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Global NAND Flash Revenue for 1Q21 Rises by 5.1% QoQ Thanks to Better-Than-Expected Demand for Notebooks and Smartphones, Says TrendForce

Total NAND Flash revenue for 1Q21 increased by 5.1% QoQ to US$14.82 billion, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In particular, bit shipments rose by 11% QoQ, while the overall ASP dropped by 5% QoQ; hence, bit shipment growth offset the decline in the overall ASP. Although NAND Flash demand from notebook computer and smartphone manufacturers remained high, clients from the data center segment exhibited relatively weak demand, since this segment had yet to leave the state of NAND Flash oversupply. Contract prices for this quarter therefore still mostly showed a considerable QoQ drop. On the other hand, OEMs/ODMs of end products began to increase procurement of NAND Flash products from the second half of January onward because they noticed that the shortage of NAND Flash controller ICs was affecting the production of medium- and low-density storage products. Besides avoiding a possible supply crunch in the future, OEMs/ODMs were placing additional orders because they were preparing for a push to expand market share. On account of these developments, the overall NAND Flash demand surpassed expectations in 1Q21.

LED Market Revenue for 2021 Projected to Reach US$16.53 Billion Mainly Due to Automotive/Mini LED Applications, Says TrendForce

Owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, not only did LED revenue experience a downward trajectory, but this decline also reached a magnitude rarely seen in recent years, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. However, as vaccinations begin taking place in 1H21, the LED market's long-stifled demand is expected to rebound from rock bottom. Hence, global LED market revenue will likely undergo a corresponding recovery this year as well, with a forecasted US$16.53 billion, an 8.1% increase YoY, in 2021. Most of this increase can be attributed to four major categories, including automotive LED, Mini/Micro LED, video wall LED, and UV/IR LED.

DRAM Revenue for 1Q21 Undergoes 8.7% Increase QoQ Thanks to Increased Shipment as Well as Higher Prices, Says TrendForce

Demand for DRAM exceeded expectations in 1Q21 as the proliferation of WFH and distance education resulted in high demand for notebook computers against market headwinds, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Also contributing to the increased DRAM demand was Chinese smartphone brands' ramp-up of component procurement while these companies, including OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi, attempted to seize additional market shares after Huawei's inclusion on the Entity List. Finally, DRAM demand from server manufacturers also saw a gradual recovery. Taken together, these factors led to higher-than-expected shipments from various DRAM suppliers in 1Q21 despite the frequent shortage of such key components as IC and passive components. On the other hand, DRAM prices also entered an upward trajectory in 1Q21 in accordance with TrendForce's previous forecasts. In light of the increases in both shipments and quotes, all DRAM suppliers posted revenue growths in 1Q21, and overall DRAM revenue for the quarter reached US$19.2 billion, an 8.7% growth QoQ.

Demand for PC, mobile, graphics, and special DRAM remains healthy in 2Q21. Furthermore, after two to three quarters of inventory reduction during which their DRAM demand was relatively sluggish, some server manufacturers have now kicked off a new round of procurement as they expect a persistent increase in DRAM prices. TrendForce therefore forecasts a significant QoQ increase in DRAM ASP in 2Q21. In conjunction with increased bit shipment, this price hike will likely drive total DRAM revenue for 2Q21 to increase by more than 20% QoQ.

Growth in Total Smartphone Production for 2021 Drops to 8.5% YoY Due to India's Second Wave of Coronavirus, Says TrendForce

TrendForce's investigations find that India has become the second largest market for smartphones since 2019. However, the recent worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country has severely impaired India's domestic economy and subsequently dampened various smartphone brands' production volume and sales (sell-in) performances there. TrendForce is therefore revising the forecasted YoY growth in global smartphone production for 2021 from 9.4% down to 8.5%, with a yearly production volume of 1.36 billion units and potential for further decreases going forward.

TrendForce further indicates that the top five smartphone brands (Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo) have either set up assembly plants in India or sought assistance from EMS providers with operations in the country. Hence, the share of made-in-India smartphones has been on the rise over the years, even though the majority of the domestically manufactured devices are still for meeting the demand of the home market. Judging from the current state of Indian smartphone manufacturing, TrendForce expects the second wave to reduce the country's smartphone production volume for 2Q21 and 3Q21 by a total of 12 million units, in turn resulting in a 7.5% YoY decrease in smartphone production in India for the whole year.

