News Posts matching #2021

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DigiTimes Research: China 14th 5-year Plan to see IC Foundry Capacity Expand 40%

China's upcoming 14th five-year plan (2021-2025) will continue to highlight technology and capacity upgrades as the core of its semiconductor self-sufficiency strategy, with foundry capacity projected to expand 40% from the preceding plan and fabrication process expected to advance to 7 nm, according to Digitimes Research.

Bolstered by national policies in the 13th five-year plan, China's IC manufacturing industry is expected to see combined revenues double to CNY240 billion (US$34.28 million) in 2020 from 2016, and may also move 12 nm to production by the end of the year after having volume produced 14 nm process.

CES 2021 Cancelled, Online Virtual Expo in the Offing

The 2021 edition of the International CES has been cancelled, organizers CTA announced. The 2021 edition, like almost every other edition, was scheduled to take place between January 6-9, 2021. The CTA will now work to set up an "all digital experience" working with all its exhibitors. The show is now expected to only make a comeback in 2022, provided the COVID-19 situation improves. The pandemic still wreaks havoc across the globe, with most nations experiencing community spread. Mass vaccination before the turn of the year seems unlikely, with most vaccine developers yet to test their vaccine candidates.

"Amid the pandemic and growing global health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it's just not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person," CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro said in a statement. Despite fears of the pandemic looming on exhibitors' and visitors' minds, the 2020 edition of CES drew more than 170,000 visitors and over 4,400 exhibitors (that's just for the official exhibitors, not counting the many more exhibiting in nearby locations).

Intel 7nm CPUs Delayed by a Year, Alder Lake in 2H-2021, Other Commentary from Intel Management

Intel's silicon fabrication woes refuse to torment the company's product roadmaps, with the company disclosing in its Q2-2020 financial results release that the company's first CPUs built on the 7 nanometer silicon fabrication node are delayed by a year due to a further 6-month delay from prior expectations. The company will focus on getting its 10 nm node up to scale in the meantime.

The company mentioned that the 10 nm "Tiger Lake" mobile processor and "Ice Lake-SP" enterprise processor remains on-track for 2020. The company's 12th Generation Core "Alder Lake-S" desktop processors won't arrive before the second half of 2021. In the meantime, Intel will launch its 11th Gen Core "Rocket Lake" processor on the 14 nm node, but with increased IPC from the new "Cypress Cove" CPU cores. Also in 2H-2021, the company will launch its "Sapphire Rapids" enterprise processors that come with next-gen connectivity and updated CPU cores.
Intel 7 nanometer delay

Microsoft Fall 2020 Windows 10 Update will Make the New Edge Browser the Default Option

Microsoft has released its Chromium-based Edge browser some time ago and it is already capturing the market. Just in April of this year, it became the world's second most popular web-browser, just behind Google Chrome. Surpassing even Mozilla's Firefox web-browser, the new Edge is rising in popularity very quickly. So far, Microsoft gave an option for Windows 10 users to just download the new browser if they want to, or the only Edge browser you had would be the old version based on the EdgeHTML engine. Even though Microsoft has recently decided to start rolling out the new Chromium-based browser via OS updates, the old version could still find its way in the OS and there wouldn't be a new one present. Starting with update 20H2, Microsoft is bundling the new browser with OS update, making it a default option in the OS.

While the new browser is going to replace old Edge for default opening of links or some files like PDF, the old Edge will still be present. A lot of legacy applications are relying on opening some of their stuff in the old browser, and there sure would be problems if it would be gone. Additionally, gone are the year plus month names for Windows 10 updates, like 1803, 1903, and 1909. Now you get a year plus the first or second half of the year. For example, the next update is 20H2 (second half of 2020), and the one after it is 21H1 (first half of 2021). This is done to avoid confusion and with this Microsoft announced that updates will be faster in general.

Semiconductor Fabs to Log Record Spending of Nearly $68 Billion in 2021, SEMI Reports

2021 is poised to mark a banner year for global fab equipment spending with 24 percent growth to a record US$67.7 billion, 10 percent higher than the previously forecast US$65.7 billion, and all product segments promising solid growth rates, according to the second-quarter 2020 update of the SEMI World Fab Forecast report. Memory fabs will lead worldwide semiconductor segments with US$30 billion in equipment spending, while leading-edge logic and foundry is expected to rank second with US$29 billion in investments.

