NAND flash prices have been inflating excessively lately and Phison Electronics chairman Khein Seng Pua warned that prices are set to go up again in the third quarter as end-market demand surges.
He told Digitimes that while prices might decrease a little in the second quarter, Chipmakers’ ongoing transition from 2D to 3D NAND memory has led to tight supply and inflated the chip prices.
System OEMs are reluctant to deliver their products as the more they sell the more they lose due to soaring NAND flash costs, Pua warned.
Meanwhile, chipmakers’ supply to channel distributors has been falling short of demand prompting the distributors to promote lower-capacity storage devices.
“Channel distributors particularly those in China have turned to promote 96GB SSDs instead of 128GB ones due to insufficient chip supply,” Pua said.
Distributors have even experienced tight supply of 8GB and 4GB eMMC devices.
Pua believes NAND flash prices will soon see correction following excessive gains but Apple’s new iPhone will take a lot of NAND flash from the market and push prices up again.
Chipmakers’ transition to 3D NAND memory will become smooth in general between May and June, which will help ease the supply shortages, Pua indicated.
The industry’s output of 64-layer 3D NAND will account for more than half of the total output in the fourth quarter of 2017 Pua said.
You might seen we’ve writing about millimeter waves several times. and we usually attributed this term to 5G. AMD has just acquired Nitero, a millimeter wave company that wants to use this technology to cut the cord on your VR and AR headset.
AMD has figured out that cables are a very limiting factor in a Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality. This is not a big secret as even if you only had a few minutes to play with one, you quickly realize that making things wireless is more comfortable.
The acquisition provides AMD with a broader portfolio of IP capable of enabling VR headset and solution providers with key technology required to create more immersive computing experiences.
Mark Papermaster, AMD chief technology officer and senior vice president said:
“Unwieldly headset cables remain a significant barrier to drive widespread adoption of VR. Our newly acquired wireless VR technology is focused on solving this challenge, and is another example of AMD making long-term technology investments to develop high-performance computing and graphics technologies that can create more immersive computing experiences.”
Nitero has designed a phased-array beamforming millimeter wave chip to address the challenges facing wireless VR and AR. This is the same frequency that Intel and Qualcomm will use for Wi-Gig. This enables very fast speeds within a room, but due to its high frequency the signal won’t really penetrate any walls.
This is not that important for the VR and AR markets as we don’t see a case where you need to leave an office or a room with the VR / AR headset on.
The 60GHz technology has the potential to enable multi-gigabit transmit performance with low latency in room-scale VR environments. It will rely heavily on the beamforming characteristics to solve the requirement for line-of-sight associated with traditional high-frequency mm-wave systems. The main goal is potentially eliminating wired VR headsets and letting users to become more easily immersed in virtual and augmented worlds.
Nitero co-founder and CEO Pat Kelly said:
“Our world class engineering team has been focused on solving the difficult problem of building wireless VR technologies that can be integrated into next-generation headsets. We are excited to play a role in furthering AMD’s long-term technology vision.”
Pat joined AMD as corporate vice president, Wireless IP highlighting the importance of the whole acquisition and the whole technology potential. Fudzilla calls this a step in the right direction.
AMD has released a new custom “balanced” power plan for those using Ryzen CPU on Windows 10 OS.
Until today, AMD Ryzen CPU users were limited to using the “high performance” plan in Windows 10 OS, at least if they want to get most performance out of their Ryzen CPU. Now, AMD has released a new tweaked “balanced” power plan that should provide a compromise between performance and power efficiency which “automatically balances performance with energy consumption on capable hardware”.
According to the explanation posted by AMD’s Robert Hallock, the new power plan reduces the times and thresholds for P-state transition in order to improve clockspeed ramping as well as disables core parking for “more wakeful cores”.
These tweaks are apparently enough for the new plan to provide similar performance to the Microsoft’s “high performance” power plan setting, at least according to AMD’s own slides. As far as power is concerned, the new balanced power plan does not change how the processor handles low-power idle states, so basically, you’ll get additional performance without compromising the power efficiency.