DRAM Prices Projected to Rise by 18-23% QoQ in 2Q21 Owing to Peak Season Demand, Says TrendForce

TrendForce's investigations find that DRAM suppliers and major PC OEMs are currently participating in the critical period of negotiating with each other over contract prices for 2Q21. Although these negotiations have yet to be finalized, the ASP of mainstream DDR4 1G*8 2666 Mbps modules has already increased by nearly 25% QoQ as of now, according to data on ongoing transactions. This represents a higher price hike than TrendForce's prior forecast of "nearly 20%". On the other hand, prices are likewise rising across various DRAM product categories in 2Q21, including DDR3/4 specialty DRAM, mobile DRAM, graphics DRAM, and in particular server DRAM, which is highly related to PC DRAM and is therefore also undergoing a higher price hike than previously expected. TrendForce is therefore revising up its forecast of overall DRAM price hike for 2Q21 from 13-18% QoQ to 18-23% QoQ instead. However, the actual increase in prices of various DRAM product categories will depend on the production capacities allocated to the respective products by DRAM suppliers.

TrendForce: Consumer DRAM Pricing to Increase 20% in 2Q2021 Due to Increased Demand

According to TrendForce, we technology enthusiasts will have other rising prices to contend with throughout 2021, adding to the already ballooning discrete GPU and latest-gen CPUs from the leading manufacturer. The increased demand due to the COVID pandemic stretched the usual stocks to their limits, and due to the tremendous, multiple-month lead times between semiconductor orders and their fulfillment from manufacturers, the entire supply infrastructure was spread too thin for the increased worldwide needs. This leads to increased component pricing, which in turn leads to higher ASP pricing for DRAM. Adding to that equation, of course, is the fact that companies are now more careful, and are placing bigger orders so as to be able to weather these sudden demand changes.

TrendForce says that DRAM pricing has already increased 3-8% in 1Q2021, and that market adjustments will lead to an additional increase somewhere between 13-18% for contract pricing. Server pricing is projected to increase by 20%; graphics DRAM is expected to increase 10-15% in the same time-span, thus giving us that strange stomach churn that comes from having to expect even further increases in graphics card end-user pricing; and overall DRAM pricing for customers is expected to increase by 20% due to the intensifying shortages. What a time to be a system builder.

DRAM ASP to Recover from Decline in 1Q21, with Potential for Slight Growth, Says TrendForce

The DRAM market exhibits a healthier and more balanced supply/demand relationship compared with the NAND Flash market because of its oligopolistic structure, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. The percentage distribution of DRAM supply bits by application currently shows that PC DRAM accounts for 13%, server DRAM 34%, mobile DRAM 40%, graphics DRAM 5%, and consumer DRAM (or specialty DRAM) 8%. Looking ahead to 1Q21, the DRAM market by then will have gone through an inventory adjustment period of slightly more than two quarters. Memory buyers will also be more willing to stock up because they want to reduce the risk of future price hikes. Therefore, DRAM prices on the whole will be constrained from falling further. The overall ASP of DRAM products is now forecasted to stay generally flat or slightly up for 1Q21.

NAND Flash Revenue for 3Q20 up by Only 0.3% QoQ Owing to Weak Server Sales, Says TrendForce

Total NAND Flash revenue reached US$14.5 billion in 3Q20, a 0.3% increase QoQ, while total NAND Flash bit shipment rose by 9% QoQ, but the ASP fell by 9% QoQ, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. The market situation in 3Q20 can be attributed to the rising demand from the consumer electronics end as well as the recovering smartphone demand before the year-end peak sales season. Notably, in the PC market, the rise of distance education contributed to the growing number and scale of Chromebook tenders, but the increase in the demand for Chromebook devices has not led to a significant increase in NAND Flash consumption because storage capacity is rather limited for this kind of notebook computer. Moreover, clients in the server and data center segments had aggressively stocked up on components and server barebones during 2Q20 due to worries about the impact of the pandemic on the supply chain. Hence, their inventories reached a fairly high level by 3Q20. Clients are now under pressure to control and reduce their inventories during this second half of the year. With them scaling back procurement, the overall NAND Flash demand has also weakened, leading to a downward turn in the contract prices of most NAND Flash products.

AMD Reports First Quarter 2020 Financial Results

AMD today announced revenue for the first quarter of 2020 of $1.79 billion, operating income of $177 million, net income of $162 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.14. On a non-GAAP* basis, operating income was $236 million, net income was $222 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.18.