The 3D NAND memory subsegment will help power the spending spree with a 30 percent jump in investments this year before tacking on 17 percent growth in 2021. DRAM fab investments will surge 50 percent next year after declining 11 percent in 2020, and fab spending on logic and foundry, mainly leading edge, will trace a similar but more muted trajectory, rising 16 percent 2021 after an 11 percent drop this year.

Only one Laptop in 2020 will have AMD's SmartShift Technology

At CES 2020, AMD detailed a new technology called SmartShift. With the launch of the Ryzen 4000 Series "Renoir" processors, AMD has brought this technology to the processors powering the next generation of laptops. Designed to bring better performance to the overall system, the technology uses TDP balancing to boost the performance of processors. What that means is that the technology dynamically relocates the TDP budget to where it is most needed. For example, if the application is CPU intensive, the CPU will get a bigger TDP budget and will get better performance. And it goes the same way for GPU. Of course, the technology works only on AMD CPU and GPU combinations.

To use the SmartShift technology, the platform designer needs to implement it. For example, if a notebook manufacturer decides not to do it in its system, then it will not work. So far, we have only seen one model with SmartShift technology launching this year. The model in question is Dell's G5 15 SE. And it is going to stay like that. Frank Azore of AMD, has come out on Twitter and said that the reason for the lack of other laptops using this technology is because it is brand new and Dell jumped on it first. "No more SmartShift laptops are coming this year but the team is working hard on having more options ASAP for 2021." - he added. Hopefully, we will see more models being powered by this technology as the 2021 starts.
Dell G5 15 SE

TSMC Accelerates 2 nm Semiconductor Node R&D

TSMC, the world's leading semiconductor manufacturing company, has reportedly started to accelerate research and development (R&D) of its next-generation 2 nm node. Having just recently announced that they will be starting production of a 5 nm process in Q4 of 2020, TSMC is pumping out nodes very fast and much faster compared to competition like Intel and Samsung. Having an R&D budget of almost 16 billion USD, TSMC seems to be spending the funds very wisely. The 5 nm node is going into volume production this year, and smaller nodes are already being prepared.

The 3 nm node is going into trial production in the first half of 2021, while the mass production is supposed to commence in 2022. As far as the 2 nm node, TSMC has recently purchased more expensive Extreme Ultra-Violet (EUV) lithography machines for the 2 nm node. Due to the high costs of these EUV machines, TSMC's capital spending will not be revisited this year and it should remain in the $16 billion range. As far as a timeline for 2 nm is concerned, we don't know when will TSMC start trial production as the node is still in development phases.

AMD "Ryzen C7" Smartphone SoC Specifications Listed

Last year Samsung and AMD announced their collaboration which promises to deliver smartphone chips with AMD RDNA 2 graphics at its heart. This collaboration is set to deliver first products sometime at the beginning of 2021 when Samsung will likely utilize new SoCs in their smartphones. In previous leaks, we have found that the GPU inside this processor is reportedly beating the competition form Qualcomm, where the AMD GPU was compared to Adreno 650. However, today we have obtained more information about the new SoC which is reportedly called "Ryzen C7" smartphone SoC. A new submission to a mobile phone leaks website called Slash Leaks has revealed a lot of new details to us.

The SoC looks like a beast. Manufactured on TSMC 5 nm process, it features two Gaugin Pro cores based on recently announced Arm Cortex-X1, two Gaugin cores based on Arm Cortex-A78, and four cores based on Arm Cortex-A55. This configuration represents a standard big.LITTLE CPU typical for smartphones. Two of the Cortex-X1 cores run at 3 GHz, two of Cortex-A78 run at 2.6 GHz, while four little cores are clocked at 2 GHz frequency. The GPU inside this piece of silicon is what is amazing. It features four cores of custom RDNA 2 based designs that are clocked at 700 MHz. These are reported to beat the Adreno 650 by 45% in performance measurements.

TSMC 5 nm+ Node Manufacturing Goes High-Volume in Q4, AMD one of the Major Customers

TSMC is working hard to bring the best silicon out there, with the company supplying many of the companies like NVIDIA, AMD, Huawei, and Apple - all customers who demand the latest and greatest when it comes to the silicon technology. According to sources close to DigiTimes, TSMC is expected to kick-off volume production of its next-generation 5 nm+ manufacturing node, which is an enhancement of the 5 nm node, as soon as Q4 of this year hits.