The new balanced plan is quite simple to install and you can find both the download link as well as check out further explanation over at AMD’s community blog. AMD will also include the final power plan with next AMD chipset drivers for Ryzen CPUs.
The myth that Macs are somehow more secure than other operating systems appears to be a myth according to a Threat Report by McAfee Labs.
Attacks on Macs have risen by 744 percent in 2016 and there are more than 460,000 malware samples on Mac machines found. Although this is not a particularly high number you have to acknowledge that this is one security company and on a single machine.
It appears that after years of leaving Macs alone, virus writers are suddenly taking an interest in knocking them over and the security by obscurity measures, along with faith-based defences are not working.
The Tame Apple Press has rushed to say that “despite the dramatic increase in macOS malware attacks, Mac owners need not be too alarmed”.
One newspaper even said that the attacks were just irritating and not like the “true malware attacks” that Windows users have to suffer.
Most of the attacks were just adware which automatically generates and displays advertising material, including banners or pop-ups, whenever a user is online, the Tame Apple Press tried to reassure Apple fanboys.
Last summer, Mac owners were warned about a new malware dubbed Backdoor.MAC.Elanor – a nasty piece of code that infects the OS X operating system and gives hackers complete access to the files on the computer.
After launching the Ryzen 7 CPU lineup, AMD will launch its mainstream Ryzen 5 lineup in just under a week, but today we have additional information about an entry-level Ryzen 3 SKU, the Ryzen 3 1200.
Scheduled to launch sometime in the second half of this year, the Ryzen 3 lineup will compete well against Intel’s Core i3 dual-core lineup. It is still not clear if AMD will include dual-core SKUs in its Ryzen 3 lineup, but it is most likely that all will be quad-core SKUs with and without SMT-enabled. Earlier rumors also suggest that there will be a Ryzen 3 1200X SKU that should be similar but with support for XFR (eXtended Frequency Range) technology, which may give it a further overclocking boost.
According to details leaked by ASRock’s support page and originally spotted by Computerbase.de, the Ryzen 3 1200 SKU works at 3.1GHz frequency (most likely 3.4GHz Turbo) and has a 65W TDP.
Blizzard Entertainment has asked for $8.5 million in damages from Bossland, a German company that makes and sells cheats and hacks for its most popular games.
This is the latest and probably final step in a legal complaint Blizzard filed in July 2016, which accused Bossland of copyright infringement and millions of dollars in lost sales, among other charges. Cheat software like Bossland’s Honorbuddy and Demonbuddy, Blizzard argued, ruins the experience of its products for other players.
According to Torrent Freak, Bossland’s attempt to have the case dismissed due to a lack of jurisdiction failed, after which it became unresponsive. It also failed to respond to a 24-hour ultimatum to respond from the court, and so Blizzard has filed a motion for default judgement.
The $8.5 million payment was calculated based on Blizzard’s sales projections for the infringing products. Bossland had previously admitted to selling 118,939 products to people in the United States since July 2013, of which Blizzard believes a minimum of 36% related to its games.
“In this case, Blizzard is only seeking the minimum statutory damages of $200 per infringement, for a total of $8,563,600.00,” the motion document stated. “While Blizzard would surely be entitled to seek a larger amount, Blizzard seeks only minimum statutory damages.
“Notably, $200 approximates the cost of a one-year license for the Bossland Hacks. So, it is very likely that Bossland actually received far more than $8 million in connection with its sale of the Bossland Hacks.”
Update: The court has granted Blizzard’s motion for default judgement, ordering Bossland to pay $8.56 million in damages.
That number was calculated based on 42,818 sales of Bossland’s products in the US. The court ruled that the German company should not be allowed to sell Honornuddy, Demonbuddy, Stormbuddy, Hearthbuddy and Watchover Tyrant in the country from now on, as well as any future products that exploit Blizzard’s games. Bossland will also have to pay $174,872 in attorneys’ fees.
Last week, the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association announced that it now has a full standard for the widely anticipated DDR5 memory that is expected to arrive in June 2018, based on new Hybrid DIMM technologies such as NVDIMM-P, which is intended to give servers the ability to store RAM data in between reboots.
