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Samsung Shows Off New FinFet Process

May 4, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung Electronics is introducing a third 14-nano FinFET system semiconductor process that has lower electricity consumption and production cost than previous cost.

According to the Electronic Times, Samsung said that it will soon be completing development of Low-Power Compact (LPC) 14-nano FinFET process. Strategic partners of Samsung’s foundry business are predicting that this process will be used in anger by the end of the year.

All this is moving fast Samsung mass-produced Low Power Early (LPE) Chips, which are 1st generation chips just last year. It has just mass-produced second 2nd generation 14-nano LPP66 (Low Power Plus) chips that have 15 per cent lesser electricity consumption compared to LPE chips.

The Exynos 8 Octa Series and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 443 820 which is under the bonnet of the Galaxy S7 are mass-produced through 14-nano LPP process.
Samsung’s third generation process reduces the number of masks that are used for wafer manufacturing process. It is expected that 14 nano will be around for as long as 28 nano was.

Even when 10-nano and 7-nano processes are developed, there will be many fabless manufacturing companies will still use cost-efficient 14-nano process.

Qualcomm, Samsung and Mediatek recently introduced new 14 and 16-nano AP products that are inexpensive. They will be used for Snapdragon 443 625, Exynos 7870, and Helio P20, and this indicates that a number of chips produced by 14-nano process will increase.

Samsung’s 14-nano LPC process, will start a war with Taiwan’s TSMC in a battle to secure customers. TSMC has three types of 16-nano FinFET processes. It’s first 16-nano FinFET process arrived at the end of 2014.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Samsung Scores With Apple

May 2, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

After five years, it seems that Apple is back to loving Samsung’s NAND flash memory again.

According to ETNews, Samsung will be back inside the iPhone 7 after five years.  While many thought that the reason that Apple pulled Samsung out of the iPhone 6s was pettiness over the trademark battle over who invented the rounded rectangle, it turns out that Apple’s wanted electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding requirements or special coatings on the memory packages.

Apple was looking to individually shield more parts inside its devices so it could dispense with discrete metal shielding components, which could ultimately save on logic board space and allow more room. At the time Samsung’s use of ball grid array (BGA) packaging put it at a disadvantage to competing products that use land grid array (LGA) package contacts, which allow the package to sit flush with the printed circuit board.

Samsung’s existing sputter coat EMI shielding technologies were insufficient for Apple’s performance requirements, becuase of the shielding gaps created by the raised BGA contacts. However new, cheaper spray techniques for ultra-thin coats of metal shielding has changed all that.  Also Samsungs 3D V-NAND memories offering up to 256 Gb densities on the market currently.

Samsung is also set to start supplying Apple with OLED panels for future iPhones. All up it means that a big chunk of your iPhone is a Samsung. Still you get what you pay for. Anyway, with the acception of Foxconn, being an Apple supplier is a kiss of death in the long term. Maybe Apple thought it was better to score its revenge on Samsung by making it a partner.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Will nVidia’s Mid-Range Pascal Processor Debut In Q3?

April 25, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

According to the latest report, Nvidia plans to launch next-generation mainstream segment graphics cards, based on GP106 GPU, in Autumn, or late Q3/early Q4 2016.

According to a report coming from Sweclockers.com, Nvidia’s mainstream graphics cards, which will be based on a GP106 Pascal GPU, should be coming in Autumn, and be ready for sales by the time for a Christmas shopping season.

Meant to replace the currently available Maxwell-based GTX 960 and GTX 950 graphics cards, the upcoming mainstream Geforce graphics cards, most likely named as the GTX 1060 and GTX 1050, could end up with two enabled graphics processing clusters (GPCs), which means that SKUs could end with up to 1280 CUDA cores.

While the upcoming GP104-based graphics cards should cover the higher-end consumer market, the mid-range market is mostly the cash-cow for companies so having that segment on store shelves before Christmas shopping season is quite important.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is AMD Getting In Bed With Sugon?

April 22, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Our sources are confident that AMD is about to announce a joint venture deal with China-based Sugon company.

Sugon might not be a name you’ve heard much about, but the company has now made a direct deal to manufacture server-based hardware for the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In their own words:

“Sugon Information Industry Co., Ltd. (Sugon for short) is a national high-tech enterprise established on the basis of the major scientific research achievements of the National High Technology Research and Development Program (the 863 Program) with the vigorous promotion by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.”

The company specializes in R&D and manufacturing of high-performance computers (HPCs), enterprise servers and datacenter products, and they also do some software design and system integration as well. Between 2009 and 2014, they were on China’s TOP 100 supercomputer list consecutively by market share.

