News Posts matching "digitimes"

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2013 Could be a Difficult Year for the PC Industry: Analyst

Big tradeshows such as the International CES are often used as a benchmark to gauge which areas of consumer-technology are faring better than the other. Industry analyst DigiTimes observed that PC is riding the CES bus on an uncomfortable backseat, which is an indication that the year could be difficult for the PC industry in general.

According to the analyst, although PC makers are aggressively promoting their Windows 8 creations - notebooks, desktops, and dockable tablets, - TV, living-room web-enablement, is attracting the most attention. Why this spells a bad news to PC makers is that with web-browsing being the most popular PC usage activity, no longer needing a PC, and doing so on web-enabled TVs could pose a disruptive innovation for the PC. Also, the theme for 2013, with PC makers appears to be more of cutting prices, instead of new innovations.Source: DigiTimes

Intel Could Find a Way to Keep LGA CPUs: ASUS

In an interview with DigiTimes, ASUS general manager of motherboard business Joe Hsieh commented on reports of Intel abandoning CPU sockets in favor of processors being hardwired to motherboards in BGA packages. Hsieh said that the issue will not be as bad as people think and Intel could find a strategy that allows both soldered and socketed processors to be sold, which is much like today, except that hardwired processors are limited to notebooks (Core i3 and i5 processors in the BGA1224 package) and low-end Atom-driven desktop motherboards.

What lends Hsieh's statement weight, apart from the fact that he leads the biggest PC motherboard design team, is that Intel recently denied those reports, saying it would provide socketed CPUs for "the foreseeable future." Last month, Japanese publication PC Watch, credited for generally accurate tech predictions based on information at hand, reported that following its 22 nm Core "Haswell" CPU family, Intel could transform its entry-, mainstream-, and performance-segment client CPUs to hardwired BGA packages, probably leaving socketed CPUs only to HEDT (high-end desktop) and enterprise Xeon processor lines. Other PC motherboard vendors DigiTimes spoke with echoed ASUS' opinion, they don't believe Intel could "suddenly" completely change the way processors are sold to consumers.

Source: DigiTimes

USB 3.0 Hub Controller Business Could Heat Up in 2013: Analysts

Following entry of USB 3.0 SuperSpeed specification, chip-makers such as Renesas, ASMedia, Etron, and VIA made a killing selling third-party USB 3.0 host controllers to motherboard, desktop, and notebook vendors, which ended after Intel launched its 7-series chipset featuring an integrated 4-port USB 3.0 host controller, resulting in drop in demand for third-party chips. These companies each have USB 3.0 hub controllers, and could help drive growth of the specification with USB 3.0 hubs, devices which multiply the number of USB ports available. USB 3.0 hub controllers have been slow in receiving USB-IF certification due to difficulties in conducting compatibility tests, which could ease out by 2013, since Renesas' chip already passed certification. Most peripherals and flash drive manufacturers could have USB 3.0 hubs among their product lineups.

Source: DigiTimes

Ultrabook (and the like) Shipments to Double in 2013: Taiwan Manufactuers

It looks like recent Ultrabook platform growth forecasts by DRAMeXchange are on the money, as sources associated with PC ODMs in Taiwan are coming forward with expectations of 100% growth in Ultrabook and Ultrabook-like notebook shipments in 2013. It's important to note that the figure is augmented with shipments of various "Ultrabook-like" notebooks, which are tough to classify. By the end of 2013, Ultrabooks will make up 10% of the global notebook shipments, according to the sources.

Source: DigiTimes

TSMC Begins Fab 14 Phase 6 Construction

TSMC broke ground for construction of Fab 14 Phase 6, located in Southern Taiwan Science Park (STSP). The new facility will boost the foundry's 12-inch wafer production capacity, leading the way to construction of Phase 7 in 2013. TSMC's facilities in STSP generate 42% of the company's revenues, with a production value of US $6 billion, hiring over 9,000 employees. Phases 1~4 of Fab 14, which specializes in 12-inch wafers, has a quarterly foundry capacity of 540,000 12-inch wafers to produce over 1,200 different types of ICs for about 150 clients a year, according to company executive vice president and co-COO Chiang Shang-yi. In 2013-14, TSMC Fab 14 will become the world's first fab with 20 nanometer SoC volume production, and the company's first plant to start 16 nanometer FinFET volume production.

