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Apple, Google and Microsoft commit to expanded support for FIDO standard to accelerate availability of passwordless sign-ins

In a joint effort to make the web more secure and usable for all, Apple, Google and Microsoft today announced plans to expand support for a common passwordless sign-in standard created by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium. The new capability will allow websites and apps to offer consistent, secure, and easy passwordless sign-ins to consumers across devices and platforms. Password-only authentication is one of the biggest security problems on the web, and managing so many passwords is cumbersome for consumers, which often leads consumers to reuse the same ones across services. This practice can lead to costly account takeovers, data breaches, and even stolen identities. While password managers and legacy forms of two-factor authentication offer incremental improvements, there has been industry-wide collaboration to create sign-in technology that is more convenient and more secure.

The expanded standards-based capabilities will give websites and apps the ability to offer an end-to-end passwordless option. Users will sign in through the same action that they take multiple times each day to unlock their devices, such as a simple verification of their fingerprint or face, or a device PIN. This new approach protects against phishing and sign-in will be radically more secure when compared to passwords and legacy multi-factor technologies such as one-time passcodes sent over SMS.

Apple's Self Service Repair Now Available

Apple today announced Self Service Repair is now available, providing repair manuals and genuine Apple parts and tools through the Apple Self Service Repair Store. Self Service Repair is available in the US and will expand to additional countries—beginning in Europe—later this year.

The new online store offers more than 200 individual parts and tools, enabling customers who are experienced with the complexities of repairing electronic devices to complete repairs on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups and iPhone SE (3rd generation), such as the display, battery, and camera. Later this year the program will also include manuals, parts, and tools to perform repairs on Mac computers with Apple silicon.

Apple, Intel to Become Alpha Customers for TSMC's 2 nm Manufacturing Node

Industry reports and sources in the financial community have placed Apple and Intel as the two premier customers for TSMC's upcoming N2 node. N2, which is expected to enter volume production by the end of 2025, will be TSMC's first manufacturing process making use of GAAFET (Gate-All-Around Field-Effect Transistor) design. If there are no significant market upheavals or unexpected snags in technology transition, TSMC will be late to the GAAFET party, following Samsung's 3GAE node in 2023 and Intel's first Angstrom-era process, Intel 20A, in 2024.

While Apple's uptake on TSMC's latest manufacturing technology is practically a given at this point, the fact that Intel too is taking up TSMC's N2 node showcases the company's evolved business tactics after the introduction of its IDM 2.0 strategy (IDM standing for Integrated Device Manufacturer, meaning Intel too will fabricate chips according to clients' specs). While pre-Pat Gelsinger was seemingly scared of touching any other foundries' products - mostly from the fact that Intel does have its own significant manufacturing capabilities and R&D, after all - the new Intel is clearly more at peace with driving its competitor's revenues.

Blackmagic Design Announces DaVinci Resolve 18

Blackmagic Design today announced DaVinci Resolve 18, a major new cloud collaboration update which allows multiple editors, colorists, VFX artists and audio engineers to work simultaneously on the same project, on the same timeline, anywhere in the world. DaVinci Resolve 18 supports the Blackmagic Cloud for hosting and sharing projects, as well as a new DaVinci proxy workflow. This update also includes new Resolve FX AI tools powered by the DaVinci Neural Engine, as well as time saving tools for editors, Fairlight legacy fixed bus to FlexBus conversion, GPU accelerated paint in Fusion, and more! DaVinci Resolve 18 public beta is available for download now from the Blackmagic Design web site.

DaVinci Resolve 18 is a major release featuring cloud based workflows for a new way to collaborate remotely. Customers can host project libraries using Blackmagic Cloud and collaborate on the same timeline, in real time, with multiple users globally. The new Blackmagic Proxy generator automatically creates proxies linked to camera originals, for a faster editing workflow. There are new Resolve FX such as ultra beauty and 3D depth map, improved subtitling for editors, GPU accelerated Fusion paint and real time title template playback, Fairlight fixed to FlexBus conversion and more. DaVinci Resolve 18 supports Blackmagic Cloud, so customers can host their project libraries on the DaVinci Resolve Project Server in the cloud. Share projects and work collaboratively with editors, colorists, VFX artists and audio engineers on the same project at the same time, anywhere in the world.

