News Posts matching #2019

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Industry R&D Spending To Rise 4% After Hitting Record in 2020: IC Insights

Research and development spending by semiconductor companies worldwide is forecast to grow 4% in 2021 to $71.4 billion after rising 5% in 2020 to a record high of $68.4 billion, according to IC Insights' new 2021 edition of The McClean Report—A Complete Analysis and Forecast of the Integrated Circuit Industry. Total R&D spending by semiconductor companies is expected to rise by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8% between 2021 and 2025 to $89.3 billion.

When the world was hit by the Covid-19 virus health crisis in 2020, wary semiconductor suppliers kept a lid on R&D spending increases, even though total semiconductor industry revenue grew by a surprising 8% in the year despite the economic fallout from the deadly pandemic. Semiconductor R&D expenditures as a percentage of worldwide industry sales slipped to 14.2% in 2020 compared to 14.6% in 2019, when research and development spending declined 1% and total semiconductor revenue fell 12%. Figure 1 plots semiconductor R&D spending levels and the spending-to-sales ratios over the past two decades and IC Insights' forecast through 2025.

Shipped Pre-built PC Systems See 13% Rise in Sales in 2020 Compared to 2019

The International Data Corporation (IDC) has revealed PC shipping growth numbers for 2020 - counting desktops, notebooks (including Chromebooks) and workstations (but excluding laptops and servers), and the results are clear. In a currently-pandemic world, and with the urge and necessity for teleworking efforts so as to reduce personal exposure to risk environments, we've seen an unprecedented demand for technological components. Whether in shortages for the latest "comfort" technologies such as dedicated graphics cards, latest-gen consoles, or even webcams, it's been clear that citizens of the world have been increasingly investing their money in technological devices. This need - either for work, for bridging social distances through the Internet, or for entertainment - has led the pre-built PC ecosystem shipments to increase as much as 13% in 2020 - and a global shipment number set at 302.6 million units.

This year-over-year (YoY) increase is bolstered, mainly, by rises in sales throughout Q4 of 2020, where global PC shipments achieved an outstanding 26% increase from Q4 2019 - in the fourth quarter of 2020 alone, 91.6 million units were shipped. In that particular quarter, Lenovo led the top three vendors with a 25.2% share of the sales, followed by HP (20.9%) and Dell (17.2%). Apple appears in fourth place with a mere 8% market share, but shows the strongest growth among the top 5 sellers, at 49.2% YoY - and that's with Apple's comparatively small product portfolio when put against any of the other top three vendors.

AWS Arm-based Graviton Processors Sees the Biggest Growth in Instance Share

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world's largest cloud services provider, has launched its Graviton series of custom processors some time ago. With Graviton, AWS had a plan to bring down the costs of offering some cloud services both for the customer and for the company. By doing that, the company planned to attract new customers offering greater value, and that plan seems to be working out well. When AWS launched its first-generation Graviton processor, the company took everyone by surprise and showed that it is capable of designing and operating its custom processors. The Graviton series of processors is based on the Arm Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and the latest Graviton 2 series uses Arm Neoverse N1 cores as the base.

Today, thanks to the data from Liftr Insights, we get to see just how many total AWS instances are Graviton based. The data is showing some rather impressive numbers for the period from June 2019, to August 2020. In that timeframe, Intel with its Xeon offerings has seen its presence decrease from 88% to 70%, while AMD has grown from 11% to 20% presence. And perhaps the greatest silent winner here is the Graviton processor, which had massive growth. In the same period, AWS increased Graviton instance number from making up only 1% of all instances, to make up 10% of all instances available. This is a 10-fold increase which is not a small feat, given that data center providers are very difficult when it comes to changing platforms.

AWS Leverages Habana Gaudi AI Processors

Today at AWS re:Invent 2020, AWS CEO Andy Jassy announced EC2 instances that will leverage up to eight Habana Gaudi accelerators and deliver up to 40% better price performance than current graphics processing unit-based EC2 instances for machine learning workloads. Gaudi accelerators are specifically designed for training deep learning models for workloads that include natural language processing, object detection and machine learning training, classification, recommendation and personalization.

"We are proud that AWS has chosen Habana Gaudi processors for its forthcoming EC2 training instances. The Habana team looks forward to our continued collaboration with AWS to deliver on a roadmap that will provide customers with continuity and advances over time." -David Dahan, chief executive officer at Habana Labs, an Intel Company.