"We executed well in the first quarter, navigating the challenging environment to deliver 40 percent year-over-year revenue growth and significant gross margin expansion driven by our Ryzen and EPYC processors," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "While we expect some uncertainty in the near-term demand environment, our financial foundation is solid and our strong product portfolio positions us well across a diverse set of resilient end markets. We remain focused on strong business execution while ensuring the safety of our employees and supporting our customers, partners and communities. Our strategy and long-term growth plans are unchanged."

AMD Announces Integration With Microsoft's Secured-Core PC Initiative

In today's world, computer security is becoming very important due the exponential increase in malware and ransomware attacks. Various studies have shown that a single malicious attack can cost companies millions of dollars and can require significant recovery time. With the growth of employees working remotely and connected to a network considered less secure than traditional corporate network, employee's computer systems can be perceived as a weak security link and a risk to overall security of the company. Operating System (OS) and independent hardware vendors (IHV) are investing in security technologies which will make computers more resilient to cyberattacks.

AMD to Release Ryzen 7 3750X Processor?

AMD's latest Product Master guide (since taken down but immortalized in the interweb) has a surprise in store for AMD's Ryzen 7 desktop CPU lineup. Sandwiched in-between the Ryzen 7 3700X and the Ryzen 7 3800X, a new entry has reared its head, in the form of the Ryzen 7 3750X. The new CPU is specified to keep the same 105 W TDP of its elder sibling Ryzen 7 3800X, instead of keeping the Ryzen 7 3700X's 65 W TDP. Technically, this is possible to achieve in both pricing and performance: the Ryzen 7 3750X, if it ever is launched (it could be a specific release for system integrators or other interested parties outside the usual mainstream desktop suspects) could sport increased base clocks compared to the Ryzen 7 3700X's 3.6 GHz base / 4.4 GHz boost clocks... But not easily, considering the Ryzen 7 3800X starts at 3.9 GHz base / 4.5 GHz boost. It's possible to release the 3750X with a 200 MHz boost on base clocks and the same 4.4 GHz boost, but does it make any sense to do so?

It could - even if with some forced optimism - should AMD price it closer to the Ryzen 7 3700X than to the Ryzen 7 3800X. The $329 and $399 prices for those CPUs, respectively, leave a gap that could be filled by the Ryzen 7 3750X at around the $349 mark, for example. It's likely most users would be making the jump from the 65 W CPU than dropping less cash compared to the 3800X, so AMD's margins per sale would definitely improve. At the same time, this could be a way for AMD to cope with TSMC's 7 nm increase in lead-times and lower availability of CPUs by moving stock from the 65 W CPU to the pricier 3750X in parts that can actually run at those frequencies. Driving their lineup's ASP up ensures AMD can keep a steady stream of income should availability decline - less parts sold at a greater price can shore up some of the lost cash influx.

AMD Reports Second Quarter 2019 Financial Results

AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) today announced revenue for the second quarter of 2019 of $1.53 billion, operating income of $59 million, net income of $35 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.03. On a non-GAAP basis, operating income was $111 million, net income was $92 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.08.

"I am pleased with our financial performance and execution in the quarter as we ramped production of three leadership 7nm product families," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "We have reached a significant inflection point for the company as our new Ryzen, Radeon and EPYC processors form the most competitive product portfolio in our history and are well positioned to drive significant growth in the second half of the year."

GIGABYTE Z390 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce Motherboard Now Available... For $899 or €1049

Remember when we brought you coverage of Gigabyte's watercooling-built Z390 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce motherboard? At the time, we expected its design and feature set to place it some $100-$150 above the original Z390 Aorus Xtreme. Well, color us surprised, as it's being sold not at some $650-$700, but at a staggering $899 if you're lucky enough to live on the other side of the pond (speaking as a Portuguese man over here), or for an outrageous €1087 ($1247) here in my home country of Portugal. And I'm not even kidding.

Perhaps this is part of Gigabyte's push for higher profitability, via higher ASP (Average Selling Price) of its products in order to increase margins, especially on high-tier or halo products. Still, this pricing seems silly. We'll see if the market agrees with the valuation GIGABYTE is throwing behind its Z390 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce motherboard.

