Chips make the world go round. Russia has none.

Russia may soon be out of the G-20 due to sanctions. But it will be out of the modern world soon due to lack of chips.

Inside ASML, the company advanced chipmakers use for EUV lithography:

In the southern Dutch town of Veldhoven, near the border with Belgium, sits the only factory capable of assembling a revolutionary machine that’s relied upon by the world’s biggest chipmakers.


Russia has none of these machines needed to make the newest chips. Taiwan Semiconductor,  Intel and samsung have the majority and will not be selling any to Russia.  These companies know what Russian designs look like so trying to get a third party to order for itself will not help Russia.

All they high powered new military machinery require these chips. So Russia can no longer make any more to replace those lost in Ukraine.

It may well find itself unable to remain part of a modern society because it simply cannot make the things expected. How rapidly will it fall so far behind technologically that it may never cover? At least without outside help.

Everything needs chips. But all Russia has are some obsolete foundries that may be 20 years obsolete. Can’t compete when your chips are so many doublings back on Moore’s law (at a very conservative doubling every 2 years, this would be 10 doublings. 1024. A quick peek shows that fits as 20 years ago chips had about 10 million transistors and now have over 10 billion. We are talking Pentium 3 level tech).

More powerful chips are found in everything. Imagine trying to zoom using a 2000-era laptop. It ran at 1 GHz and had total memory of 4 GB!! It used a 250 nanometer  process to make. The ASML is at less than 5 nanometer and shrinking.

The lack of modern chips will destroy the Russia economy faster than anything. Countries in the bottom third of GDP will have more up to date technology.

Image: [Nori Norisa]