i.MX 8M Quad: availability and prices in 2022

In April 2021, @amosbatto kindly gave us this summary:

PS: Right now if you search for the i.MX 8M Quad, it has gotten a lot more expensive:

  • Mouser : 23 in stock, $58.91 for 1, $57.24 in lot of 10, 27 weeks lead time
  • Arrow: None in stock, $41.72 in lot of 90, 26 weeks lead time
  • Digi-Key: 26 in stock, $78.70 for 1, 26 weeks lead time

Fast forward 12 months, here’s the current situation as of April 2022:

  • Mouser: None in stock, $74.21 for 1 (up 26%), $62.97 in lot of 5 (up 10%), 53 weeks lead time (up 100%)
  • Arrow: None in stock, $52.47 in lot of 90 (up 26%), 52 weeks lead time (up 100%)
  • Digi-Key: None in stock, $86.57 for 1 (up 10%), 52 weeks lead time (up 100%)

Notably, Mouser claims that they have a lot of 90 on back order with a lead time of only 11 weeks.
(On the other hand: I figure that Purism’s folks are perfectly aware of that, and even in the absurdly unlikely case Purism managed to secure the whole lot of 90 for us, it’d hardly be a drop in the ocean even then.)

Two things I’d really love to know:

  1. What are the major causes for this ongoing disruption?

  2. What course of action, by anyone along the supply chain between NXP’s supplier’s fabs and Purism’s purchasing staff and their giant competitors, could possibly help the i.MX 8M’s availability improve?


The global chip shortage is mostly for older planar nodes, but few companies are willing to invest in building new 40nm or 28nm fabs, and it is hard to increase production in the old fabs when they are already running at 100% capacity. At a time when the production capacity for older nodes is fixed, there has been a large increase in demand for electronics products due to the pandemic. Now every electronics device maker has over-ordered in an attempt to secure enough parts to keep their own production going, so the chip design companies have placed huge orders with the fabs, which can’t keep up with the demand. Another factor is that the chip design companies and the chip fabs are raising prices and demanding upfront payments for future production.

The Librem 5 has been hit particularly hard, because NXP caters to the automotive industry, which has suffered worse parts shortages than most other industries, because they tend to use the older planar nodes and they need parts with long-term support. NXP promises 15 years of production for the i.MX 8M series, so Purism is competing for parts with big automotive companies, which are NXP’s bread and butter. It is not like Purism can call up NXP and convince them to send them a rush batch of the i.MX 8M Quad, when NXP has Ford and VW screaming at them for parts.

Purism can use a different kind of RAM and maybe change other parts like the sensors, but I don’t think that there is much that Purism can do about the i.MX 8M Quad processor, except place its orders and wait. Occasionally, the electronics suppliers get their hands on small amounts of the i.MX 8M Quad and sell them at inflated prices, so Purism can snatch those up when they appear for sale, but the amounts are so small, that I don’t think it helps with the L5, but maybe it helps with the L5USA.

The other possibility is to completely redesign the L5 to use another chip, but all the available options (RK3399, RK3566, i.MX 8M Plus, S922X) have drawbacks in terms of Linux support or power consumption, and it would probably take longer to redesign the L5 than simply wait for the i.MX 8M Quad.


Thank you @amosbatto, that’s super insightful!

So let’s hope that 2023 is going to be kinder to the Librem. A few signs are already there:

TSMC built the world’s first 28nm fab in 2011, and last year invested in a new 22/28nm factory in Japan, and is expanding capacity in Nanjing, China. Rival chip manufacturers are also increasing their 28nm capacity; SMIC last year started building a 28nm fab that will begin operation in 2022.


Analyst firms believe chip shortages will end sometime in 2023, and IDC has predicted an oversupply scenario emerging.

This oversupply issue may in particular hit the 28nm node […].

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Update: Arrow says they have 90 in stock right now.

This is the first time I’ve seen the CPU in stock anywhere, ever.
Pinging @Kyle_Rankin and @nicole.faerber – I’m sure your folks are well aware of this but still pinging just on the off-chance they’re not.

(One of Purism’s posts once said they’d spot buy the chip wherever it makes sense. I’m seeing the lot of 90 CPUs still in stock though.)

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The iMX8 CPU was just the most prominent and obviously most important chip we need. The really daunting thing with hardware is, if you miss just one piece the whole production is jammed. So quite naturally the iMX8 was a super scary part, one that we can not replace with another CPU.

Over the course of the last months we have put a lot of effort and also a lot more money behind sourcing parts. We used chip brokers and other sources to cobble together what we could, sometimes paying multiples of the regular distribution price. But also distribution prices have gone up significantly.

With these efforts we have been and will be able to make more phones. We have been pretty consistently shipping phones every week for the past almost half year.

But yes, far less than we would need to and what we would want to :frowning: Maybe as a silver lining, we are right now preparing a next batch for July, if everything works out as we can currently foresee it and what has been confirmed to us by our suppliers.

But please do not cast this in stone! Right now the market is super fragile and unstable. Even comparably small things like a thunderstorm somewhere, a stuck ship in some canal, another COVID lockdown etc. can have long lasting and disastrous ripple effects on the industry since stock / inventory is super low everywhere, there are currently zero reserves.

So the only thing we can ask you for is to stay patient. We are fighting hard every day to get the parts in order to get you the phone (and the other products).



Yes, more contrived/engineered disasters. Let’s hope common sense prevails.

Thanks @nicole.faerber for sharing those insights. I appreciate that you took the time to explain. A little reassurance goes a long way.

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