China Forecast to Represent 22% of the Foundry Market in 2020, says IC Insights

IC Insights recently released its September Update to the 2020 McClean Report that presented the second of a two-part analysis on the global IC foundry industry and included a look at the pure-play foundry market by region.

China was responsible for essentially all of the total pure-play foundry market increase in 2018. In 2019, the U.S./China trade war slowed China's economic growth but its foundry marketshare still increased by two percentage points to 21%. Moreover, despite the Covid-19 shutdown of China's economy earlier this year, China's share of the pure-play foundry market is forecast to be 22% in 2020, 17 percentage points greater than it registered in 2010 (Figure 1).

Gartner: Worldwide PC Shipments Grew 2.8% in Second Quarter of 2020

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 64.8 million units in the second quarter of 2020, a 2.8% increase from the second quarter of 2019, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. After a significant decline in the first quarter of the year due to COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions, the PC market returned to growth as vendors restocked their channels and mobile PC demand increased.

"The second quarter of 2020 represented a short-term recovery for the worldwide PC market, led by exceptionally strong growth in EMEA," said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner. "After the PC supply chain was severely disrupted in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the growth this quarter was due to distributors and retail channels restocking their supplies back to near-normal levels.

Corsair Recalls SF Series of PSUs due to Failure Concerns

Corsair's SF series of PSUs has been long present as part of the company's offerings, designed to the satisfy small form factor crowd with its SFX size. Today, Corsair has announced that they will be recalling some units and replace them free of charge, including free shipping. Corsair says that "We have recently identified higher-than-normal RMA rates among our SF family of small-form-factor PSUs. Following a thorough investigation, we have found a potential issue that can manifest when the PSU is exposed to a combination of both high temperatures, and high humidity. This regrettably can cause the PSU to fail. This issue potentially affects units in lot codes 194448xx to 201148xx, manufactured between October 2019 and March 2020."

The problem is located in the AC conversion part of the PSU, not the DC one which interacts with PC components, so Corsairs points out that all of the components are safe even if PSU fails. To get a replacement PSU, Corsair offers affected customers to submit their tickets here, with the title "SF Series voluntary product replacement", so they can easily identify customers and give them quicker replacement units.
Corsair SF600 PSU

Unfixable Flaw Found in Thunderbolt Port that Unlocks any PC in Less Than 5 Minutes

Dutch researcher from the Eindhoven University of Technology has found a new vulnerability in Thunderbolt port that allows attackers with physical access to unlock any PC running Windows or Linux kernel-based OS in less than 5 minutes. The researcher of the university called Björn Ruytenberg found a method which he calls Thunderspy, which can bypass the login screen of any PC. This attack requires physical access to the device, which is, of course, dangerous on its own if left with a person of knowledge. The Thunderbolt port is a fast protocol, and part of the reason why it is so fast is that it partially allows direct access to computer memory. And anything that can access memory directly is a potential vulnerability.

The Thunderspy attack relies on just that. There is a feature built into the Thunderbolt firmware called "Security Level", which disallows access to untrusted devices or even turns off Thunderbolt port altogether. This feature would make the port be a simple USB or display output. However, the researcher has found a way to alter the firmware setting of Thunderbolt control chip in a way so it allows any device to access the PC. This procedure is done without any trace and OS can not detect that there was a change. From there, the magic happens. Using an SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) programmer with a SOP8 clip that connects the pins of the programmer device to the controller, the attacker just runs a script from there. This procedure requires around $400 worth of hardware. Intel already put some protection last year for the Thunderbolt port called Kernel Direct Memory Access Protection, but that feature isn't implemented on PCs manufactured before 2019. And even starting from 2019, not all PC manufacturers implement the feature, so there is a wide group of devices vulnerable to this unfixable attack.
Thunderspy attack

Samsung Electronics Begins Mass Production at New EUV Manufacturing Line

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced that its new cutting-edge semiconductor fabrication line in Hwaseong, Korea, has begun mass production.

The facility, V1, is Samsung's first semiconductor production line dedicated to the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology and produces chips using process node of 7 nanometer (nm) and below. The V1 line broke ground in February 2018, and began test wafer production in the second half of 2019. Its first products will be delivered to customers in the first quarter.