DDR5 to use 3D chip stacking with TSVs
As with any new forecasted memory standard, the association says that DDR5 (Double Data Rate 5) memory will offer improved performance with greater power efficiency as compared to previous generation DRAM technologies. DDR5 will provide double the bandwidth and density of DDR4 along with improved channel efficiency, making it ideal for high performance combined with improved power management and cost savings.
DDR5 is expected to become the industry’s first DIMM approach that will include 3D chip stacking using through-silicon vias (TSVs), similar to what Toshiba has been doing with NAND flash since 2015. Since TSVs can be placed anywhere on the chip rather than just at the edge, it’s easy to implement a wide data bus with higher performance and low-power through shorter distances.
NVDIMM-P: Combining NVM or NAND flash with DRAM memory space
Mian Quddus, Chairman of the JEDEC Board of Directors, said that increasing server performance requirements are driving the need for more advanced technologies, and the standardization of next generation memory such as DDR5 and the new generation persistent modules NVDIMM-P will be essential to fulfilling those needs.
The organization has announced that it is also working on a standard for non-volatile hybrid memory called NVDIMM-P, or “Non-Volatile Dual Inline Memory, Persistent,” that basically would map DRAM and NAND to the same memory space. The proposed standard effectively provides both byte- and block-level drive access.
In a move which will get the Nvidia fanboys jolly cross, AMD has said that its new Vega line-up will actually compete with their favourite chip maker in the notebook market.
Nvidia is not used to competition and has been jacking up prices lately for somewhat disappointing chips, but AMD is saying that it thinks its new offerings can force Nvidia to pull its finger out.
At the AMD Tech Summit in Beijing this weekend, AMD vice president Scott Herkelman took the stage to discuss the upcoming Vega-powered graphics cards. He didn’t give anyone a release date but said that AMD’s plans were to put a bit of competition in the notebook GPU market.
AMD plans to decrease the overall footprint of the upcoming mobile GPUs by stacking VRAM dies and freeing up more internal space without sacrificing performance. Size is an important consideration for notebook manufacturers, but this announcement was light on details.
Sadly it was not clear if he was talking about rolling out Vega to discrete mobile or if it will be included in AMD’s “APUs” — a CPU/GPU combo that delivers a smaller overall footprint but a lot less graphical performance.
Herkelman said Vega-powered mobile chips will provide notebook manufacturers with the horsepower they’ll need for their products to drive virtual reality and “the latest and greatest AAA games.” This hints at discrete GPUs powered by the new Vega architecture.
AMD’s previous architecture, code-named “Fiji,” never made much impact in the notebook market, in part due to its power demands. However this could not have been the only reason. Nvidia did well bringing its 10-series GPUs to notebooks despite causing the city lights to dim when anyone plugged it in.
AMD’s Vega-powered GPUs will be available in 4GB and 8GB options, on account of the way the new chips will stack memory. Herkelman told Beijing throngs that Vega-powered chips were “just around the corner.”
Analyst at IDC have added up some numbers and divided them by their shoe size and reached the conclusion that global shipments of augmented and virtual reality headset devices are expected to reach 99.4 million units in 2021.
To put this number into perspective that would be a 10-fold increase from the 10.1 million units shipped in 2016.
The shipment value of AR headsets during the forecast period will grow from $209 million in 2016 to $48.7 billion in 2021. Meanwhile, VR headsets will expand from $2.1 billion in 2016 to $18.6 billion in 2021, IDC tells us.
Most AR headsets are expected to cost well over $1000 which means that the tech is far less accessible to consumers initially, though that’s probably for the best as the AR ecosystem and wide social acceptance are still a few years away, IDC added.
Google’s Calendar app is finally making a long-awaited arrival on a new device: Apple’s iPad. You read that right: Until Wednesday, the tech titan hadn’t optimized its marquee calendar application to run on Apple’s tablets.
The app provides users with a view of their calendars that are shared with them through Google’s service. In addition, they get a handful of features Apple’s native calendar app doesn’t have, like the ability to more easily find time and space for a meeting with other people inside their organizations.