PC Shipments Begin to Slow Following Two Years of Strong Growth, According to IDC

Global shipments of traditional PCs, including desktops, notebooks, and workstations, declined 5.1% in the first quarter of 2022 (1Q22) but exceeded earlier forecasts, according to preliminary results from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. The PC market is coming off two years of double-digit growth, so while the first quarter decline is a change in this momentum, it doesn't mean the industry is in a downward spiral. Despite ongoing supply chain and logistical challenges, vendors still shipped 80.5 million PCs during the quarter. The 1Q22 volume marks the seventh consecutive quarter where global shipments surpassed 80 million, a feat not seen since 2012.

"The focus shouldn't be on the year-over-year decline in PC volumes because that was to be expected. The focus should be on the PC industry managing to ship more than 80 million PCs at a time when logistics and supply chain are still a mess, accompanied by numerous geopolitical and pandemic-related challenges," said Ryan Reith, group vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "We have witnessed some slowdown in both the education and consumer markets, but all indicators show demand for commercial PCs remains very strong. We also believe that the consumer market will pick up again in the near future. The result of 1Q22 was PC shipment volumes that were near record levels for a first quarter."

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference Returns in its All-Online Format

Apple today announced it will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in an online format from June 6 through 10, free for all developers to attend. Building on the success of the past two years of virtual events, WWDC22 will showcase the latest innovations in iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS, while giving developers access to Apple engineers and technologies to learn how to create groundbreaking apps and interactive experiences.

"At its heart, WWDC has always been a forum to create connection and build community," said Susan Prescott, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing. "In that spirit, WWDC22 invites developers from around the world to come together to explore how to bring their best ideas to life and push the envelope of what's possible. We love connecting with our developers, and we hope all of our participants come away feeling energized by their experience."

MediaTek Exited 2021 with Over 75 Million Unit Lead Over Qualcomm in Smartphone Apps Processors

The global smartphone applications processor (AP) market grew 23 percent to $30.8 billion in 2021, according to Strategy Analytics' Handset Component Technologies (HCT) service report. According to this Strategy Analytics' Handset Component Technologies (HCT) research report, " Smartphone Apps Processor Market Share Tracker Q4 2021: Qualcomm Increases Revenue Share Lead", Qualcomm, MediaTek, Apple, Samsung LSI and Unisoc grabbed the top-five revenue share ranking spots in the smartphone applications processor (AP) market in 2021.

Sravan Kundojjala, author of the report and Director of Handset Component Technologies service at Strategy Analytics, commented, "For the first time on an annual basis, MediaTek overtook Qualcomm in units and established over 75 million unit-lead in smartphone APs 2021. MediaTek capitalized on Qualcomm's defocus on mid and low tier 4G LTE APs and gained volume share. Despite the loss of unit share crown, Qualcomm exited 2021 with over 43% higher revenue than MediaTek, thanks to an increased mix of higher-priced premium and high-tier APs. Both companies performed well in the 5G AP segment and posted a 13-year high in their AP average selling prices (ASPs)."

Apple Mac Studio Taken Apart, Reveals Giant M1 Ultra SoC

Max Tech performed the first detailed teardown of the Apple Mac Studio, the most powerful Mac since Apple dumped Intel for processors in favor of its own silicon based around high-performance Arm chips built from the ground-up for its own software ecosystem. The M1 Ultra SoC powering the Mac Studio is its most striking piece of technology, with Apple attaching some very tall performance claims not just for its CPU compute performance, but also graphics rendering performance.

The M1 Ultra SoC is physically huge, with roughly similar package size to an AMD EPYC processor in the SP3 package. An integrated heatspreader (IHS) covers almost the entire topside of the package. Things get interesting under the hood. The M1 Ultra is a multi-chip module of two M1 Max dies connected on package using Apple UltraFusion, a coherent fabric interconnect that allows the various components of the two M1 Max dies to access memory controlled by the other die. Speaking of memory, The M1 Ultra features up to 128 GB of LPDDR5 memory that's on-package, This memory is used for the CPU, GPU, as well as the neural processor, and has a combined memory bandwidth of 800 GB/s. The M1 Ultra features up to 20 CPU cores, up to 32 Neural cores, and up to 64 GPU cores (8,192 programmable shaders).

