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US Becomes Global Bitcoin Mining Leader

The United States has now become the leading country in cryptocurrency mining operations, following China's mining ban and subsequent exodus of its mining operators to less dangerous waters. According to figures published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, US-based miners reached a 35.4% share in overall bitcoin hashrate in July this year - up 17% compared to April, and only a month after China's move to ban all domestic cryptocurrency mining operations. In the months since, China's Bitcoin hash rate control declined from 44% in May of this year down to 0% as early as July - a far cry from its September 2019 high, which saw the country hold around 75% of the global mining hashrate.

As is usually the case, one country's loss equates to another's "gain", and the same is true for mining operations following the China ban. The US may have become the biggest player in this particular court, but any country with cheap electricity that allows for profits increases is fair game. Countries like Kazakhstan went from 8% to 18% in the same period, claiming the current second spot in overall hashrate, while Russia has now claimed third place after reaching an 11% share - rising from 6.8% three months earlier. It remains to be seen whether these mining operation relocations will see the US face the same migratory phenomenons as China did back when mining wasn't banned: operators spent the dry season on regions like Xinjiang in late autumn, winter and spring, migrating to regions with significant temporary overcapacities in low-cost hydropower, like Sichuan, between May and October during the 'wet season'. The impact of this mining relocation to the US in its power delivery infrastructure (if any) remains to be fully understood.

Taiwan's Passive Component Makers Conservative About Supply and Demand for Q4

After all the reports of component shortages over the past few months, it now seems that the power related problems in China are having an effect on demand of passive components, such as MLCCs (Multilayer Ceramic Capacitor), various types of resistors and inductors among others. As such, manufacturers of said components in Taiwan are cautious about demand for the rest of this quarter, with even big players like Yageo - they're the third largest manufacturer in the world of passive components - being conservative, if somewhat positive about shipments this quarter, according to Digitimes.

As many of the Taiwanese makers of passive components have factories in China, the power cuts in several provinces are adversely affecting these companies. In the case of Yageo, they claim to be able to maintain their production at its largest facility in China, due to it not being located in one of the so far not affected provinces. Some of its competitors aren't as lucky and have already seen losses in production and aren't expecting things to improve. Besides the power outages, there are still issues with the logistics and shipping, which is further causing problems.

India and Taiwan Working Towards $7.5 billion Chip Plant Deal

There's no secret that Taiwan has been looking at expanding its chip production to other nations, with TSMC having agreed to build a plant in Arizona, while also discussing the subject with the EU. Now it looks like a deal is being worked out with India to build further chip plants there, although it's not clear who the intended manufacturer will be, as TSMC isn't mentioned in the report by Bloomberg.

However, the piece mentions 5G devices and components for electric cars, which suggests that it might not be a cutting edge node we're looking at here, but rather something a bit more conservative like 28 or 14 nm. India would make sense in many ways, but the obvious concern once again is water supply, although so far no exact location has been mentioned for the placement of the fab.

As if Things Weren't Bad Enough, China is Now Experiencing Power Shortages

If you were hoping for relief from the electronics shortages, then we have more bad news for you, as China is now being hit by power outages in various parts of the country. The outages are due to shortage in production, as China is trying to balance pollution vs. production, while at the same time trying to make sure its population doesn't feel the worst of the power shortage.

Factories in at least five provinces have suspended production to try and appease the government, which in turn will lead to delays in shipping whatever part or component they're making that is an important cog in the greater machinery that produces so many of the world's goods. Not all factories are affected and the suspension is obviously temporary, but it seems like we can expect a rolling production suspension over the next few months at the very least, which suggests that not everyone will get their new shiny toy from Santa this Christmas.

