for ASICs, chipsets, MCUs, MPUs & PLDs

Supplyframe Commodity IQ tracks and forecasts market dynamics, prices, and lead times every quarter for ASICs, chipsets, MCUs, MPUs, and PLDs. Commodity IQ also forecasts component design and demand trends and production volumes for all categories.  

ODM growth may not reappear until 2024. Year-on-year growth in PC shipments for 2022 is negative, in the 16% range, with potential further contractions this year. The memory chip market is projected to be $112 billion in 2023, a 17% drop compared to 2022. 

U.S. export controls are taking a toll on China’s semiconductor business, with chip import shipments dropping by 27% during the first two months of 2023 and exports falling by 21%, according to China’s customs data.

What could this kind of intelligence do for your organization? How would you use this information to make smarter, more profitable decisions? Now, imagine if you had known about this months in advance. Commodity IQ is a powerful way to see risk in your sourcing and act on it with a proactive mindset. 

Users recently received their first mid-quarter summary, with more to come. Visit Supplyframe.com to learn more and download your free sample report!

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