Apple's Graphics Performance Claims Proven Exaggerated by Mac Studio Reviews

Apple made some bold claims at the launch of its new Mac Studio computers when it came to the performance of the new systems and it looks like Apple was exaggerating those claims by quite some margin when it comes to the graphics performance. The first reviews of the new Mac Studio went live today and thanks to those reviews, despite the limited benchmarks that were performed on the new systems from Apple, that as so often Apple's performance metrics are still relying on the reality distortion field. Most of the publications that got their hands on the new systems focused on CPU benchmarks and there's no doubt the Ultra version of the M1 processor is a beast when used for things like video rendering and complex image manipulation, where it's butting heads with an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X.

However, Apple's 64-core GPU isn't quite what the company claimed. In the presentation footnotes Apple provided details on the "highest-end discrete GPU" that they compared to, which was an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090. If we were to be kind to Apple, we would say that the company was slightly off target here, but it's actually not even remotely close. Tom's Guide tested the M1 Ultra SoC in Sid Meier's Civilization 6 and got a whopping 38.85 FPS at 1440p, which is beaten soundly by a Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 4 with a GeForce RTX 3070 laptop GPU that scored 64.9 FPS at 4K. Likewise, The Verge decided to test the claims and had a system with an actual GeForce RTX 3090 in it and ran Shadow of the Tomb Raider and the PC managed 142 FPS at 1080p, with the M1 Ultra coming in quite far behind at 108 FPS. Moving up to 1440p the 3090 came in at 114 FPS, with the M1 still trailing behind, if not quite as badly at 96 FPS.

TSMC's Largest Customer Accounts for 26 Percent of Revenues

You're not going to get an award for guessing who TSMC's biggest customer is, but based on details in TSMC's latest earnings report, its biggest customer stands for no less than 26 percent of TSMC's total revenue. That's up a whole percentage in 2021 over 2020 and as you most likely have already guessed, that company should be Apple. TSMC doesn't, for obvious reasons, reveal who their customers are, but it's no secret that Apple is spending a lot of money with the company. TSMC had a consolidated revenue of NT$1.587 trillion (US$55.73 billion) in 2021, or up 18.53 percent from 2020. The second largest source of revenue for TSMC might surprise some, at least based on the kind of information that the usual analysts tend to claim in their reports.

Although second place in terms of revenue only accounts for another 10 percent of TSMC's total revenue, we're still looking at some serious money here. However, as both Qualcomm and NVIDIA departed for Samsung in 2021, second place is said to be taken by AMD, which might not have been everyone's first guess. Unsurprisingly, 64 percent of TSMC's revenue is coming from companies in the USA, with Taiwan being the second largest source of revenue at 12.8 percent. As far as the PRC is concerned, revenue is said to be down by 29.6 percent and only makes up 10.3 percent of TSMC's revenues for 2021. This is largely due to the US sanctions against Huawei, according to the Taipei Times. The 7 nm node is still the big money maker for TSMC, which pulled in over NT$440 billion, followed by the 5 nm node at over NT$262 billion. However, the 5 nm node revenue grew by 188 percent in 2021, while the 7 nm node only had a revenue growth of 11.5 percent.

Foxconn Suspends Shenzhen Plant Amid Fresh COVID-19 Outbreak in China

Foxconn, which is a key supplier of Apple products, announced on Monday, that it is suspending production in its Shenzhen plants to comply with a new COVID-19 lockdown in the region. The company is attempting to minimize the impact of this on the supply-chain, by increasing manufacturing output of its plants in other regions, it said in a statement. China is witnessing its highest surge in COVID-19 cases since 2020, and the fresh outbreak is expected to affect manufacturing across the country, as factories comply with cubs set in place by health officials. Besides Foxconn, two other suppliers of Apple, namely Unimicron and Sunflex, have announced a suspension of manufacturing operations in the Shenzhen area.

