Now Even Apple Wants to Make Data Center Chips! Which Are the 3 Best Chipmaker Stocks to Buy?

Stocks to buy

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is best known for its consumer electronic products that develop a cult-like following. In fact, the tech stock is a formidable chipmaker. The very first in-house chip appeared in the iPhone 4 way back in 2010. Yet today, all Apple computers run on their own processors.

Apple’s chips are for its own consumption though. They don’t sell them to others. And because it relies upon its own designs, it is no longer beholden to other chipmakers for supply. Now Apple isn’t a foundry. It doesn’t physically make its own processors. As so many others do, it turns that function over to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE:TSM).

But currently, Apple is looking to expand. A recent report in The Wall Street Journal said the tech giant was developing its own chips that are designed to run artificial intelligence (AI) software in data center servers.

Apple Chips in Data Centers are codenamed ACDC. These processors will target AI inference rather than AI training. The difference between them is with training, the processors develop and refine AI algorithms while inference, take already-trained AI algorithms to use real-world data.

Apple isn’t alone. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) are developing custom inference chips to minimize reliance on third-party chipmakers. But with the field growing more crowded which are the best chipmaker stocks to buy? The three companies below easily make the cut.

Nvidia (NVDA)

Source: Ascannio / Shutterstock.com

There is no question Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) has to top the list. Its graphics processing units (GPU) dominate right now with a 98% share of the data center market, according to Wells Fargo. Although that is expected to drop to between 94% and 96% as rivals bring their own processors to market, Nvidia will still be the industry leader.

Nvidia’s GPUs target the training side of the equation. Its original Tesla and Ampere GPUs were designed to tackle the vast computational challenges AI presented. Its next-generation Hopper GPUs took it to the next level. Those had an ability to deliver sixfold more performance than the Ampere chips. The H100 chips are still seen as the foundational base that other chipmakers aspire to teach AI models. Now the latest iteration is the GH200 Grace Hopper Superchip which triples the bandwidth the H100 offered.

But, it is much more expensive, so adoption may not be as quick. For unparalleled power, hyperscalers may choose the GH200. Yet it opens up a wedge for competitors to offer lower cost chips that can more than get the job done. Still, Nvidia remains the premiere AI chipmaker stock to buy.

Arm Holdings (ARM)

Source: Poetra.RH / Shutterstock.com

British chip stock Arm Holdings (NASDAQ:ARM) is not exactly a chipmaker. Rather it develops a chip architecture and a set of instructions that it licenses to customers. Apple’s chips are all ARM processors. The two signed an agreement last year that is extends through 2040 and beyond.

Apple and Arm’s other clients include Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). These companies pay royalties to Arm Holdings on each unit shipped. 

ARM’s low power needs have made the chips exceptionally popular with mobile handset manufacturers. Also, it made them in demand for data centers, where energy consumption is increasingly a concern. The large language model chips from Nvidia, Microsoft and Amazon all run on Arm’s newest V9 technology. While the primary functions of data centers are performed by GPUs, Arm Holdings chips will run alongside them. So, they will benefit from the growth AI is creating in data center demand.

Indeed, because of Nvidia’s data center dominance, you could see ARM become an integral part of data center architecture. Nvidia’s latest, most advanced chip Grace Blackwell Superchip integrates the chipmaker’s GPUs with Arm Holding’s central processing units (CPUs). ARM Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rene Haas told analysts, “I think now with Nvidia’s most recent announcement, Grace Blackwell, you are going to see an acceleration of ARM of the data center in these AI applications.”

Since Arm Holdings works, well, arm-in-arm with these chipmakers it will be a top stock to buy.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSM)

Source: Piotr Swat / Shutterstock.com

If Nvidia and other chipmakers are going to benefit from the rise of AI in data centers, then it’s clear the manufacturer they turn to to actually make the chips must be included as well. As their business grows, so will Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing.

As noted above, Apple isn’t making its own chips. TSM makes them. The same is true for Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD), Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO) and Qualcomm. TSM is the world’s largest chip foundry pureplay. Because of “insatiable” demand for AI chips, the company forecast sales will grow by low- to mid-20% rates this year with AI accounting for low-teen percentages of revenue.

Supply chain issues and capacity constraints have actually held the chipmaker back over the past few years. However, it is building new factories to meet demand. But a second manufacturing plant in Arizona has been put on hold as rising costs and lack of skilled labor dent progress.

Still, TSM just reported a 60% year-over-year (YOY) surge in April sales that also grew 20% jump from March, indicating business is still strong. That makes Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing one of the best chipmaker stocks to buy.

On the date of publication, Rich Duprey did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Rich Duprey has written about stocks and investing for the past 20 years. His articles have appeared on Nasdaq.com, The Motley Fool, and Yahoo! Finance, and he has been referenced by U.S. and international publications, including MarketWatch, Financial Times, Forbes, Fast Company, USA Today, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cheddar News, The Boston Globe, L’Express, and numerous other news outlets.

Articles You May Like

Lucid Stock Investors: Stay Away From This Dead Man Walking Stock
Wall Street Favorites: 3 Renewable Energy Stocks With Strong Buy Ratings for May 2024
Race to the Future: EV Stocks That Will Transform the Way We Drive
Alphabet Stock Sell Alert: Why It’s Time to Ditch Good Ol’ GOOG
Apple Addiction: 3 Fund Managers Doubling Down on AAPL Stock