Hold on to Your $: DRAM Pricing Now Expected to Drop Towards, Into 2019

A DRAM market pricing watch report from DRAMeXchange, a division of Trendforce, has just outed a prediction for DRAM price drops towards 2019 and into the same year. The report points to already-decreased by 10.14% pricing (US$34.5 in 3Q18 to the current US$31) for 4GB PC DRAM modules in the market, relative to the previous quarter, as a sign for continued drops. 8 GB DRAM module pricing has declined by 10.29%, signaling an increased inventory of those parts.

The report also states that suppliers have just reached the inflection point for oversupply, despite continued efforts from manufacturers to artificially decrease manufacturing to keep a strain on demand. The report further states that "The ASP in the whole DRAM market is forecast to fall by as much as around 20% YoY in 2019, according to DRAMeXchange's latest analysis. After reaching peak profit in 3Q18, DRAM suppliers are now optimizing their costs so that they will have a soft landing in 2019 as prices are marked down every quarter."

Gigabyte Expects Its Graphics Card Shipments to Fall by 20% in 2Q18

As the mining craze seems to have hit a steaming wall alongside the current contraction in the crypto market (which has almost all cryptocurrencies redlining), Gigabyte is revising its graphics card shipment expectations for 2Q18. This isn't a sudden move, mind you: the "cryptocurrency mining accelerator market" has been slowing its ludicrous demand for some time now. However, Gigabyte expects the slowdown to continue and maybe even become steeper: a 20% reduction in its overall shipment expectations for 2Q18, from 1.2M units down to 1M, and a 10% reduction in ASP (Average Selling Price) do speak to this decline in demand. As a result of this expected decrease, Gigabyte will once again turn its marketing efforts towards gaming products and usage scenarios for their graphics cards, diverting funds that had been allocated to mining.

Don't worry though: Gigabyte is doing great. 1Q18 saw the company post record profits higher than the first half of 2017 - 1Q18 profits rose 91% sequentially and skyrocketed five-fold YoY to NT$1.61 billion (US$52.75 million). The company's revenue for graphics cards hit an all-time high of 49% per graphics card sold (a result of increased ASP). the company's motherboard business should see the same results as the previous year - a fault of Intel's increased delays in launching a new, compelling product line-up. Who would have thunk - Intel, the company that's always launching new platforms and chipsets and ending motherboard support for new CPUs.

NAND Flash Supply to Improve in 1Q18

DigiTimes, quoting industry sources, reports that NAND flash supply should see improvements from its 4Q17 state in 2018. This likely doesn't come as much of a surprise - 2017 has been a sort of "squeeze" year for NAND and DDR memory manufacturing, with companies increasing production without committing to fully satisfy demand, which in turn translates to longer term higher pricing of memory. Still, those tentative increases to production capabilities should begin to release the memory pricing squeeze during 1Q18, with ASP (average selling price) coming down.

The increase in production and supply doesn't come solely from factory floor expansions, however; there's also been reports of increased yields of 3D NAND fabrication technologies, which should also increase availability in the best way possible for manufacturers.

Q4 2017 300 mm Silicon Wafer Pricing to Increase 20% YoY in DRAM-like Squeeze

Silicon wafers are definitely the best kind of wafers for us tech enthusiasts, but as we all know, required financial resources for the development and production of these is among the most intensive in development costs and R&D. It's not just about the cost of employing enough (and crucially, good enough) engineers that can employ the right tools and knowledge to design the processing miracles that are etched onto wafers; there's also the cost of good, old production as well. Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography Systems that are used for the production of silicon wafers are about the size of a city bus, and typically cost more than 100 million euros ($115.3 million) each. ASML, a Dutch company that specializes in this kind of equipment, announced this year it was expecting to see a 25% revenue growth for 2017. Increased demand for these systems - and added cost of development of ever increasingly small and complex etchings in wafers - means this sector is seeing strong growth. But where there is strong growth, there is usually high demand, and high demand means higher strain on supply, which may sometimes not be able to keep up with the market's needs.

This is seemingly the case for wafer pricing; as demand for wafer production has been increasing, so to are prices. Faced with increased demand, companies are usually faced with a tough question to answer in regards to the correct course of action. Usually, it goes like this: higher demand at the same supply level means higher pricing. However, if supply isn't enough to satisfy demand, manufacturers are losing out on potential increased sales. This leads most companies to increase supply relative to demand, but always with lower projected output than demand requires, so they can bask in both increased ASP (Average Sale Price) and higher number of sales. This has been the case with DRAM memory production for some time now: and is happening with 300 mm silicon wafers as well.
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