Apple's Brand New Mac Studio With the M1 Ultra CPU Gets First Benchmark Figures

Less than 24 hours after Apple's launch event, the first Geekbench numbers for the new Apple M1 Ultra CPU are out and the numbers are interesting to say the least. For starters, the system the Geekbench numbers are from, is the top of the range 20 Core SKU with 128 GB of RAM. This helps us get some additional insight into Apple's new CPUs. As Apple didn't provide much in technical terms yesterday, nor on its website, we now know that the clock speed of the M1 Ultra is the same 3.2 GHz as the regular M1. It also appears that the CPU cache remains the same, even though Geekbench is only listing the cache of the efficiency cores for some reason.

Although Geekbench isn't a reliable cross-platform benchmark, we do at least get an idea of how the new SoC from Apple performs. The single core performance is more or less on par with the Apple M1 Max, but loses out quite easily to Intel's Alder Lake processors. However, once we move to the multi-threaded test, the M1 Ultra really shows what it's capable of. Surprisingly the performance scaling is almost linear with the double of performance CPU cores compared to the M1 Max, which suggests that Apple's multi-chip module design is extremely capable. The interesting thing will be to see how well this design scales for GPU intensive applications. Stepping outside of the Apple ecosystem, the M1 Ultra ends up somewhere around an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X in terms of multi-core performance. Scaling over some of the detailed tests aren't somewhere between 80-90 percent depending on the particular test compared to the M1 Max, if we compare to the faster results on Geekbench, which is still quite impressive considering we're looking at two M1 Max CPUs that are technically glued together.

Apple M1 Ultra Chip Uses Multi-Chip Module Design to Create a Massive Software Agnostic Processor

Apple yesterday announced its M1 Ultra processor. It is designed to be one of the most powerful solutions ever envisioned for desktop users, and it leverages some of the already existing technologies. Essentially, the M1 Ultra chip combines two monolithic dies containing M1 Max designs. They are stitched together to create one massive chip behaving in a rather exciting way. To pair the two M1 Max dies together, Apple has designed a package called UltraFusion, which is a die-to-die interposer with more than 10,000 signals. It provides 2.5 TB/s low latency inter-processor bandwidth and enables seamless sharing of information across two dies.

What is more interesting is that this approach, called multi-chip module (MCM) design philosophy, allows the software to view these two dies as a single, unified processor. Memory is shared across a vast pool of processor cache and system memory in a single package. This approach is software agnostic and allows hardware to function efficiently with loads of bandwidth. Apple notes that no additional developer optimization is required for the new processor, and the already-existing stack of applications for M1 Max works out-of-the-box. Talking about numbers, the M1 Ultra chip has a potential main memory bandwidth of 800 GB/s, with up to 128 GB of unified system memory. We are yet to see how this design behaves as the first Mac Studio units start shipping, so we have to wait for more tests to check these claims out.

Apple Introduces New iPad Air Featuring M1 Processor

Apple today introduced the new iPad Air with the Apple-designed M1 chip, delivering a massive leap in performance. Available in a new array of colors, iPad Air also features the new Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage for a more natural video conferencing experience, a USB-C port with up to 2x faster transfer speeds, and blazing-fast 5G on cellular models — starting at the same affordable price. Advanced cameras and compatibility with the latest accessories enable users, including content creators, gamers, and students, to push the boundaries of creativity, productivity, and self expression. The new iPad Air is available to order beginning Friday, March 11, and will be in stores beginning Friday, March 18.

"Whether it's a college student taking elaborate notes, a content creator working on their latest project, or a gamer playing graphics-intensive titles, users love iPad Air for its amazing performance and versatility in such a portable design," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "With the breakthrough M1 chip, Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage, and ultra-fast 5G, iPad Air is now more powerful, more capable, and simply more fun than ever."

Apple Unveils All-New Mac Studio & Studio Display

Apple today introduced Mac Studio and Studio Display, an entirely new Mac desktop and display designed to give users everything they need to build the studio of their dreams. A breakthrough in personal computing, Mac Studio is powered by M1 Max and the new M1 Ultra, the world's most powerful chip for a personal computer. It is the first computer to deliver an unprecedented level of performance, an extensive array of connectivity and completely new capabilities, in an unbelievably compact design that sits within arm's reach on the desk.