Sugon made news recently with its Nebula high-performance computer that managed to get ranked second place in the 35th Global Supercomputer TOP 500 Competition. The supercomputer they built topped a 3 petaflops per second system peak and a 1.271 petaflops times per second measured Linpack speed. These numbers easily made it the third supercomputer in the world with performance measuring over a petaflop (PF).

AMD is about to announce a joint venture with this company, and if the deal includes any cooperation with future next-generation products such as AMD’s Zen x86 high-end CPU, then the Silicon Valley company might be on the right track here. The performance of AMD’s server-based Zen products plus the potential use of Tarnhelm Zen meets AMD’s Greenland APU server product, which sounds like a great idea. Fudzilla has mentioned the existence of up to a 16-core Zen APU with Greenland HMB 2.0 GPU, DDR4 support and a super fast interconnect with coherent fabric more than a year ago.

According to an interview from Inside HPC with Dr. Qing Ji, Deputy General Manager of the HPC Division at Sugon, the overseas company plans to expand to the western market.  Is this a Coincidence?

Courtesy-Fud

 

Will Intel’s Apollo SoC Help The Low End?

April 20, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel has been showing off its new Apollo Lake chips, and if the outfit is correct it could shake up the lower-end PC market.

At the moment Intel’s Atoms have their work cut out for them supporting heavy lifting task like 4K video. However Apollo Lake, Intel’s a next-generation system-on-a-chip that promises to sort out a few of those problems.

It is compact and efficient enough for PC makers can afford to slim things down without as many compromises. The more inclusive design could mean that OEMs can spend more on more RAM and better displays, for example.

Apollo Lake uses Skylake’s graphics technology which enables full hardware-based 4K video playback and an overall boost to visual performance. It will also provide better support for newer technology like the USB-C.

Intel is saying nothing about clock speeds or pricing but its promising Celeron- and Pentium-branded processors in the second half of 2016.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is TSMC Taking A Fall?

April 19, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

On Thursday Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company announced an 18 percent quarterly revenue decline for Q1 2016 from the same timeframe a year ago in Q1 2015. The chip manufacturing giant also announced Q1 2016 net profit of $2 billion USD ($64.78 billion TWD), representing an 8.3 percent quarterly profit decline from the same timeframe a year ago in Q1 2015.

For TSMC, Q1 2016 was marked by a reduction of demand for high-end smartphones, while smartphone demand in China and emerging markets had upward momentum. Beginning Q2 2016 and onward, the company expect to get back onto a growth trajectory and is projected to hit a 5 to 10 percent growth rate in 2016.

“Our 10-nanometer technology development is on track,” said company president and co-CEO Mark Liu during the company’s Q4 2015 earnings call. “We are currently in intensive yield learning mode in our technology development. Our 256-megabit SRAM is yielding well. We expect to complete process and product qualification and begin customer product tape-outs this quarter.”

“Our 7-nanometer technology development progress is on schedule as well. TSMC’s 7 nanometer technology development leverage our 10-nanometer development very effectively. At the same time, TSMC’s 7-nanometer offers a substantial density improvement, performance improvement and power reduction from 10-nanometer.

These two technologies, 10-nanometer and 7-nanometer, will cover a very wide range of applications, including application processors for smartphone, high-end networking, advanced graphics, field-programmable gate arrays, game consoles, wearables and other consumer products.”

In Q1 2016, TSMC reached a gross margin of 44.9 percent, an operating margin of 34.6 percent and a net profit margin of 31.8 percent respectively. Going forward into Q2 2016, the company is expecting revenue between ~$6.65 billion and ~$6.74 billion USD, gross margins between 49 and 51 percent, and operating profit margins between 38.5 and 40.5 percent, respectively.

Chips used for communications and industrial uses represented over 80 percent of TSMC’s revenue in FY 2015. The company was also able to improve its margins by increasing 16-nanometer production, and like many other semiconductor companies, is preparing for an expected upswing sometime in 2017.

In February, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan where TSMC’s 12-inch Fab 14 is located, a current site of 16-nanometer production. The company expected to have a manufacturing impact above 1 percent in the region with a slight reduction in wafer shipments for the quarter.

“Although the February 6 earthquake caused some delay in wafer shipments in the first quarter, we saw business upside resulting from demand increases in mid- and low-end smartphone segments and customer inventory restocking,” said Lora Ho, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of TSMC.

“We expect our business in the second quarter will benefit from continued inventory restocking and recovery of the delayed shipments from the earthquake.”

In fiscal year 2016, the company will spend between $9 and $10 billion on ramping up the 16-nanometer process node, constructing Fab 15 for 12-inch wafers in Nanjing, China, and beginning commercial production of the 10-nanometer FinFET process at this new facility. Samsung and Intel are also expected to start mass production of 10-nanometer products by the end of 2016.

