It’s the Chips!


Why do some computers cost more than others?


Remember when your mother made chocolate chip cookies and right out of the oven, when they were cooling, she said you could have ONE and only ONE. Remember how you scrutinized the cookies for the best ONE! It was so difficult because you couldn’t see the backside!

findingbestThere is so much to consider! Why ?

Because it’s impossible to make two cookies the same!

Some will have more chocolate chips than the others. Some will taste sweeter than the others. For some, the taste will not be the same throughout the cookie. Some will be a little over cooked than the others. Remember that great wisdom of cookie selection; never take a cookie that was on the sides of the cookie sheet!

Always there was 2 great cookies on the sheet and two bad ones (I’d still eat them 🙂 ) and all the rest average.

Yes!, I always do this blog before I eat, why do you ask?

Anyway, every computer is made with chips, not chocolate but silicon. The most intriguing aspect of the process is that that the production is similar to the making of cookies or lasagna. A layer of conductive material is very thinly sprayed over the foundational etched base of the disk which is like the cookie sheet. Then that layer is baked for days then another layer is thinly sprayed and baked again then another then another so the process is duplicated until the final layer is baked on six to nine months later. When it is finished it looks like a giant pizza made of little squares.


A computerized laser cuts out each little square which then are delecately separated and transported to be tested individually.

Amazingly like the chocolate chip cookies each cut out piece is different from the others.

80 percent of the yield will be center of the design specifications while 10 percent will be on the high end  and 10 percent will be on the low end.

Just like the chocolate chip cookies!



After testing and classification the chips are sent to be packaged (those little black chips with all the pins on the side).


Now comes the most amazing part of the chip production the attachment of the leads of the packaging to the silicon Chip.

Tiny microscopic bacteria with soldering guns attach the leads….. I know, I know you smell something huh? 🙂

Well let me try it again…. Because the lead wires are soooo small human hands just can not do it.

Why because we can’t see bacteria and these leads are 100 times smaller ! It is done with the computer, how? I don’t know and those who do know don’t tell (they don’t tell me).

Here is the electron microscope image of the attachment of the leads to the silicon chip.


This precision is astounding!

This is science fiction happening now!

This picture blows me away.

I digress, lets get back to why computers are different prices.

Chips are priced for the yield, that is, as to what level of response the technicians get from the testing. 

The 80 percent or majority would be the average price of the chip, but the 10 percent on the high end of the testing would be priced higher or come with a premium price. While the 10 percent of the chips that when tested were at the bottom would be priced at a discount or ….. Hmmm…. shall we say value priced 🙂

 Remember the chips ARE your computer. Wether we are talking about the CPU or Chipset or Video or I/O or memory we are still talking silicon chips.  What if your brand new computer was made exclusively from the top 10 percent, what would be the price?  $5,000.00 !

What if your brand new computer was made from the average or middle or center of production specifications the 80 percent of yield? $2500.00

What if your computer was made from the lower or bottom end of the scale? $1200.00

NOW remember that each year after production the price of the chips halves. Therefore the overall computer which is made of chips would have  to drop in price accordingly. So a $5,000.00 computer that was one year old would be $2500.00 after two years of age would be $1200.00, after 3 years $600.00.

At the bakery what is the cost of fresh bread? What is the cost of day old bread? Two day old bread?

Yesterday, one of my clients that I care about told me he can get a NEW computer for $300 !  I didn’t know what to say. I tried to tell him for what he needed, that it was not a good idea, but he bought it anyway. Did he have problems? Yes. Did he remember that I told him it was a bad idea for what he was going to use it for? No. What quality and age of the chips do you think that computer was made of?

OK now that we have the basics lets think about building a computer! If it is a server does the video matter? how about response time of the mouse or keyboard? Why? because what is important is the processor, memory and I/O these must be current and in the top 10 percent especially for the Internet with 100 percent up-time required. So do all the chips have to be within 1 year of age? But all have to be the top percentage.

Why does the notebook computer cost twice as much as a desktop? It’s the Chips!The majority of the chips have to be in the top 10 percent of yield to able to with stand high temperatures and impact (getting hit or dropped). You see how this all begins to make sense?

 Now for the big question What do I go and eat, pizza or lasagna? I am not sure but for desert cookies with chocolate chips! Hey its the CHIPS!


One Response to It’s the Chips!

  1. Toll Free says:

    In most occassions I do not make a comment on blogs, but I have to say that this post really forced me to do so. Really nice post!

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