Source: DigiTimes

ASUS Could Fail to Meet 2012 Motherboard Shipment Target

In late-2011, ASUS set itself a target of shipping 25 million PC motherboards in the following year. Contributing to its optimism were three new platform launches - Intel Core "Ivy Bridge" (7-series chipset), AMD "Trinity" (socket FM2), and AMD Vishera; and Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system, prompting PC upgrades. Falling demand in US and Europe, and weaker-than-expected shipment growth in China forced ASUS to trim its 2012 target down from 25 million to 22.2 million. In 2011, the company shipped 23.2 million motherboards.

In the first three quarters, ASUS shipped 16.7 million motherboards, and expects to ship no more than 5.5 million; down 5% sequentially, and flat year-over-year. The company faced severe competition from Gigabyte, which shipped 14 million motherboards in the three quarters thus far, and expects to ship 4.5 million in Q4, totaling 18.5 million for the year. The third biggest motherboard vendor, ASRock, is astray from its 2012 goal of 9 million shipments, and is hoping for a more conservative 7 million units target for 2012.

Source: DigiTimes

Intel to Standardize SSD Specifications for Ultrabook

Intel plans to standardize SSD specifications for its Ultrabook platform, which would steer it toward slimmer, faster Ultrabooks. The company plans to invite a large number of industry players, including NAND flash memory makers SanDisk, Micron, and Samsung, for discussions into what is known as Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF), a new SSD form-factor derived from mSATA (think Apple's SSD form-factor found in the MacBook Air).

Intel is in a bit of a hurry with its NGFF SSD plans because the current mSATA form-factor poses limitations, including limited PCB area, in which a limited number of ONFI channels can be wired out. NGFF most likely is mSATA with greater PCB area, allowing the same number of ONFI channels as 2.5-inch SSDs, with the latest generation of controllers and toggle-NAND flash memory. NGFF doesn't increase the thickness of the SSD compared to mSATA, but merely elongates it (again, similar in form to Apple's SSD specifications). Five length standards are being discussed between Intel and Ultrabook partners.Source: DigiTimes

AMD Desktop "Trinity" APUs Delayed to October, Clubbed with FX "Vishera" Launch

AMD reportedly deferred the launch of its next-generation "Trinity" A-series accelerated processing units (APUs) for desktops, to October, 2012. The products were originally slated for August. The delay affects launches of most APUs in the socket FM2 package, including the A10-5800K, a top-performing part in the series.

Launches of the A-Series "Trinity" APUs appear to have been clubbed with those of the FX-Series "Volan" (Vishera silicon, Piledriver micro-architecture) processors, including the FX-8350 and FX-6300. Meanwhile, AMD is in the process of phasing out its low-cost socket AM3 processors (such as Athlon II AM3, and Phenom II AM3), replacing them with Athlon II FM2, Phenom II AM3+, and mid-range FX-Series AM3+.

Source: DigiTimes

New MacBook Pro Manufacturing Sees Labour Shortages

Owing to an overhaul of the MacBook Pro to the "wedge-shaped" design in use by its MacBook Air family, Apple is reportedly seeing labour shortages by its suppliers, due to strong demand by Apple. It is even reported that some of these suppliers are outsourcing portions of their processes to meet shipment schedules. It is unusual for suppliers (ODMs and OEMs) to see labour shortages this time of the year (May-June), due to a traditionally slow season, however, Apple strong orders from Apple's new MacBook are leaving many upstream makers unable to satisfy demand. According to sources, it is likely that Apple launches its new MacBook line in July.

