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posted by janrinok on Friday January 13 2023, @01:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the infinite-pi dept.

There's almost an "infinite" supply of RP2040 chips:

In a recent episode of Tom's Hardware: The Pi Cast, Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton revealed that 10 million RP2040 chips have been made since 2021 and that there could be more Raspberry Pi stores opening in the future.

Tom's Hardware Editor-in-Chief and The Pi Cast co-host Avram Piltch asked Upton "Why are there no shortage of RP2040 based products?" and Upton's answer "We took some big risks" lead to the revelation that Raspberry Pi purchased 500 wafers in 2021.

From a wafer, the yield is approximately 2000 die for 30mm. Newer chips, such as those in the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W and Raspberry Pi 4 use a 45mm square die, respectively the BCM2710 and BCM2711 packages. From a wafer Raspberry Pi expect to make 1400 die.

Upton then does the math and from 500 wafers, each yielding around 21,000 die, there are around 10 million RP2040 chips.

[...] This "stockpile" of chips from 2021 are what many of us keen Pico users are currently consuming, be it in the form of Raspberry Pi Pico , Pico W or third-party boards. Upton then talks about what is "effectively an infinite supply [of RP2040]" based upon how many die can be created per wafer. This is a refreshing statement, given how global supply chains have been hit by the pandemic.

Related: Raspberry Pi Adds 100,000 Units to Supply Chain, Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels in 2023


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 13 2023, @02:14PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 13 2023, @02:14PM (#1286668)

    Are they useful in missiles or something sexy like that? I'm not sure what the hoopla is about.

    • (Score: 2) by looorg on Friday January 13 2023, @02:54PM

      by looorg (578) on Friday January 13 2023, @02:54PM (#1286684)

      If you are bodging together your own missile perhaps. Don't know if the Russians can put them to good use as replacement for their devices. But they are quite useful in building little devices for old computers, which is mainly what I use my pies for.

      Also ... Infinite Pie .... Mmmmmmm .... Pie ....

    • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Friday January 13 2023, @10:49PM

      by Opportunist (5545) on Friday January 13 2023, @10:49PM (#1286772)

      Well, they are pretty sexy with their programmable I/O pipelines that you can kinda see as some sort of all-purpose interface for whatever, offering you a HDMI, a USB, a serial or whatever else you need there without burdening the (also quite beefy for such a cheap little toy) CPU.

    • (Score: 1) by GloomMower on Saturday January 14 2023, @05:10AM

      by GloomMower (17961) on Saturday January 14 2023, @05:10AM (#1286805)

      It is sort of like an arduino except faster, smaller, and cheaper.

      What happens when things are faster smaller and cheaper. You find more uses for them.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Rich on Friday January 13 2023, @02:17PM

    by Rich (945) on Friday January 13 2023, @02:17PM (#1286670) Journal

    When aggregating the article, the word "square" and the size of the 2040 die were lost. From TFA: The RP2040 has 2mm^2 per die, which makes a bit over 20k dies fit on a wafer. The older BCM SoCs had 30mm^2, for about 2k dies per wafer, and the latest generation's die has 45mm^2, and yields 1400 dies/wafer.

    The point Upton wanted to make for us to take home: They secured ample supply, even for the peripheral components of the Pico. And unsaid: We're supposed to base our designs on the Pico board, because we're supposed to be certain that there won't be supply chain issues.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Ox0000 on Friday January 13 2023, @02:20PM (4 children)

    by Ox0000 (5111) on Friday January 13 2023, @02:20PM (#1286672)

    "Why are there no shortage of RP2040 based products?" and Upton's answer "We took some big risks"

    Yeah you did, and you failed...

    Let me give you a different take: you made the things that people aren't (that) interested in(*) resulting in oversupply and your precious "no shortage". In reality, people want to buy the RPi3/4's at a faster rate than you build them, evidenced by the shortage we've experienced for what, 18 months now? The reason you haven't run out of the RP2040 is because you made more than what the demand was (well done, have a cookie).
    Similarly, you made fewer of the parts that people do want to buy (RPi3/4s).
    Until I can buy those again at reasonable prices, don't come at me with "we took some big risks".

