Intel Partners Face Shortage Of Broadwell Xeon Processors

Intel partners say data center-bound Broadwell Xeon processors are in short supply.

The partners said that the low- to mid-range Xeons – including the lineups scaling Intel's E5-2609V4 models to its E5-2650V4 models – are impacted.

"Intel distributors have no stock and are saying that they don’t expect any until the end of March or April," said Andrew Kretzer, director of sales and marketing at Bold Data Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based custom system builder.

[Related:Microsoft Deploys Windows Update To Help Undo Intel's Troubled Spectre Patch]

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"The word from the distributors is that Intel believed that the industry would have moved on from Broadwell to its Scalable Processor series by now and so they didn't properly account for the fact that people are still preferring Broadwell and therefore do not have the availability," Kretzer said.

The Broadwell Xeon server CPU lineup is a generation of Intel processors explicitly aimed at data center applications. The company launched its Broadwell Xeon processors in 2016, and in July 2017 rolled out its new Skylake family of server processors, which feature up to 28 processor cores per socket.

An Intel spokesperson confirmed a "tightening in the supply chain for the quarter" but wouldn't detail the exact SKUs and models impacted.

"We had a good quarter across the board … and the demand is high for server CPUs," said the Intel spokesperson. "We are seeing a tightness as it relates to the Broadwell family and we will see that throughout the quarter.

"We're also seeing lots of interest with customers who are moving to our current generation Skylake products."

Intel did not comment on when it expects these Broadwell Xeon models level out. Partners said that they were told the shortage would last for the remainder of the quarter and possibly through April. They said that Intel had notified their authorized distributors verbally as well as their direct customers.

"Stock is very tight and limited particularly on [specific] models," said Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based Intel partner. "We feel the shortage is a normal occurrence as Intel transitions manufacturing capacity from previous generations to the current generation product."

The supply shortage is the second issue involving Broadwell processors in as many weeks. Last week Intel told customers and partners to cease deployments of the company's patches for the Spectre exploit after it acknowledged the patch was creating reboot issues for systems with specific chips.

The impacted CPUs included Broadwell, Haswell, Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake and Kaby Lake platforms.

Intel said in a post last week that it has "now identified the root cause for Broadwell and Haswell platforms, and made good progress in developing a solution to address it."

The company said it has started rolling out an early version of the updated solution to partners for testing and will make a final release that will become available after the testing has been completed.