With Mac Studio, users can do things that are not possible on any other desktop, such as rendering massive 3D environments and playing back 18 streams of ProRes video. Studio Display, the perfect complement to Mac Studio, also pairs beautifully with any Mac. It features an expansive 27-inch 5K Retina display, a 12MP Ultra Wide camera with Centre Stage, and a high-fidelity six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio. Together, Mac Studio and Studio Display transform any workspace into a creative powerhouse. They join Apple's strongest, most powerful Mac line-up ever, and are available to order today, arriving to customers beginning Friday, 18 March.

Apple Unveils M1 Ultra, the World's Most Powerful Chip For a Personal Computer

Apple today announced M1 Ultra, the next giant leap for Apple silicon and the Mac. Featuring UltraFusion — Apple's innovative packaging architecture that interconnects the die of two M1 Max chips to create a system on a chip (SoC) with unprecedented levels of performance and capabilities — M1 Ultra delivers breathtaking computing power to the new Mac Studio while maintaining industry-leading performance per watt.

The new SoC consists of 114 billion transistors, the most ever in a personal computer chip. M1 Ultra can be configured with up to 128 GB of high-bandwidth, low-latency unified memory that can be accessed by the 20-core CPU, 64-core GPU and 32-core Neural Engine, providing astonishing performance for developers compiling code, artists working in huge 3D environments that were previously impossible to render, and video professionals who can transcode video to ProRes up to 5.6x faster than with a 28-core Mac Pro with Afterburner.

Samsung Foundry Looking to Win Over Customers From TSMC

Based on details posted by the Commercial Times in Taiwan, it would appear that Samsung Foundry is working on ways to win over customers from TSMC. The backstory is that fabless chip makers have had to change foundries over time, due to the fact that from a foundry side, it's expensive to be on the cutting edge and many foundries have stepped out of the race. This has left the fabless chip makers with fewer options and with TSMC as the de facto industry leader today. That said, as we've seen, NVIDIA and Qualcomm picked Samsung Foundry for some of their latest chips, but based on industry rumours, the yields aren't great.

Samsung Foundry has been trying to win over customers by offering attractive pricing compared to TSMC, but far from everyone has been interested. Some companies, like Apple, have tried to work with Samsung, but abandoned them in the end in favour of TSMC. Samsung is said to be courting both AMD and NVIDIA, as well as others, although only time will tell if we'll see any future product from either company being manufactured by Samsung Foundry. The fact that there are investigations into the yields at Samsung Foundry should be a concern for any future customer and isn't a good sign of where the company is heading.

Apple Rumoured to Launch 27-inch iMac, Compact Mac Pro

When Apple launched its first M1 iMac, it was to mixed reviews, partially due to the new design, but also due to the fact that it only came with a 24-inch display option. Now rumours of a new 27-inch iMac have surfaced and it might launch as soon as on the 8th of March, when Apple is due to hold its first event of the year. However, if the rumours are true, a lot of Apple fans are going to be disappointed once more, as the 27-inch model is said to only come in a single Pro SKU. The 27-inch iMac is expected to potentially have multiple CPU options though, as it might be offered with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.

The Bloomberg story also talks about a "half-sized Mac Pro" based on either of the high-end M1 chips as well. In this case there isn't much in terms of details to go on, but the author expects it to land at WWDC in June, although shipments are expected in the autumn. Other speculation include the typical kind of transitions you'd expect, like current products moving to Apple's M2 silicon towards the end of the year. That said, a 13-inch MacBook Pro might be on the books, as a cheaper or lighter alternative to the current 14 and 16-inch models. The event in March is also expected to bring a new iPhone SE and iPad Air to market, with as yet unknown specs.

Sonnet Announces Avid-Qualified Thunderbolt AVB Adapter for Apple Mac Computers

Sonnet Technologies today announced the Sonnet Thunderbolt AVB Adapter for Mac computers, a compact, bus-powered Gigabit Ethernet adapter with AVB (Audio Video Bridging, aka IEEE 802.1) networking support for Apple Mac computers with Thunderbolt ports. The Avid Qualified Sonnet adapter was designed for use with the Avid Pro Tools | Carbon professional audio interface for music production, enabling MacBook Air and MacBook Pro computers — both lacking onboard Gigabit Ethernet ports — to connect directly to the Avid interface via a Cat 6 cable.