Making iPad users wait for a native Calendar app is hardly a surprise coming from Google, considering that it’s the company behind Android, and frequently ships new features first to apps for devices running its mobile operating system.
That’s not to say Google Calendar was completely unavailable for iPad users for the past several years. The iPhone app for Calendar could run on Apple’s tablets, but it wasn’t optimized for use on those devices.
The move is a part of Google’s continuing push to make its G Suite productivity services useful to as broad a set of people as possible. Google is working aggressively to get customers to switch to its productivity suite from their current systems, which in many cases, revolve around Microsoft Office. Microsoft offers its own calendar app for the iPad in the form of Outlook for iOS, which has supported Apple’s tablet since its launch in 2015.
Google has more iOS-specific features planned, including a Today widget that will let users see their upcoming events in an iPad’s Notification Center, according to a blog post by Calendar product manager Sharon Stovezky.
It has been quite some time since Qualcomm announced Snapdragon X16, the world’s first Gigabit LTE modem. The same GigabitLTE Snapdragon X16 modem is now part of the Snapdragon 835 – a 10nm SoC that is about to debut in a dozen high end phones.
Many people who are not close to the matter are having a hard time to understand why it’s important to get faster modems in an everyday device. Many moan that the speeds they are getting from their carriers are not even touching the Cat 4 maximum speed of 150 Mbps on a download but they are forgetting that these are the best case scenario speeds for Cat 4. What happens is that the average speed increases with new technology as most carriers are now using the Cat 6 300 Mbps maximum speed network.
Today, Telstra in Australia, Sprint in the USA, EE in the UK and a few others have announced or have already deployed their versions of the Cat 16 category GigabitLTE capable of sub 1 Gbps speeds.
It’s a typical technology cat and mouse game. We need faster phones to get the faster internet from carriers. What many people need to understand is that they won’t really get 1 Gbps download speeds as this is a maximum, but the average speed might increase for many.
If you are getting – let’s say – 30 to 60 Mbps today with Cat 6, a Gigabit LTE could increase your speeds to 60 Mbps to 120 Mbps. In our case, in Vienna Austria, we see around 80 Mbps to 100 Mbps, and GigabitLTE could double the speed to 160 Mbps to 200 Mbps. You would need a GigabitLTE phone as well as a GigabitLTE capable network to get to the GigabitLTE speeds. There are two options – the Snapdragon 835 powered phone or the Samsung Exynos 8895. They both support GigabitLTE speeds and the launch of GigabitLTE phones will speed up the deployment of this technology worldwide.
Don’t forget that Samsung Galaxy S8 is likely to ship with both Exynos 8895 and Snapdragon 835, both supporting GigabitLTE speeds.
With the mass introduction of the Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895 phones starting with the Samsung Galaxy S8, followed by GigabitLTE deployment by the carriers, we expect that the average download and upload speed will increase, enabling the next generation of content and applications. It looks likely that AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are already committed to the GigabitLTE, likely coming this year. Worldwide, there are 15 companies who plan to launch GigabitLTE this year.
If you are one of the skeptical ones that say we don’t need faster internet on the phone, I can remember one very rich man that goes by the name of Bill Gates who wasn’t convinced in the success of the internet. That definitely doesn’t mean that he was right about it, as now even Gates and the rest of the world have the capability of 100s of Mbps speeds on a smartphone device, something that didn’t really exist just a decade ago.
The same performance delta can be associated with internet speed as 3G stopped at 3.6 Mbps / 7.2Mbps. Speed eventually got to 21.6 Mbps with HSPA+. That was some ten years ago and today it is normal to have a Cat 6 LTE 4K network capable of 300 Mbps and, in some cases, advanced carriers get to 600 Mbps, and in the case of Telstra, it even gets to 1Gbps speeds. Qualcomm is planning to ship Snapdragon X20 with 1.2 Gbps maximum speeds in early 2018 and it is already sampling a modem that exceeds GigabitLTE’x magical number.
GigabitLTE with 1Gbps speed is just an introduction to 5G speeds, and it can be viewed as a gateway to 5G. 5G is a new communication technology that will enable a huge technology leap. One of the things that may become a reality is 4K or even 4K 360 video as the default. This will push the need for more and higher resolution VR capable Head Mounted Devices (HMD) and enable new games and applications that we cannot even imagine today.