ASRock Revenue Soars Due to the Ryzen Effect

ASRock, a Taiwanese manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, had an amazing 2019 when it comes to the revenue. Surging around 31% on a Year-over-Year (YoY) basis and delivering revenue of 443.16 million US Dollars, ASRock is expecting to deliver even better results in 2020. When it comes to the underlying reasons for this notable increase, ASRock attributes it to the recent success of AMD's Ryzen family of processors and strong demand for the platform surrounding it. Adopting the AMD Ryzen processors in Mini-PCs, motherboards and server boards, ASRocks see strong demand for these products that should carry over in 2020.

Another reason for strong profits and even better chapters ahead is the developments in the US and European markets. Having previously been focused on the Asian market and marketing its products to that part, ASRock changed the strategy and started advertising its brand more to other regions like the US and Europe. This new strategy is progressing well and is expected to continue in the coming years. Additionally, it is worth noting that ASRock's graphics card sales started to turn profitable in 2019, and now that part of ASRock is attributing to profits as well.

Traditional PC Volumes Close Out an Impressive 2019 with Fourth Quarter Growth of 4.8%, According to IDC

The worldwide market for traditional PCs, inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations, finished an impressive 2019 with fourth quarter growth of 4.8% year over year, according to preliminary results from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. Global shipments during the quarter beat forecast expectations at just under 71.8 million units, the highest single quarter shipment volume in four years (4Q15). Overall, global shipments grew 2.7% year over year in 2019, the first full year of PC growth since the market grew 1.7% in 2011.

"This past year was a wild one in the PC world, which resulted in impressive market growth that ultimately ended seven consecutive years of market contraction," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "The market will still have its challenges ahead, but this year was a clear sign that PC demand is still there despite the continued insurgence of emerging form factors and the demand for mobile computing."

Diablo IV Announced at BlizzCon 2019

Blizzard at this year's BlizzCon 2019 in Anaheim, California formally announced Diablo IV to the world, building on the 2012-released Diablo III as promised, after the company announced a refocus on its existing franchises. According to Blizzard, the game's premise stands as "Diablo IV takes place many years after the events of Diablo III, after millions have been slaughtered by the actions of the High Heavens and Burning Hells alike. In the vacuum of power, a legendary name resurfaces."

Blizzard claimed Diablo IV would have darker, grittier overtones such as in the earlier entries in the franchise, a style that was left somewhat in the background for Diablo III. There will be more blood, there will be more gore, and for now, three classes have been announced that will be your avatars in partaking in violence on Diablo IV: the barbarian, sorceress, and druid. Blizzard has also said some words regarding a technological push in the game, claiming that "This technology is at the heart of everything players will see, hear, and feel — delivering much higher fidelity and a more engrossing experience." No details on what exactly this meant were shared by the company, though. Chek out the reveal and gameplay trailers after the break.

Razer Announces the Firefly V2 RGB Mouse Pad

Razer has introduced an updated version of their Firefly RGB mouse pad. First introduced in May 2015, the original Firefly carried 15 RGB lighting zones that could be customized via Razer's Chroma software. There are still 16.8 million colors available for user customization, but the number of lighting zones has been increased from 15 (in the May 2015 model) to 19 (in the November 2019 model). Coincidence? I think not.

The new Firefly V2 now also features brighter LEDs for a more dashing experience, and has been made thinner as well, coming in at just 3 mm (1 mm has been shaved compared to the original model). Like the original version, the Firefly V2 RGB features a micro-textured hard surface, optimized for precise tracking across all mouse sensors, playstyles and sensitivity settings. It also features a built-in cable catch for minimal mouse drag and an anti-slip rubber base to stay firmly in place. The Razer Firefly V2 RGB is now available at various retailers for £49.99 GBP / $49.99 USD / €59.99 MSRP.

TSMC Reports Third Quarter Results

TSMC today announced consolidated revenue of NT$293.05 billion, net income of NT$101.07 billion, and diluted earnings per share of NT$3.90 (US$0.62 per ADR unit) for the third quarter ended September 30, 2019.

Year-over-year, third quarter revenue increased 12.6% while net income and diluted EPS both increased 13.5%. Compared to second quarter 2019, third quarter results represented a 21.6% increase in revenue and a 51.4% increase in net income. All figures were prepared in accordance with TIFRS on a consolidated basis.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.10.1 with Support for Radeon RX 5500 and RX 5500M

AMD today released a newest update to its Radeon Adrenalin driver. Dubbed version 19.10.1, the new release brings many new bug fixes and improvements to the table. For starters it will enable support for the newly released Radeon RX 5500 an 5500M desktop and mobile graphics cards, so now the buyers of these cards will have a driver from day one to start their experience smoothly. Additionally, support for the upcoming game "GRID", set to release on October 11th, is also included with this driver release.