During its Q4 2015 earnings call, company president and co-CEO Mark Liu stated the company is currently preparing and working on a 7-nanometer process node and plans to begin volume production sometime in 2018. Meanwhile, since January 2015, a separate research and development team at TSMC has been laying the groundwork for a 5-nanometer process which the company expects to bring into commercial production sometime in 1H 2020.

So far in Q1 2016, shipments of 16 and 20-nanometer wafers have accounted for around 23 percent of the company’s total wafer revenues.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Will HMB 2.0 GPUs Show Up This Year?

April 19, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Our well-placed industry sources have told us that we should not expect to see the HMB 2.0 based GPUs shipping anytime soon. Nvidia Pascal and AMD Polaris 10 / 11 will stick with GDDR5 memory for the time being.

The 2nd generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM 2.0) for high-end GPUs might happen in very late Q4 2016 but realistically it probably won’t ship until 2017 in any volume.

The first card that we expect supporting this feature might be the Greenland, a card that AMD might end up calling Vega. Even according Radeon Technology Group’s official GPU roadmap, Vega / Greenland now look like a 2017 product, or at very best, late 2016 card. Nvidia might make the HBM 2.0 version of the Titan card, but we don’t expect to see a Geforce GTX based on Pascal GPU and HBM 2.0 coming to the market this year.

We managed to talk to some of the memory manufactures and they told us that HBM 2.0 is very limited in supply, and limited supply makes things expensive.

It seems that GPUs of 2016, including the new AMD Polaris and the new Geforce, will be stuck with GDDR5 and in best case scenario with GDDR5X from Micron. The word on the street is that both Geforce GTX based on Pascal and AMD/RTG’s Polaris 10 / Ellesmere and Polaris 11 / Baffin might launch at Computex during last days of May or early June 2016.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is TSMC Readying For Intel?

April 14, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

The rumor mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn about TSMC ramping up production of Intel’s XMM 7360 LTE modem.

The reason the rumor mill is going mental over this particular yarn is because the modem is expected to be in the black heart of the forthcoming iPhone 7.

Analyst Steve Mullane of BlueFin Research Partners said that TSMC is “planning to double the production starts” of Intel’s XMM 7360 LTE modem in the current quarter. The analyst says that this “correlates with the timing of the Apple A10 processor production ramp in preparation for the iPhone 7 launch in September.

We had been expecting Apple to buy this modem for the iPhone SE as Jobs’ Mob tried to dump Qualcomm’s version. It turned out that the iPhone SE was just the iPhone 5c with a better chip so an improved modem was not needed. There has been a little bit of a panic at Qualcomm which has been running a series of ads in which they claim that their modems are superior to an unnamed “Team Blue’s” modems. It is fairly clear that Qualcomm sees Intel’s new modems as a threat.

The theory is that for phones sold in North America and other regions in which CDMA is popular and wireless specs are important, Apple will use Qualcomm. In regions in which, perhaps, such features are unimportant to potential buyers, the iPhones with Intel inside.

The Tame Apple Press is hinting that all Apple is doing is getting a second source for LTE modems and wants someone like Intel in place if it needs them. The reason it needs to spin this particularly story is because Apple Fanboys like to make much mock about Intel in the mobile area.

Having Intel inside an Apple device is terrible if you know nothing about technology but everything about branding – pretty much every Apple fanboy. They are insisting that the XMM 7360 doesn’t even have the performance/feature set of the Qualcomm modem that Apple is likely to use in the iPhone 7 this year.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Can Samsung Beat Intel?

April 13, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung is closing in on Intel in the semiconductor sector as its market share increased by 0.9 percent when compared to a year earlier.

According to beancounters at IBS, the news comes on the heels of an announcement that the three-month average of the global market for semiconductors ending in February fell 6.2 percent compared with the same figure in 2015, down from a 5.8 percent decline in January.

IBS chief executive Handel Jones said:

“Based on talking to customers about buying patterns, we see softness,” said. “Smartphone sales are slowing, and the composition of the market is changing with about half all chips bought by companies in China who want low-end devices In addition, over the past year memory prices have fallen by nearly half both for DRAMs and NAND-based solid-state drives as vendors try to buy market share, said Jones. “It’s more of a price issue because volumes are up.”

Jones expects softness in the PC market will continue through this year. Demand for chips is rising in automotive and for the emerging Internet of Things, but so far both sectors are relatively small, he added.