Update May 29th: The DigiTimes report indicates that TSMC is preparing the 5 nm+ node for AMD Ryzen 4000 "Vermeer" series of CPUs. Originally planned for using the 7 nm+ node, the CPUs are supposedly ported to a smaller node, providing better transistor performance and lower power consumption. The Ryzen 4000 series of desktop processors were planned for launching later this year, however, being that the new information provided by DigiTimes suggests 5 nm+ node could be used, we can expect to see Zen 3 based processors sometime in early 2021.

Intel Rocket Lake CPU Appears with 6 Cores and 12 Threads

We have been hearing a lot about Intel's Rocket Lake lineup of processors. They are supposed to be a backport of Willow Cove 10 nm core, adapted to work on a 14 nm process for better yielding. Meant to launch sometime around late 2020 or the beginning of 2021, Rocket Lake is designed to work on the now existing LGA1200 socket motherboards, which were launched just a few days ago along with Intel Comet Lake CPUs. Rocket Lake is there to supply the desktop segment and satisfy user demand, in light of lacking 10 nm offers for desktop users. The 10 nm node is going to present only on mobile/laptop and server solutions before it comes to the desktop.

In the latest report on 3D Mark, the hardware leaker TUM APISAK has found a Rocket Lake CPU running the benchmark and we get to see first specifications of the Rocket Lake-S platform. The benchmark ran on 6 core model with 12 threads, that had a base clock of 3,5 GHz. The CPU managed to boost up to 4,09 GHz, however, we are sure that these are not final clocks and the actual product should have even higher frequencies. Paired with Gen12 Xe graphics, the Rocket Lake platform could offer a very nice alternative to AMD offerings if the backport of Willow Cove goes well. Even though it is still using a 14 nm node, performance would be good. The only things that would be sacrificed (from backporting) are die space and efficiency/heat.
Intel Rocket Lake Benchmark Report

Fujitsu Completes Delivery of Fugaku Supercomputer

Fujitsu has today officially completed the delivery of the Fugaku supercomputer to the Riken scientific research institute of Japan. This is a big accomplishment as the current COVID-19 pandemic has delayed many happenings in the industry. However, Fujitsu managed to play around that and deliver the supercomputer on time. The last of 400 racks needed for the Fugaku supercomputer was delivered today, on May 13th, as it was originally planned. The supercomputer is supposed to be fully operational starting on the physical year of 2021, where the installation and setup will be done before.

As a reminder, the Fugaku is an Arm-based supercomputer consisting out of 150 thousand A64FX CPUs. These CPUs are custom made processors by Fujitsu based on Arm v8.2 ISA, and they feature 48 cores built on TSMC 7 nm node and running above 2 GHz. Packing 8.786 billion transistors, this monster chips use HBM2 memory instead of a regular DDR memory interface. Recently, a prototype of the Fugaku supercomputer was submitted to the Top500 supercomputer list and it came on top for being the most energy-efficient of all, meaning that it will be as energy efficient as it will be fast. Speculations are that it will have around 400 PetaFlops of general compute power for Dual-Precision workloads, however, for the specific artificial intelligence applications, it should achieve ExaFLOP performance target.
K SuperComputer

Samsung/AMD Radeon GPU for Smartphones is Reportedly Beating the Competition

Samsung and AMD announced last year their strategic partnership to bring AMD RDNA GPUs to the Samsung mobile chips and use that as the only GPU going forward. And now, some performance numbers are going around about the new RDNA smartphone GPU that is compared to Qualcomm Adreno 650 GPU. Thanks to the South Korean technology forum "Clien", they have obtained some alleged performance results of new GPU in the GFXBench benchmark. The baseline in these tests is the Qualcomm Adreno 650 GPU, which scored 123 FPS in Manhattan 3.1 test, 53 FPS in Aztec Normal, and 20 FPS in Aztec High.

