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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: 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.

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  • (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.