AVB was developed to overcome issues related to attempts at connecting various analog and digital audio video equipment to each other and provide a networking standard on which devices could utilize a common connection (Gigabit Ethernet) and communicate and operate in precise synchronization with each other. Featuring a 40 Gbps Thunderbolt interface, the Sonnet Thunderbolt AVB Adapter supports the proprietary version of AVB employed by the Avid Pro Tools | Carbon interface to stream audio at 32-bit float precision. When used outside the Pro Tools realm, the Sonnet adapter also supports the low-latency, fully synchronized streaming of audio and video over Ethernet required for standard AVB workflows. Using the Sonnet adapter enables users to add their Mac computer as an endpoint in an AVB network and connect to other AVB-enabled devices such as audio interfaces, mixers, plug-in processors, personal monitor stations, stage boxes, speakers, and speaker processors, either directly or through an AVB-compliant switch.

With an Assist from Oculus Quest 2, 2022 AR/VR Device Shipments Revised Up to 14.19 Million Units, Says TrendForce

AR/VR device shipments revised up to 14.19 million units in 2022, with an annual growth rate of 43.9%, according to TrendForce research. Growth momentum will come from increased demand for remote interactivity stemming from the pandemic, as well as Oculus Quest 2's price reduction strategy. Microsoft HoloLens 2 and Oculus Quest 2 are first in market share for AR and VR, respectively.

According to TrendForce, the topic of the Metaverse has driven brands to actively plan for and stimulate product shipment performance. However, the AR/VR device market has yet to experienced explosive growth due to two factors: component shortages and the difficulty of developing new technologies. In addition, cosmetic and size considerations have made the more optically and technically difficult Pancake design the first choice for new high-end products. Furthermore, various embedded tracking feedback technologies key to enhancing the user's immersive experience such as eye tracking and 6DoF further affect the development progress of a new product as a whole. Since there are no new foreboding products on the horizon, TrendForce believes, no other branded products have a chance at supplanting the current mainstream status of Oculus or Microsoft until at least 2023.

8-inch Wafer Capacity Remains Tight, Shortages Expected to Ease in 2H23, Says TrendForce

From 2020 to 2025, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12-inch equivalent wafer capacity at the world's top ten foundries will be approximately 10% with the majority of these companies focusing on 12-inch capacity expansion, which will see a CAGR of approximately 13.2%, according to TrendForce's research. In terms of 8-inch wafers, due to factors such as difficult to obtain equipment and whether capacity expansion is cost-effective, most fabs can only expand production slightly by means of capacity optimization, equating to a CAGR of only 3.3%. In terms of demand, the products primarily derived from 8-inch wafers, PMIC and Power Discrete, are driven by demand for electric vehicles, 5G smartphones, and servers. Stocking momentum has not fallen off, resulting in a serious shortage of 8-inch wafer production capacity that has festered since 2H19. Therefore, in order to mitigate competition for 8-inch capacity, a trend of shifting certain products to 12-inch production has gradually emerged. However, if shortages in overall 8-inch capacity is to be effectively alleviated, it is still necessary to wait for a large number of mainstream products to migrate to 12-inch production. The timeframe for this migration is estimated to be close to 2H23 into 2024.

December Steam Survey Numbers Points Towards Slow Death of the Quad Core Gaming CPU

This might not come as a real surprise, but in the latest Steam hardware survey, we're seeing clear declines of quad core CPUs, the category that some people have been claiming for the longest of times, is all you need for a gaming PC. Among the Windows systems, the decline is over a percent, with six core CPU gaining well over a percent, although the numbers vary quite a bit over the past five months, which is all the history Valve provides. The decline is also clear on OSX, although it's not quite as big percentage wise, but here the biggest growth is in the eight and 10 core segments, most likely due to Apple's introduction of its own M1 variants of CPUs. Only in the Linux segment are the dual and quad core CPU segments increasing, which suggest that some of these systems might be repurposed Windows machines.

The six core and higher CPU segment now holds over 50 percent share in the Steam survey and eight core CPUs are also up somewhat for Windows machines. Of these CPUs, Intel is holding a 69.27 percent share, up 0.82 percent compared to November, although still down over 3.5 percent since August versus AMD. Intel also gained 0.33 percent of Linux users and is back over 60 percent for the first time since August. On the OSX side of things, Apple seems to have gained a 27.97 percent share of Steam users surveyed, up from 6.05 percent just a month earlier. There has also been a 1.2 percent increase in Steam users surveyed that have 16 GB of RAM, suggesting that the low RAM prices in 2021 has made people upgrade their systems. Over 47 percent of all Steam users that were surveyed appear to have at least 16 GB of RAM in their systems.