The welcome surprise here is the new RDNA GPU Samsung is pursuing. It has scored an amazing 181 FPS in Manhattan 3.1 test (up 47% from Adreno 650), 138 FPS in Aztec Normal (up almost 200% from Adreno 650), and 58 FPS in Aztec High which is 190% higher compared to Adreno 650. This performance results could be very true, as the Samsung and AMD collaboration should give first results in 2021 when the competition will be better, and they need to prepare for that. You always start designing a processor for next-generation workloads and performance if you want to be competitive by the time you release a product.
AMD RDNA GPU

Apple Rumored to Launch New Mac in 2021 with 5 nm A14 SoC, x86 no More

In a recent report by Bloomberg it was revealed that Apple is planning to start selling Mac computers featuring their upcoming in-house A14 ARM chip which will power the next generation iPhone & iPad in 2021. According to sources familiar with the matter Apple is developing three new processors based on the A14 to power some 2021 Mac products, these chips will be manufactured on TSMCs 5 nm process. One of these new processors is expected to be more powerful then the iPhone version.

This marks a significant move for Apple as they shift from x86 to in-house ARM designs across their entire product lineup, we have an editorial on the rise of ARM here. This development is part of Apple's plan to increase control over their products in an attempt to fully unify the Apple ecosystem and reduce reliance on Intel who has struggled to offer significant performance increases in recent years, this will come as a major blow to Intel who benefited greatly from Apple's demand. Apple will need to adapt MacOS for an ARM based design and ensure their is compatibility for third party x86 applications. The first processor is expected to feature 8 "Firestorm" cores and at least four energy-efficient "Icestorm" cores, Apple is also exploring options for up to 12 core processors based on the same design for use in future Macs.

Samsung 3 nm Volume Production Facing Delays in Wake of Coronavirus Impact

Samsung's 3 nm manufacturing has already given fruits to the company, with the South Korean giant already achieving risk production at the start of this year. The company previously projected volume production of their 3 nm process to start in early 2021. However, in a report via DigiTimes, this goal may have slipped to 2022 in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the news outlet, industry sources point this delay not to Samsung's fault in the manufacturing process, but to the entire logistics movement that has to be conducted in ramping up production of a new node. Impacts on logistics and transportation services are causing delays to deliveries of EUV and other critical production equipment, without which Samsung will be hard pressed to achieve its volume production goal. How this will ultimately affect Samsung's bottom line and revenue projections remains to be seen, but this won't do any favors to the company's high-density fabrication tech - especially if rival TSMC somehow manages to skirt these issues.

Apple to Launch Arm-Powered MacBook in the next 18 Months

Apple is currently designing a custom series of CPUs, for its Macbook laptop lineup, based on the Arm Instruction Set Architecture. Having designed some of the most powerful mobile processors that are inside the iPhone series of devices, Apple is preparing to make a jump to an even more powerful device lineup by bringing custom CPUs for MacBook. Tired of the speed by which Intel replaces and upgrades its Core lineup of CPUs, Apple decided to take the matter in its own hands and rumors about the switch to a custom solution have been going on for a while. However, we now have some information about when to expect the first wave of Arm-powered Macs.

According to the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is a well-known insider in the Apple industry, we can expect the first wave of the Arm-powered Macbook in the next 18 months, precisely in the first half of 2021. Supposedly, the first chips for these new Macs are going to be manufactured on a 5 nm manufacturing process, possibly over at TSMC since Apple had a long-lasting history of manufacturing its chips at TSMC foundries. In the meantime, we can expect to see Apple providing developers with tools to transition their x86-64 software to the new Arm ISA. Without a software ecosystem, the hardware platform is essentially worthless. And Apple knows this. We will see how they plan to play it and will report as soon as there is more information.

Ubisoft to Release 5 AAA Game Experiences from October 2020 Through March 2021

Ubisoft has some of the most lucrative gaming franchises in the world right now, and the company is apparently planning to cache out on most of the through the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021. According to Twitter user Shinobi602, Ubisoft will be launching three AAA games - Watch Dogs Legion, Gods and Monsters and Rainbow Six Quarantine - between October and December 2020. Kotaku's own Jason Schreier then pilled on, adding that the two remaining games for the beginning of 2021 would be an Assassin's Creed and a new Far Cry game.

This means that Ubisoft's other franchises, such as Splinter Cell and the much-awaited-yet-somehow-forgotten Beyond Good & Evil 2, will not be releasing any time soon - at least not before March 2021. It remains to be seen, but it's likely all of these three games will see multi-generational releases between current and next-gen consoles.
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