Source: DigiTimes

TSMC 28 nm Capacity Ramp-Up Faster Than Older Processes

With launches of new-generation GPUs by NVIDIA and AMD, and new ARM application processor designs by various industry players, TSMC is under pressure to ramp up its production capacity for its new 28 nanometer note. DigiTimes research suggests that this ramp-up is going at a faster rate than older processes such as 40 nm and 65 nm nodes (when those were new). Digitimes Research analyst Nobunaga Chai claims that the 28 nm node started generating revenues in Q4, 2011, and sales ratio reached 5% in the following quarter. It is anticipated to see TSMC significantly ramp up its 28nm production capacity later in 2012, Chai believes.

Source: DigiTimes

Samsung Urges Intel to Launch DDR4 Systems Ahead of Schedule

With over-production, swelling-inventories, and cutthroat competition that doesn't allow even subtle price-increases, DDR3 is a lost-cause for DRAM makers such as Samsung. It is hence hedging its bets on the early arrival of DDR4, and the only company that can make that happen is Intel. Samsung is not only a major supplier of DRAM memory, but also a big player in server memory. It had its first DDR4 UDIMM ready as early as in January 2011. Reports of Intel slating DDR4-equipped platforms in 2013 has Samsung perturbed. Samsung and Hynix are the only two DRAM majors with developed DDR4 products. According to DigiTimes' analysis, DRAM vendors see DDR4 as the only way they can pull themselves out of their ailing situation.

Source: DigiTimes

Taiwanese Notebook Vendors Offer Ultrabook-like PCs in Q2

With the new Ultrabook specification being governed by Intel, and compatible Ivy Bridge Core processors facing delays, Taiwan-based notebook vendors are finding incentives in launching "Ultrabook-like" PCs, notebooks that are about as compact as Ultrabooks, but with vendors' own hardware specifications. Such PCs are also said to be designed keeping in mind lower price-points, such as $600. These notebooks will do away with expensive metal unibody chassis, hollow hinges, and SSDs, and replace them with more cost-effective ones. For example, 7 mm-thick HDDs are already announced. Those could make viable alternatives for SSDs. Such Ultrabook-alternatives could be launched as early as in Q2-2012, sources note.

Source: DigiTimes

TSMC seeing orders fill sub-40nm capacity

Taiwan's premier chip foundry, TSMC, is reportedly seeing strong demand for sub-40 nm chip manufacturing. It's easy to manufacture smaller, simpler chips on new foundry nodes than complex devices such as GPUs. Hence, the source notes that it's wireless communication device chip manufactures that have sub-40 nm nodes at TSMC fully booked up. The foundly also scored orders from local and foreign fabless audio IC firms. "In fact, TSMC's 6-inch fab dedicated to process analog and LCD driver ICs has been running at full capacity since late February, with shipment delivery times to customers being extended to more than 12 weeks, the sources pointed out," notes DigiTimes.

Source: DigiTimes

ASUS Has No Booth At CeBIT

ASUS decided to bail on this year's edition of CeBIT, Europe's biggest consumer electronics and computer expo, held annually in Hanover, Germany. It has reportedly scrapped plans of setting up a booth there. What makes this big news is that it's ASUS - the single biggest vendor of PC motherboards, a notable vendor of notebooks, netbooks, and other computer hardware. Perhaps it's the timing of CeBIT that ASUS isn't quite liking, which falls right in between CES, held in early-January, in the US; and Computex, held mid-year in Taiwan, home of most computer hardware manufacturers, including ASUS. CES and Computex both have a fair attendance of European press anyway. No other companies similar to ASUS have reported to scrap their CeBIT plans. ASRock and Biostar have plans to set up small booths.


Source: DigiTimes

Ultrabook Pricing Unlikely to Reach $599-699 Range till 2013

Affordable Ultrabooks, which strike a cost-benefit sweet-spot when priced in the US $599-699 range are unlikely to become a reality till 2013, sources among notebook vendors told DigiTimes. The same sources also note that pricing will be the key to driving demand for Ultrabooks. They attribute this to high production costs, which will likely persist till next year.