NAND Flash ASP Expected to Undergo 10-15% QoQ Decline in 1Q22 as Market Shifts Towards Oversupply, Says TrendForce

Demand for NAND Flash products will undergo a noticeable and cyclical downward correction in 1Q22 as major smartphone brands wind down their procurement activities for the peak season and ODMs prepare for the New Year holidays, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. As such, the NAND Flash market will remain in an oversupply situation, with prices continuing to undergo downward corrections accordingly. However, PC OEMs have been reinstating certain orders for client SSDs since early November in response to improvements in the supply of upstream semiconductor materials. By fulfilling these orders, suppliers are able to keep their inventory level relatively low, meaning they are not under as much pressure as previously expected to reduce inventory by lowering prices. Taking these factors into account, TrendForce expects NAND Flash ASP to undergo a 10-15% QoQ decline in 1Q22, during which NAND Flash prices will experience the most noticeable declines compared to the other quarters in 2022.

Regarding the price trend of NAND Flash products across the whole 2021, TrendForce further indicates that suppliers have actively transitioned their output to higher-layer technologies, resulting in a bit supply growth that noticeably outpaces demand, though the tight supply of components such as controller ICs and PMICs has constrained the production of NAND Flash end-products. Hence, the decline in contract prices of NAND Flash products has not been as severe as previously expected. Moving ahead to 2022, however, the supply of relevant components is expected to gradually improve, so the market for various NAND Flash products will also likely shift towards a noticeable oversupply. As a result, prices of NAND Flash products will steadily decline before the arrival of the peak season in 3Q22.

Latest GeForce NOW Upgrade Rolling Out With Ubisoft Connect Account Linking and Improved PC Gaming on Mac

Get into the game quicker with the latest GeForce NOW update starting to roll out this GFN Thursday. Learn more about our latest app update—featuring Ubisoft Connect account linking for faster game launches—now rolling out to members, and the six new games joining the GeForce NOW library. The update also improves the streaming experience on Mac. So, this GFN Thursday also takes a look at how GeForce NOW transforms Macs into powerful PC gaming rigs.

The newest GeForce NOW app update is rolling out to members on PC and Mac, beginning this week. Version 2.0.36 includes a new feature that links NVIDIA and Ubisoft accounts to enable faster Ubisoft Connect game launches by automatically logging into a user's account. Skip the sign-in process and stream your favorite Ubisoft games this week. The update also includes a fix for streaming at the correct aspect ratio on the Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max, as well as improvements to the countdown timer when viewed on the in-game overlay.

Intel Negotiates 3nm Allocation with TSMC Even as Pat Gelsinger Cautions Against Investing in Taiwan

Intel is reportedly in talks with TSMC to secure foundry allocation to meet its product roadmap execution. The company is sending an executive delegation to meet with TSMC later this month, to secure foundry capacity for the N3 (3 nm) silicon fabrication node, and ensure that Intel's allocation isn't affected by other customers such as Apple. As part of its IDM 2.0 strategy, Intel has decided to build its products essentially as multi-chip modules with each block of IP built on a silicon fabrication node most optimal to it, so the company maximizes cutting-edge foundry nodes only on the technology that benefits from it the most. N3 will play a vital role with logic/compute tiles in products bound for 2023, as N3 hits critical volume in the first half of the year.

In related news, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference, stressed on the importance for American chip designers to seek out semiconductor manufacturing in America, and cautioned against investing in Taiwan (without naming TSMC). This comes in the wake of geopolitical uncertainty in the region. In response to this statement issued to DigiTimes, TSMC CEO Mark Liu downplayed the matter, and said that Gelsinger's statement wasn't worth responding to, and that he doesn't slander industry colleagues. TSMC and Samsung have each announced multi-billion Dollar foundry investments in the US, in attempts to make the global semiconductor supply chains resilient to any security situation that may emerge in East Asia.
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