DRAM Prices Projected to Decline by 3-8% QoQ in 4Q21 Due to Rising Level of Client Inventory, Says TrendForce

Following the peak period of production in 3Q21, the supply of DRAM will likely begin to outpace demand in 4Q21, according to TrendForce's latest investigations (the surplus of DRAM supply is henceforth referred to as "sufficiency ratio", expressed as a percentage). In addition, while DRAM suppliers are generally carrying a healthy level of inventory, most of their clients in the end-product markets are carrying a higher level of DRAM inventory than what is considered healthy, meaning these clients will be less willing to procure additional DRAM going forward. TrendForce therefore forecasts a downward trajectory for DRAM ASP in 4Q21. More specifically, DRAM products that are currently in oversupply may experience price drops of more than 5% QoQ, and the overall DRAM ASP will likely decline by about 3-8% QoQ in 4Q21.

Although WFH and distance learning applications previously generated high demand for notebook computers, increasingly widespread vaccinations in Europe and North America have now weakened this demand, particularly for Chromebooks. As a result, global production of notebooks is expected to decline in 4Q21, in turn propelling the sufficiency ratio of PC DRAM to 1.38%, which indicates that PC DRAM will no longer be in short supply in 4Q21. However, PC DRAM accounts for a relatively low share of DRAM manufacturers' DRAM supply bits, since these suppliers have allocated more production capacities to server DRAM, which is in relatively high demand. Hence, there will unlikely be a severe surplus of PC DRAM in 4Q21. It should also be pointed out that, on average, the current spot prices of PC DRAM modules are far lower than their contract prices for 3Q21. TrendForce therefore expects an imminent 5-10% QoQ decline in PC DRAM contract prices for 4Q21, with potential for declines that are even greater than 10% for certain transactions, as PC OEMs anticipate further price drops in PC DRAM prices in the future.

Rare Earth Metal Prices Are Skyrocketing, Electronics Prices Expected To Follow

If it wasn't bad enough that we're in the middle of a pandemic, which has resulted in major shipping issues globally and a semiconductor shortage, it now looks like electronics are likely to get even more expensive due to skyrocketing prices of many rare earth metals.
Nikkei is reporting that many often overlooked materials, such as neodymium and the lesser known praseodymium, have increased by almost 74 percent since the same time last year and that's only one of several key materials that have increased in price by 50 percent or more in a year.

It's no secret that lithium has increased in price and it now costs about 150 percent of what it was costing last year. However, many other, less obvious materials have also increased in price, with copper up over 37 percent and tin up almost 82 percent in a year. To TPU's readers this mainly means that you can expect higher costs for PCBs and all the components that are soldered onto them, as tin is used to solder just about every component in place.

Revenue of Top 10 OSAT Companies for 2Q21 Reaches US$7.88 Billion Due to Strong Demand and Increased Package/Test Prices, Says TrendForce

Despite the intensifying COVID-19 pandemic that swept Taiwan in 2Q21, the domestic OSAT (outsourced semiconductor assembly and test) industry remained largely intact, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Global sales of large-sized TVs were brisk thanks to major sporting events such as the Tokyo Olympics and UEFA Euro 2020. Likewise, the proliferation of WFH and distance learning applications propelled the demand for IT products, while the automotive semiconductor and data center markets also showed upward trajectories. Taking into account the above factors, OSAT companies raised their quotes in response, resulting in a 26.4% YoY increase in the top 10 OSAT companies' revenue to US$7.88 billion for 2Q21.

TrendForce indicates that, in light of the ongoing global chip shortage and the growing production capacities of foundries/IDMs in the upstream semiconductor supply chain, OSAT companies gradually increased their CAPEX and expanded their fabs and equipment in order to meet the persistently growing client demand. However, the OSAT industry still faces an uncertain future in 2H21 due to the Delta variant's global surge and the health crisis taking place in Southeast Asia, home to a significant number of OSAT facilities.

Chia Miners Resell Used SSDs as Brand New Amidst Coin Plummet

The Chia coin, often dubbed Green Bitcoin, is a project that promised to be a green alternative to all of the previous attempts at creating a coin that can be mined. Using the Proof of Space (PoS) technique requires massive storage space and Chia plotting can destroy modern SSDs in a matter of weeks. However, the green disputes have been questioned widely, and the Chia coin is not considered so much of a green alternative anymore. From its peak of $1645, it has tumbled down by over 80% of that and it is now worth around $281 at the time of writing.