Data shows that the gap between the market share of these Intel and Samsung firms is narrowing. In 2012, the gap between Intel and Samsung was 5.3 percent. This narrowed to 4.2 percent in 2013, and is now 3.2 percent in 2015. SK Hynix, which now stands as the third largest semiconductor brand in the world, beat Qualcomm with a market share of 4.8 percent.

Courtesy-Fud

 

nVidia’s Pascal Packed With 56 Streaming Multiprocessor Cores

April 8, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The total number of SM cores on the chip has been confirmed by Nvidia senior engineers at the deep dive Tesla P100 GP100 technical session. If there were 60 total SMs (streaming multiprocessor) enabled on the chip, you would end up with 3,840.

There are two possible reasons; first and most likely is that Nvidia did this to increase the yield of the GPU. There might be hard to get all parts of the gigantic chip working and the yield increase when you disable these four SM’s. The other possible reason would be that the parts of these remaining four SM (streaming multiprocessor) cores don’t work, or Nvidia plans to enable with future products or that some consumer products will get all 60 SM models enabled in necessary. This could result in a separate part number after GP100 later down the road.

Nvidia also confirmed that GP100 has the 15.3 billion transistors on a TSMC manufactured 16-nanometer FinFET package with a 300W TDP and 610mm2 die as well as most of the other specs for the HPC products (not to be confused with Geforce Pascal card that will be announced in later date.).

Courtesy-Fud

Intel Debuts The Xeon E5 V4 Processor

April 6, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel has officially launched its new Xeon Processor E5 v4 today, similar to the old version but using its brand spanking new 14nm process node.

Xeon E5 v4, which will replace last year’s E5 v3 series from high-performance professional workstations to multi-socket servers for big data. In fact the v4 is pretty similar and is even socket compatible with the earlier version, but it uses Intel’s more advanced 14nm process node and the biggest of the chips can feature up to 22 processor cores (44 threads).

The Broadwell-EP based Xeon E5 v4 still supports up to quad-channel DDR4 memory, but the maximum supported speed now tops out at 2400MT/s, up from 2133MT/s.

Thanks to its additional cores, the E5-2600 v4 series now features up to 55MB of last-level cache. Support for 3D die stacked LRDIMMs has been added, along with DDR4 write CRC, and of course the higher speeds. Though, with three 3DS LRDIMMs per channel, the max supported frequency drops down to 1600MHz.

The changes to the Xeon E5 V4 family’s memory configuration bring in reduced latency and increased bandwidth. Intel’s numbers show up to a 15 per cent increase in bandwidth with latency reductions across the board.

In addition to these high-level updates, there are also new visualization and security related features, along with more performance and efficiency enhancements as too.

Intel is keen to emphasize that the new chip, with its SDI features is cloud friendly. SDI is the foundation for the most advanced clouds in the world. It makes the delivery of cloud services faster and more efficient by dynamically allocating the required compute, storage and network resources through intelligent software, carefully orchestrating the delivery of applications and services on-demand and across many users.

SDI including Intel Resource Director Technology, which enables customers to move to fully automated SDI-based clouds with greater visibility and control over critical shared resources like processor caches and main memory. The result is intelligent orchestration and improved use and service levels.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is Intel Getting Inside of Samsung?

March 31, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel famously missed the mobile boom, but it appears the outfit is slowly edging its way back. Not only is it counting Asus as its chum it seems to be making friends with Samsung.

Samsung announced the availability of the all new Galaxy TabPro S. Powered by a 6th Gen Intel Core m processor, the 2 in 1 device was created specifically for people on the go and mobile professionals.

Having seen the Core m’s in action we can confirm that they give really good PC performance while enabling remarkably thin and fanless devices with mobility in mind like the Galaxy TabPro S.  The chip under the bonnet of this machine is the same as the Microsoft Surface 4 Pro 4.

The all new Galaxy TabPro S is a 2 in 1 device was created specifically for people on the go and mobile professionals. Of course the Tame Apple Press claims that the TabPro S is a rip off of Apple’s newest giant iPad Pro, although since that was a rip-off of Microsoft’s Surface it is probably not that much of a foul.

This new Galaxy TabPro has a detachable keyboard/screen cover and operates on Windows 10. Galaxy TabPro S is slightly lighter than the iPad Pro too.

TabPro S is the first tablet with Super active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (Super AMOLED) on a Windows 10 platform. Its thinner size of 2160 x 1440 indicates there is no slot for a standard universal serial bus (USB) port. It only has a USB Type-C port that can be used for charging and data.

This newest TabPro S is a slim tablet that can be on par with the Surface Pro 4, yet for a cheaper price of $900.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is AMD Dropping It’s Radeon 32-bit Drivers

March 31, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD looks close to killing off support for 32-bit Windows for its Radeon drivers.