Download the Adrenalin 19.10.1 Driver here.
The change-log follows.

TSMC Starts Shipping its 7nm+ Node Based on EUV Technology

TSMC today announced that its seven-nanometer plus (N7+), the industry's first commercially available Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology, is delivering customer products to market in high volume. The N7+ process with EUV technology is built on TSMC's successful 7 nm node and paves the way for 6 nm and more advanced technologies.

The N7+ volume production is one of the fastest on record. N7+, which began volume production in the second quarter of 2019, is matching yields similar to the original N7 process that has been in volume production for more than one year.

TSMC August 2019 Revenue Report

TSMC (TWSE: 2330, NYSE: TSM) today announced its net revenues for August 2019: On a consolidated basis, revenues for August 2019 were approximately NT$106.12 billion, an increase of 25.2 percent from July 2019 and an increase of 16.5 percent from August 2018. Revenues for January through August 2019 totaled NT$650.58 billion, an increase of 0.6 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

Alphacool Announces Availability of the Eisball Reservoir

Alphacool showcased their Eisball reservoir back at Computex 2019, which stole a considerable number of looks due to its uncommon shape. Now, the company has announced availability for the Dragon Ball-shaped reservoir. Compatible with VPP 655/755 pumps or all original Laing D5 pumps, the Eisball keeps its appearance clean with black-sleeved cables, and features an RGB ring for added bling on your rig.

Weighing 610 g and supporting operating temperatures up to 61º C, it has a maximum capacity of 700 ml, with support for mounting options on radiators or fan slots supporting either 120 mm or 140 mm fans. The Alphacool Eisball reservoir will be available from tomorrow, 8th of August. No word on pricing as of yet, but this space will be updated when that information is made available by the company.

Intel Starts Shipping 10 nm Ice Lake CPUs to OEMs

During its second quarter earnings call, Intel announced that it has started shipping of 10th generation "Core" CPUs to OEMs. Making use of 10 nm lithography, the 10th generation of "Core" CPUs, codenamed Ice Lake, were qualified by OEMs earlier in 2019 in order to be integrated into future products. Ice Lake is on track for holiday season 2019, meaning that we can expect products on-shelves by the end of this year. That is exciting news as the 10th generation of Core CPUs is bringing some exciting micro-architectural improvements along with the long awaited and delayed Intel's 10nm manufacturing process node.

The new CPUs are supposed to get around 18% IPC improvement on average when looking at direct comparison to previous generation of Intel CPUs, while being clocked at same frequency. This time, even regular mobile/desktop parts will get AVX512 support, alongside VNNI and Cryptography ISA extensions that are supposed to bring additional security and performance for the ever increasing number of tasks, especially new ones like Neural Network processing. Core configurations will be ranging from dual core i3 to quad core i7, where we will see total of 11 models available.

Microsoft to Present First Halo Infinite Gameplay at E3 2019 - On the PC Platform

Tech Journalist Brad Sams, who first reported on Halo: The Master Chief Collection coming to the PC platform before its official announcement, has spilled the beans on another juicy detail regarding the Halo universe: that Microsoft will use this E3 2019 to showcase the first gameplay for the game. This isn't news, really - after last year's tease, it was expected that gameplay would be available this year to whet gamers' appetites. However, the fact that Halo Infinite will be running in the PC platform is newsworthy, since this is quite the departure from previously-known Microsoft, which seemed to relegate its PC gaming ambitions to other developers.

Now, with Microsoft vouching to treat the PC platform as the gaming juggernaut it is, and the already-known information that 343 Industries' (the current Halo developers) Slipspace engine would treat PC gamers with the latest technology in terms of graphics presentation, PC has become the defacto platform of choice to showcase Halo's next-gen visuals (whilst using an Xbox One controller, by the way). This likely only happens because Microsoft isn't ready to completely pull the wraps on the next-generation Xbox; or it could serve as a show of good faith from the company when it comes to PC gaming. Whatever the reason for Microsoft's decision, this seems like a great time to be a PC - and Halo - fan.