As these prices have declined a lot, miners are starting to look away from the coin and have started to resell their hardware. This massive SSD and HDD reselling has started to obtain new funds for miners to move to another alternative cryptocurrency. In the awe of this, some miners are rebranding their worn-out and used SSDs as brand new, and selling them in China advertising new conditions. As Chia plotting tends to destroy SSDs, it is only a matter of time before these "brand new" drives start failing. After China, we could see other markets flooded with these drives as well, so it is always best to be cautious with your purchase.

Graphics Card Prices Increased Up To 92 USD in China Last Month

Chinese news site MyDrivers have recently reported on increasing graphics card prices in China over the last month. These price increases come as a result of reduced GPU shipments especially of the NVIDIA RTX 3060 whose supply is down 50% with improvements not expected for several weeks. The site has tracked the prices for popular cards from ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI with increases across the board ranging from a 12 USD increase on the Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti up to a 92 USD increase on the ASUS RTX 3070 Ti. These supply impacts have impacted NVIDIA to a greater extent than AMD but the general price increases are likely indicative of the global trend over the coming weeks.

Genesis Mining Gets 485K GPUs Returned by China Supreme Court

Genesis Mining, one of the largest cloud providers of cryptocurrency mining services headquartered in Iceland, has today won a great deal with China's Supreme Court. According to the reports, Genesis is now getting back the 485,000 AMD Radeon RX 470 8 GB graphics cards returned to its mining facilities in hopes of soon usage. What leads to this you might wonder? Previously, Genesis Mining partner, Chuangshiji Technology Limited, which provides hosting services for Genesis, took the company's mining hardware and started listing it without consent from the Iceland-based firm.

As the company filed a lawsuit in China supreme court, the legal disputes were going on for some time and today Genesis has won. According to the report, Genesis is getting back as much as 485,000 AMD Radeon RX 470 8 GB graphics cards with a total mining power of 14.5 TH/s. All these GPUs are now looking for a new home inside Genesis Mining facilities and will be able to provide a bit over a million dollars in mined Ethereum, at today's prices.

NVIDIA Announces Financial Results for Second Quarter Fiscal 2022

NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) today reported record revenue for the second quarter ended August 1, 2021, of $6.51 billion, up 68 percent from a year earlier and up 15 percent from the previous quarter, with record revenue from the company's Gaming, Data Center and Professional Visualization platforms. GAAP earnings per diluted share for the quarter were $0.94, up 276 percent from a year ago and up 24 percent from the previous quarter. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $1.04, up 89 percent from a year ago and up 14 percent from the previous quarter.

"NVIDIA's pioneering work in accelerated computing continues to advance graphics, scientific computing and AI," said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. "Enabled by the NVIDIA platform, developers are creating the most impactful technologies of our time - from natural language understanding and recommender systems, to autonomous vehicles and logistic centers, to digital biology and climate science, to metaverse worlds that obey the laws of physics.

TrendForce: Enterprise SSD Contract Prices Likely to Increase by 15% QoQ for 3Q21 Due to High SSD Demand and Short Supply of Upstream IC Components

The ramp-up of the Intel Ice Lake and AMD Milan processors is expected to not only propel growths in server shipment for two consecutive quarters from 2Q21 to 3Q21, but also drive up the share of high-density products in North American hyperscalers' enterprise SSD purchases, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In China, procurement activities by domestic hyperscalers Alibaba and ByteDance are expected to increase on a quarterly basis as well. With the labor force gradually returning to physical offices, enterprises are now placing an increasing number of IT equipment orders, including servers, compared to 1H21. Hence, global enterprise SSD procurement capacity is expected to increase by 7% QoQ in 3Q21. Ongoing shortages in foundry capacities, however, have led to the supply of SSD components lagging behind demand. At the same time, enterprise SSD suppliers are aggressively raising the share of large-density products in their offerings in an attempt to optimize their product lines' profitability. Taking account of these factors, TrendForce expects contract prices of enterprise SSDs to undergo a staggering 15% QoQ increase for 3Q21.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT Pictured, Tested

Pictures of a made-by-AMD (MBA) Radeon RX 6600 XT OEM graphics card hit the web. This particular card has all the signs of an MBA card, including the AMD logo near the PCIe fingers, and barcode stickers of the font used by PC Partner, the OEM that makes MBA cards. This isn't necessarily the reference card whose renders are floating on the web, but one that AMD supplies to pre-built desktop manufacturers.