    So yeah, you took some "big risks" and the result of it is that people are unhappy and complain about you because they can only by the components they are interested in at scalper prices.
    This isn't risk taking, this is ignorance of your market!

    Also, reporting on 2021 numbers in 2023 is kinda... lame.

    (*) Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of what they build and I love Pi's. But the level of spin in their answer makes me dizzy.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by canopic jug on Friday January 13 2023, @03:54PM

      by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 13 2023, @03:54PM (#1286695) Journal

      That might be part of it, but the main reason from what I have been reading the last few years is that it is because nearly all of the Pico is made domestically. In contrast the normal credit card sized Raspberry Pi which still had many components made overseas where it got caught up in the supply chain fiasco that everyone else has gotten caught in too. Production is ramping up for the general purpose Raspberry Pis again [raspberrypi.com]. A possible Raspberry Pi 5 won't be around until at least 2024 [tomshardware.com] so that production can focus on the backlog demand for the 4B, 3B, 3A, etc.

      --
      Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by VLM on Friday January 13 2023, @04:07PM (2 children)

      by VLM (445) on Friday January 13 2023, @04:07PM (#1286700)

      Kind of.

      What's going on is the usual hoarding that happens with TP etc. I kinda know a guy who bought years of some shitty arduino chip from 2014, wiped out his entire countries supply, because everything works on zero inventory except paying his bills so he NEEDS to hoard years worth of chips if the crunch will last years and he meanwhile wants to eat.

      If nobody does that there will be no shortage. If anyone does that, no one eats. So HOARD HOARD HOARD!

      What saved the RP2040 is its too new for anyone to need it to eat, its not in any commercial products, not even shitty tindie/etsy products, at least not as of back then.

      The economics are kind of impressive IF the supply is low enough that hoarders can pump n dump the market. If I had $100M laying around, I could "invest" in RP2040s and blow the price up to at least double, then sell for $200M+. This is what's killing the legacy pi's right now, you get a shipment in at adafruit or digikey or wtf.com and "everyone knows" you can buy those for list price $35 or whatever and sell them on ebay/amazon for $150, so if you have nothing better to do than grab nickels from in front of steamrollers you can make some money off the shortage. Just to be perfectly clear, the ONLY way to end the pi shortage is for the pi foundation to sell infinite pi directly at $150 until people stop paying $150 then smoothly crash the price until the speculators and scammers give up. That or dump 10M units on the market at once like they did with the RP2040 and the scammers don't have the capital to pump and dump that many all at once, so the marketplace remains sane... for now...

      Honestly the best thing the pi people could do is dump the legacy pi, its a dead platform now. Nobody has had access to them for years except for scammers so all the innovation is in ESP land or at least not in legacy pi land. Instead of blinking a LED using GPIO calls from a bash shell in linux on a legacy pi, blink LEDs using CircuitPython on a ESP32. Because 1) you can buy pi anyway 2) ESP32 is like $5 vs pi was $40 even when you could buy one, which you probably never will again. 3) frankly its easier to use the ESP32 LOL.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Opportunist on Friday January 13 2023, @10:56PM (1 child)

        by Opportunist (5545) on Friday January 13 2023, @10:56PM (#1286773)

        As long as 150 bucks are being paid for Pis that cost about 35 retail, scalpers could even get away with throwing away 2/3 of the supplies they hoover up to keep their prices stable. I'm fairly sure, as supplies normalize, you'll see them push the price even upwards to make up for lower margins as they have to trash more and more of the Pis they have to buy to keep the shortage going.

        • (Score: 2) by legont on Saturday January 14 2023, @12:05AM

          by legont (4179) on Saturday January 14 2023, @12:05AM (#1286777)

          I mod you up but I just want to second that.

          --
          "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
  • (Score: 2) by legont on Friday January 13 2023, @11:34PM

    by legont (4179) on Friday January 13 2023, @11:34PM (#1286776)

    If one knows where to by Pi4 below $100 please let me know.

    --
    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
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