Think about Facebook live with 360 VR capabilities? We don’t think that this is far off.
Client-grade SSDs of mainstream capacities continue to see rising contract prices in the PC-OEM market during this first quarter.
Beancounters at DRAMeXchange have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and worked out that average, contract prices of MLC-based client-grade SSDs are projected to go up by 12-16 percent compared with the fourth quarter of last year, while prices of TLC-based products are expected to increase by 10-16 percent sequentially.
Second quarter, end device sales are anticipated to be relatively flat. Furthermore, PC-OEMs are reaching their limits on SSD costs. While the average prices of mainstream client-grade SSDs will keep climbing, the increase in the second quarter will likely be more moderate.
Alan Chen, senior research manager of DRAMeXchange said that the average contract prices of client-grade SSDs in the PC-OEM market are rising this first quarter because not only PC clients are aggressively stocking up their inventories, smartphone clients are also maintaining strong demand for storage components.
“At the same time, the industry-wide transition to 3D-NAND and 2D-NAND TLC production has sharply reduced the supply of Flash memory of the 2D-NAND MLC type. Thus, the price increase of MLC-based SSDs is outpacing that of TLC-based SSDs.”
Chen added that SSDs are increasingly preferred by consumers due to having faster read/write speed than HDDs, so PC-OEMs will keep up their SSD purchases despite tight supply for NAND Flash and SSDs. In the global notebook market, the SSD adoption rate is estimated to arrive at 45 percent this year.
Additionally, the growth in the notebook SSD adoption will be higher in the consumer-class notebook segment than the business-class segment. On the other hand, the tight NAND Flash supply and sharp price hikes for SSDs will likely discourage PC.
OEMs from raising storage capacity. Therefore, the storage specifications for mainstream PC-OEM SSDs are expected to remain in the 128GB and 256GB options”.
Shipments of client-grade SSDs will drop by seven to eight percent sequentially in the first quarter.
It is no hidden secret that worldwide tablet shipments have progressively begun a decline over the past three years, since the industry began experiencing year-over-year slumps to the present number of 39.6 million units in Q4 2016.
Once again, for the second time in a year, the overall tablet market is expected to drop to under 40 million units in the first quarter of 2017, with an expected shipment rate of 39.03 million units. While shipment forecasts are subject to variability depending on the research groups assembling the numbers, Statista expects a total of 136 million units to ship this year, down from their estimated 150 million in 2016. Other sources like Digitimes say the total number of shipments was closer to 183 million units last year, though it has tempered its forecast this year by stating that quarterly and yearly declines will both be less severe compared to those seen in the first quarter of 2016.
According to reports from IDC, tablet sales are projected to continue declining all through the year, bringing their analysis on par with Statista’s projection. Most experts admit the reason is due to a growing demand for 2-in-1 Windows convertible PCs that offer the same ultra-thin profiles of slate tablets with more performance and a more robust productivity experience. However, other argue that 2-in-1 devices offer no substantive tradeoffs over tablets with keyboard cases as vendors like Apple, Samsung and Google now offer high-performing ARM-based chips with RAM and storage capacities to match most midrange PC notebooks.
Native stylus tablets will take on 2-in-1 convertible Windows PCs
Industry watchers expect that in 2017, more native tablet manufacturers will steadily join the convertible 2-in-1 PC business, while standouts like Apple will continue to market the iPad Pro as a decent hybrid convertible alternative to the Microsoft Surface series. The situation once again appears to be one where Apple takes dominance in the native tablet market, utilizing its unique marketing ploy to sell as many magnetically-latching Pencils and keyboard cases as it possibly can to attract market share away from Microsoft and similar Windows-based products with styluses from HP, Samsung, Lenovo, Dell, ASUS and others.
Depending on how fast Apple can ramp up tablet shipments this quarter, the success of its 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models is expected to encourage native tablet manufacturers to make a stronger stand in the “hybrid tablet” market – or tablets that include detachable keyboard cases. Current competition in this space includes the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, Note Pro 12.2 and TabPro S, Huawei MateBook, Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000, and Google Pixel C.
