On May 31st, Cailian News Agency (Reporter Lu Tingting) “AI servers require higher chip performance and transmission rate, usually requiring the use of high-end GPU graphics cards and higher PCIe standards, which significantly increases the value of AI server PCBs.” Zhou Di, senior engineer at Fangrong Technology and expert at the National Science and Technology Expert Database of the Ministry of Science and Technology, told Cailian News Agency. With the emergence of ChatGPT and the booming AI market, the bullish demand for AI servers has injected vitality into the continuously sluggish PCB market.
The PCB, known as the “mother of the electronic industry”, is an important component of servers, responsible for the functions of server chip base, data transmission, and connection of various components. Listed companies such as Pengding Holdings (002938. SZ), Shenghong Technology (300476. SZ), Shennan Circuit (002916. SZ), and Shanghai Electric Corporation (002463. SZ) all claim to have PCB products applied in the AI server field. Chip upgrades also drive the advancement of the PCB industry. Multiple respondents stated that AI servers have significantly increased requirements for PCB layers and materials.
The market holds optimistic expectations for AI servers. TrendForce Consulting estimates that in 2023, the shipment volume of AI servers (including those equipped with GPUs, FPGAs, ASICs, etc.) will be nearly 1.2 million units, with an annual growth rate of 38.4%, accounting for nearly 9% of the overall server shipment volume. By 2026, it will account for 15%, and the compound annual growth rate of AI server shipment volume from 2022 to 2026 will be adjusted to 22%.
According to data from research institutions, the value of AI server PCBs is 5-6 times that of regular servers.
According to Elvis Hsu, General Manager of the Semiconductor Business Unit of CINNO Research, compared to traditional servers, AI servers not only carry 2 or 4 CPUs, but also the most important thing is to add 4 to 8 GPUs to form GPU module boards. In addition, the current mainstream AI servers adopt a two-layer architecture, which greatly increases the demand for PCB board area, such as SLP, high-order HDI, high-frequency high-speed PCB, etc., which also brings warmth in the sluggish industry cycle. In addition, the FC-BGA packaging carrier board has also grown synchronously due to the increasing demand for GPUs and CPUs, with domestic PCB manufacturers such as Shennan Circuit and Xingsen Technology (002436. SZ) expanding rapidly.
“According to the AI server design scheme, the consumption of CPU and GPU will increase significantly, the optical module and the entire packaging link will benefit, and the quantity of Anylayer HDI and ABF carrier plates will increase significantly,” an industry insider told reporters.
In fact, the AI server business has become a competitive focus for PCB companies. Shenghong Technology has launched multiple high-end HDI, high-end high-frequency high-speed PCB, GPU graphics card PCB, and other AI server related products. When it comes to product shipment, relevant personnel from the company said, “We have already passed the certification before, and now we have the ability to gradually ship.” A person from the Shenzhen Southern Circuit Securities Department said that some of the company’s PCB products have been applied to the AI server field, but