A $ 1 chip, but important

The display controller It is a fundamental chip that is present in a large number of components and devices, including from graphics cards to processors, APUs, consoles, televisions, smartphones and, ultimately, in almost anything that uses a screen. Without this chip, it would not be possible to manufacture anything that we have listed, and as you may have guessed, it is also present in modern cars equipped with touch screens.

It is not a very well known component, but the importance of the display driver is beyond doubt. We have already talked about it in the previous section, but we are going to deepen with a concrete example. Imagine that you are going to manufacture a graphics card, you have the PCB, the GPU, the graphics memory, the VRM and all the necessary elements, but you cannot get a display driver. You could make such a graphics card, but it wouldn’t work without that component.

The fact is that, despite its importance, its cost is relatively low. According to the latest data that I have been able to consult, the price per unit that a display controller has round about a dollar. They were not difficult to find, and they were not expensive either, but the global pandemic of COVID-19, together with the shortage of the semiconductor market and the high demand for chips, has made them an increasingly demanded component, to such an extent that, in the end, demand has exceeded supply.

Samsung 8K display driver

No display driver, no technology

Let’s be honest, the technology we use today is almost entirely associated with the use of a screen. Are you not convinced? Well think, for a moment, about how you interact with your smartphone, with your tablet, with your PC, with your television, with your car, with your sports bracelet … I don’t have to continue, right?

The display driver has become one of the most important pillars of this technological world that we have created. Without it, practically nothing can be created, and used, and unfortunately the main manufacturing plants of this chip have experienced problems that have ended up affecting their production, which has further exacerbated the shortage of display drivers, and ended up skyrocketing prices.

It goes without saying that an increase in the price of the screen controller would end up affecting, in one way or another, almost all devices, equipment, components and products in general that use a screen, since, as we have said, they need a controller screen to function. We will have to wait to see what impact this shortage has on the general consumer market, but we can be sure that the lack of supply will not be solved in the short term, and that unfortunately this global chip crisis, to which Bloomberg refers with great success, it will remain booming until mid-to-late 2022.

At the moment the market that has been most affected by the shortage of semiconductors has been the one with the graphics cards, but we cannot rule out that the situation ends worsening considerably in other sectors over the next few months. If you need to buy a CPU, an SSD, a smartphone or a tablet, maybe you should do your best to take the step as soon as possible.