Square Enix Teases New Game to be Announced at E3 2019: Outriders

The official Outriders account today teased the reveal of a new game - and what looks like a new IP - via its official Twitter account. The short, 15 second teaser does give away some elements: the setting is decidedly sci-fi. Rumors place the studio behind Outriders as People Can Fly (developers of Bulletstorm and, of which we haven't heard much from in recent times.

People Can Fly opened a development branch in Newcastle, UK, in September 2017, which included a number of former Ubisoft developers among others, and a second Poland studio in Rzeszów in May 2018. This second branch brought on former CI Games developers following layoffs at that studio earlier, bringing the total number of people for People Can Fly to about 160 - and the studio has been news object of it working with Square Enix on a AAA shooter. Since the reveal is being placed at Square Enix's E3 conference, it seems that Outriders could definitely be it.

GALAX at COMPUTEX 2019: GeForce RTX 2080 Ti HOF 10th Anniversary Edition

GALAX at COMPUTEX 2019 showcased their latest, 10th anniversary iteration of the world's most powerful consumer graphics card. Their GeForce RTX 2080 Ti HOF 10th Anniversary Edition graphics card features the brand's hallmark all-white design, with an RGB element around the center fan of its triple-fan cooling system that represents a time-scale of this 10th anniversary.

The steampunk elements usually present in GALAX's products are still here, in the radial of the two outside fans. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti HOF 10th Anniversary Edition comes prepared for water cooling out of the box in a hybrid solution, and drinks power from three 8-pin connectors.

G.SKILL at COMPUTEX 2019: KM360 Keyboard, MX350 Mouse, Trident Z Neo DDR4 Memory

G.Skill at COMPUTEX 2019 showcased its range of products for gamers. The KM360 is being hailed as a professional tenkeyless keyboard. Its top plate is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, and it sports Cherry MX mechanical switches (in the photos, Cherry MX Red), which are paired with ABS keycaps made via a double injection technique for improved feel and durability. There are the usual gaming features as well: Full N-Key Rollover and 100% anti-ghosting.

The MX350 is an optical gaming mouse sporting RGB lighting, as almost all of them do these days. A Pixart 3327 sensor with up to 6200 DPI resolution is the weapon of choice here, and the MX350 features six pre-programmed DPI stages that can be changed on-the-fly according to the gaming scenario you're facing. a 1 ms polling rate, dual side keys for action mapping, and two specific DPI up-down buttons are present.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.5.1 Drivers

Just in time for the release of Bethesda's open-world first-person shooter Rage 2 (find our performance analysis here), AMD has released their latest installment of the Radeon Adrenalin 2019 edition drivers for their graphics cards to make the most of the game. Indeed, AMD claims an improvement in game performance of up to 16% on the Radeon VII relative to last month's 19.4.3 drivers, and this is in addition to added support for the big Windows 10 May 2019 update and instruction tracing for AMD's GPU Profiler version 1.5.X. There is a plethora of fixed issues listed as well, and the usual list of known bugs, all of which can be seen past the break. We have also hosted the drivers installer for your convenience, which can be found at the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.5.1

Intel Switches Gears to 7nm Post 10nm, First Node Live in 2021

Intel's semiconductor manufacturing business has had a terrible past 5 years as it struggled to execute its 10 nanometer roadmap forcing the company's processor designers to re-hash the "Skylake" microarchitecture for 5 generations of Core processors, including the upcoming "Comet Lake." Its truly next-generation microarchitecture, codenamed "Ice Lake," which features a new CPU core design called "Sunny Cove," comes out toward the end of 2019, with desktop rollouts expected 2020. It turns out that the 10 nm process it's designed for, will have a rather short reign at Intel's fabs. Speaking at an investor's summit on Wednesday, Intel put out its silicon fabrication roadmap that sees an accelerated roll-out of Intel's own 7 nm process.

When it goes live and fit for mass production some time in 2021, Intel's 7 nm process will be a staggering 3 years behind TSMC, which fired up its 7 nm node in 2018. AMD is already mass-producing CPUs and GPUs on this node. Unlike TSMC, Intel will implement EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography straightaway. TSMC began 7 nm with DUV (deep ultraviolet) in 2018, and its EUV node went live in March. Samsung's 7 nm EUV node went up last October. Intel's roadmap doesn't show a leap from its current 10 nm node to 7 nm EUV, though. Intel will refine the 10 nm node to squeeze out energy-efficiency, with a refreshed 10 nm+ node that goes live some time in 2020.
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