Apple, Samsung and Microsoft all introducing new products in Q1-
The first quarter of a new year is traditionally a low season for consumer hardware sales, but this year the market can expect to see new product announcements from both US and Korea-based vendors including Apple, Microsoft and Samsung. The first product introduced last month was the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 during Mobile World Congress, while Apple is expected to hold an announcement of its new trio of iPads sometime during mid-April to coincide with the launch of its new spaceship-like HQ building in Cupertino. Lastly, Microsoft is expected to announce its fifth-generation Surface tablet sometime before the end of spring, which is any time before June 20th.
This is one of these “we told you so” moments, as we’ve already written many details about AMD 32 core Naples server – a data center processor.
Lisa Su, the famous CEO of AMD, has shared with the world that a server part based on Zen architecture is scheduled for Q2 2017 and it looks like the company will meet the goal.
Naples attacks the core of Intel’s success, the data center network. Many have heard the term cloud computing and we might disappoint some of you when say that a “cloud” is just another server computer sitting at some data center around the world.
Whenever you open any photo from the cloud – for example Facebook or Google Photos – you are requesting stuff from one of the data center machines. This is where Naples fits in, as this is the CPU that targets the server and data center markets.
Naples has 32 cores and 64 Hyper thread support and it is the first of many processors to launch in the coming quarters. The support for 8-channels memory per Naples devices makes this data center / server SoC rather unique. The dual socket server supports up to 32 DIMMS of DDR4 on 16 memory channels delivering up to four terabytes of total memory capacity. This will play an important role in some memory intensive systems.
A two socket Naples system supports 16-channels memory, effectively doubling the memory channels.
AMD is using the very fast Infinity Fabric coherent interconnect that should increase the performance of Naples in dual socket configurations. The processor is a complete fully integrated SoC and comes with high-speed I/O supporting 128 lanes of PCIe 3.
AMD’s Senior Vice President, Forrest Norrod, said that the scalability will increase with AN Infinity Fabric connection. When you add a second CPU, you can expect a 2X increment in performance. Naples, it is important to mention, has the chipset inside of the SoC, making it a server SoC rather than just a CPU.
Some might ask why would you need a 128 lines of PCIe 3 and the simple answer is that the system will be able to have faster access to your superfast network cards of Radeon Instinct cards.
Naples also comes with a highly-optimized cache structure for high-performance, energy efficient compute as well as dedicated security hardware.
It comes as a surprise that AMD didn’t talk in detail about the Zeppelin clusters that are the key element of any Naples Zen based server core. Zeppelin comes with eight Zen cores, each having 512 KB cache (4 MB for eight cores) and an additional 16 MB of L3 cache where four Zen processors get access to 8MB. PCIe Gen 3 is integrated on the Zeppelin cluster that also integrates the SATA 3 and 10GbE card. AMD secure processor, DDR4 memory controlleras well as server control hub are the part of Zeppelin cluster.
You need four Zeppelin clusters to get the 32 core based Naples. Norrod said to expect Naples generation of Zen based server and data center products to ship in the second quarter of this year. Experience has taught us to bet on the latter part of the quarter, with late May / early June – that’s Computex time – as a possible launch timeframe.
AMD made a short Naples introduction video, below.
Asustek is choosing suppliers for its VR head-mounted display (HMD) devices so it can have its production start in the third quarter of 2017.
According to Digitimes, Samsung Display is likely to get the display panels work and the OEM production will take place in Taiwan. Samsung Display is the top choice for AMOLED panel supply among HMD developers becuase it has been making them a bit longer.
Microsoft’s aggressive promotions on mixed reality (MR) technologies also prompted Acer, Dell, Asustek, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and China-based 3Glassses, to expand into the market. Samsung’s Gear VR has had the strongest shipment performance in 2016, delivering over four million units worldwide. Samsung has also recently announced a new version of Gear VR for 2017 using the Oculus technology.
Microsoft’s jointly developed mixed reality HMD for developers will begin shipping in March.