Components such as SSDs, which are key to keeping these devices ultra-slim, cost 10-times as much as HDDs, custom-design ultra-thin display panels, and aluminum unibody chassis are still quite expensive, even as major ODMs are ramping up infrastructure to mass-produce some of these components. Even with the most aggressive cost-cutting, the cheapest Ultrabooks available in 2012 will cost US $799.

Source: DigiTimes

Micron to Buy US $500M Worth Elpida Shares

Idaho-based Micron Technology is reportedly going to spend at least US $500 million in purchasing a stake in its Japanese rival, Elpida, according to a Economic Daily News report. This development closely follows reports of an equity tie-up between the two companies, with a decision emerging in February.

Taiwanese Nanya Technology and Inotera Memories stated in recent reports that DRAM makers should consider uniting their operations as such moves could contribute to the industry's sustainable development. Elpida refused to comment on this latest report. What does this mean to the consumer? The year 2011 has been a bloodbath for DRAM makers as overproduction led to drastic drops in PC memory prices, and a watershed for PC consumers as a result. These latest developments could contribute to the inevitable rebound of DRAM prices in 2012.Source: DigiTimes

Taiwan Foundries Cut Prices

Taiwan foundries are going to be cutting prices by 10 to 15% for wafers built on mature node processes. Since these wafers have lower production costs the foundries are passing on the savings. This move is to boost consumer confidence in building their inventory after a year of shaky ground in the U.S. and European markets. This according to DigiTimes.

Also DigiTimes is reporting despite slow demand for mature process manufacturing, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) continues to see orders heat up for advanced 28nm technology, according to sources at non Taiwan-based chip suppliers.

This news could mean that these same vendors that are getting a cut in overhead thanks to the foundries could pass on the savings to the end customer to boost revenue.

Source: DigiTimes

TSMC 18-inch Wafer Volume Production On Course for 2015

TSMC told industry observers that its plans to test large 18 inch wafers are on schedule for 2012-13, and should reach volume production in 2015. Silicon chips are manufactured on large discs known as wafers, and cut out of them. Like pizza, the sizes of wafers are measured by their diameters. The 18 inch diameter wafer has been something TSMC has been working on. Larger the wafer, the more chips can be cut out of a single wafer. It works to reduce production costs. TSMC expects to have 95% of its 18 inch wafer production equipment installed in 2014, and commence volume production by 2015. Currently, TSMC faces technical hurdles that have to be solved in collaboration with equipment and material suppliers.

Source: DigiTimes

Acer to Downsize Two-Thirds in 2012

Today DigiTimes reported Acers Chairman JT Wang, announced that the company will be downsizing its product line two-thirds by the end of 2012. Mr. Wangs statement leaned this maneuver as more of a streamline process rather then a downsize citing he expected sales to increase by 10% or higher within the next year. Mr. Wang also stated that this downsize will not effect its outsourcing partners. However, Acer's major partners including Quanta Computer, Compal Electronics, Wistron and Pegatron Technology have decline to comment. One cannot help but wonder how many other manufactures will follow suit in these hard economic times.


Source: DigiTimes

Small, High Resolution Windows Laptops Coming In 2012 - Thanks To Apple

Love 'em or hate 'em, Apple has a habit of trend setting. When Apple released their original iPad, it had a meager low resolution 1024 x 768 resolution display which was scoffed at by many, yet it didn't stop it from being a runaway success. And the iPad 2 didn't improve on it, either – perhaps surprisingly, since the original formula worked so well. However, in early 2012 Apple plans to introduce its new Retina display equipped next generation iPads, offering a very high 2048 x 1536 resolution. On the 9.7" screen of an iPad, this would make the pixels all but invisible to anyone, except for those with the sharpest of 20-20 vision, giving the screen superb clarity and wow factor. These will be incorporated into its next generation iPads, which is expected to push the PC notebook market to use higher resolution displays too in order to remain competitive.
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