Techpowerup found a hint when it visited AMD’s Drivers + Download Center on the company website, and tried clicking on the “32-bit” links of some of its Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 drivers, which redirected to an ominously-worded AMD knowledge-base article (Article #GPU-622).

This knowledge-base article, intended for people looking for 32-bit drivers, reads:

“A system running Microsoft Windows 10 64 Bit can take full advantage of the advanced visual and performance features of these graphics cards. However, AMD also provides 64 Bit drivers for Microsoft Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Windows 7 to accommodate those users who choose to use an older Microsoft Operating System.”

But the knowledge-base article has no links for the drivers users are looking for. It looks like 32-bit versions of Radeon Software 16.3.2 are still there but you have to practically crack the webpage to find it.

According to the download page, AMD’s recently launched Radeon Pro Duo already completely lacks 32-bit Windows support, and the company is only providing 64-bit drivers. The move makes common sense. Most of AMD’s Radeon R9 and Fury series GPUs feature 4 GB or more of video memory, and 64-bit Windows users making up the most of the rest. Hard to find anyone who will run 32-bit Windows for games.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Will Intel’s Xeon Broadwell-EP Hit The Market Soon?

March 30, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

An Intel press slide has been leaked on the web which means we should be seeing a workstation-grade Xeon “Broadwell-EP” processor in the shops soon.

The slide appeared on the anandtech forums and shows the chip will be branded under the Xeon E5-2600 V4 series and will have at least “20 per cent more cores and last-level cache” than Haswell-EP.  It should be shipping on March 31st.

This CPU is started for an HP workstation, called the HP Z640, which succeeds the Z620.

The Xeon Broadwell-E uses Intel’ s14nm process which means 10-core chips will be available at the price of an 8-core chip from the previous generation.

The slide said that the Broadwell-E will deliver 18 per cent average performance increase over Haswell-EP, as well as support up to 2400MHz DDR4 memory for greater I/O throughput.

This slide follows the news that an 18-core Xeon Broadwell-EP CPU was spotted on eBay, carrying a price tag of $999 US. Dubbed Xeon E5-2600 v4, the chip was listed to feature a base clock speed of 2.2GHz and Turbo frequency of 3GHz, as well as a TDP of 145W, 2.5MB of L3 cache per core, with 45MB LLC cache in total.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Samsung Shows Off The BGA SSD

March 28, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

During Samsung’s 2016 SSD Forum in Japan, the company took the wraps off its first ever ball-grid array (BGA) solid state disk for mobile devices, the PM971. This particular SSD aims to replace module-based M.2 drives in the 2-in-1 hybrid PC market. The company is claiming it will offer improved thermals, up to 10-percent more battery life and a reduction in vertical storage height for OEMs, product designers and system manufacturers.

The Samsung PM971 built using the company’s Photon controller and runs MLC 3D V-NAND (contrary to the picture above, PC Watch claims it is actually 3-bits per cell). The drive will be available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB storage capacities and will feature sequential reads up to 1,500MB/s, sequential writes up to 600MB/s, random reads up to 190,000 IOPS and random writes up to 150,000 IOPS.In general, SSDs with BGA packaging are considerably smaller than those using the M.2 form factor, and Intel has claimed that using a PCI-E BGA SSD could allow an increase in battery size by around 10-percent compared to using an M.2 2260 SSD (with GPIO using 1.8v power rail instead of 3.3v), lower thermals than M.2 (from BGA ball conduction to motherboard instead of through M.2 mounting screws), and a vertical height savings of 0.5mm to 1.5mm in notebook devices.

The nice thing about BGA SSDs is that they are “complete” storage solutions and integrate NAND flash memory, the NAND controller and DRAM all into a single package. Currently, there are several BGA M.2 form factors being proposed that will make single-chip SSDs a reality sooner than later as the result of a collaboration between HP, Intel, Lenovo, Micron, SanDisk, Seagate and Toshiba. The four BGA SSD packages proposed are Type 1620, Type 2024, Type 2228 and Type 2828, ranging anywhere between 16 x 20 millimeters and 28 x 28 millimeters with up to 2-millimeter vertical height. It is currently unknown whether the Samsung PM971 adopts any of these proposed BGA M.2 standards.

Based on the demonstration at the 2016 Samsung SSD Forum in Japan, the PM971 offers decent performance thanks to a PCI-E 3.0 x4 interface and the company’s new Photon controller. According to the PC Watch website, the drive is physically smaller than an SD card and Samsung expects device manufacturers and OEMs to begin adoption in the second half of 2016 or the first half of 2017.

Courtesy-Fud