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DRAMeXchange: Laptop component capacity crunch to persist

Posted: 02 Aug 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:laptop? notebook manufacturer? component undersupply?

Laptop vendors look headed for more challenge in Q3 as the component capacity crunch shows no signs of abetting, according to DRAMeXchange. The chip price tracker said in its latest report that manufacturers should expect shipments to exceed some 26 million for the quarter. This is a 14.4-percent increase from the April-June period, when vendors first began to feel the effects of a tighter supply of LCD panels, batteries, HDDs, casings and certain optical disc drives.

Notebook brands are forecast to especially encounter difficulties in terms of the required laptop components for the third quarter.

In the LCD panel segment, notebook OEMs who had strong working relationships with their LCD suppliers in the past fared better in Q2 than their counterparts.

In the battery segment, not having enough battery cell production capacity contributed to tighter supply for the ended quarter, DRAMeXchange said, although a price increase in relevant metals, including raw materials, were also attributed to the undersupply. While the amount of Li-ion cell batteries set to be produced in 2007 should be enough to equip roughly 96 million portable PCs, manufacturers still face a shortage as batteries are applied in other areas as well, such as mobile devices and tools.

The casing segment has seen current production pushed up to near 100-percent levels, thanks to brisk laptop shipments in Q2. "Notebook makers must be careful with their purchasing and supply plans, or they could be unable to deliver their products on time," the market research firm warned. "Like the battery supply mentioned earlier, notebook manufacturers face a similar capacity crunch in the aluminum casing segment, as they are also applied in cellphones and other products." The plastic casing sector might also be forced to deal with the disparity if laptop makers fail to facilitate timely procurements, it added.

Lastly, DRAMeXchange said the HDD segment should brace for a slow Q3 despite providing a relatively sufficient supply in Q2. It noted that the already high production utilization rates and strong notebook sales growth would affect the production of high-capacity HDD especially.

"Overall, tier-two notebook brands will suffer more serious impact during this tight-supply period. They will face both rising cost and lower than planned shipment volume due to insufficient quantity of components," the report concluded.

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