The compact card appears roughly 18-20 cm in length, is dual-slot, and uses a single 8-pin PCIe power input. Its cooling solution uses an aluminium mono-block heatsink that's ventilated by a pair of 80 mm fans. The person with access to this sample put out performance numbers from the internal benchmark of a game popular in China, called Ludashi, as well as how it compares to other graphics cards in this test. The results are interesting. The RX 6600 XT apparently beats or matches the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, which means it should have a comfortable lead over the RTX 3060, at least in this test. AMD is expected to launch the RX 6600 XT in the retail channel, on August 11, 2021.

Cryptocurrency Miners Selling RTX 3060 Cards For 270 USD in China

The Chinese government imposed harsh restrictions on cryptocurrency transactions last month which forced many mining farms to relocate or shut down and sell their equipment. This mass exodus has helped drive graphics card pricing downwards and according to recent reports, the price for RTX 3060 cards has hit a low of 270 USD (1760 yuan). These prices appear to be limited and only available for large purchases in China however as more farms are forced to sell we may see some cards listed for individual or international sale. Gaming laptops with RTX 3060 graphics cards that were purchased for mining farms are also entering the market for ~1000 USD. While the RTX 3060 cards currently represent the best value mining operations are selling a wide variety of NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards. These prices have been falling steadily over the last week so we wouldn't be surprised if they continue to drop.

TSMC Under U.S. Pressure Over China Fab Expansion

TSMC is under pressure from the U.S. to reconsider its plans to expand its facilities in mainland China, sources close to the matter told DigiTimes. TSMC currently operates a fab near Shanghai, and one in Nanjing, which it had originally planned to expand, meeting resistance from the U.S. It is not known if this is government (diplomatic) pressure or by U.S. based customers of TSMC., but is likely a combination of the two. The same forces were possibly behind getting TSMC to invest north of $3.5 billion toward a facility in Arizona with six more "Gigafabs" being planned in the southwestern state. U.S. hand-holding in TSMC's policymaking could be part of a strategy to deny cutting-edge silicon fabrication technology to China (PRC), and to help TSMC expand its manufacturing in safer regions as the security situation across the Taiwan strait continues to deteriorate. TSMC, specifically western tech companies' dependence on it, makes it a soft target on the island, and a bargaining chip to deter western military intervention.

China Has Produced Over 140 Billion Chips So Far This Year

Chinese semiconductor production is hitting new all-time highs. According to the report coming from South China Morning Post, citing the source over at the National Bureau of Statistics, Chinese semiconductor production has grown 37.6% in May of 2021, compared to the same month in 2020. The total chip output resulted in 29.9 billion chips in May, which is quite an impressive growth. In the first five months of this year, Chinese chipmakers have produced an amazing 139.9 billion chips, meaning that at the time of writing that number is much greater. If we compare the same five-month period of 2020, we can see that the chip output has grown 48.3% this year.

While the number of chips produced is not an ideal metric to monitor the growth of semiconductors in China, it is an indication of just how much the Chinese semiconductor industry is growing. The 48.3% growth in chip output is not small by any means, and we can't wait to see the report for the whole year.

COLORFUL Launches the First GPU History Museum

Colorful Technology Company Limited, a professional manufacturer of graphics cards, motherboards, all-in-one gaming and multimedia solutions, and high-performance storage, announces the launch of the GPU History Museum in partnership with NVIDIA. COLORFUL has recently relocated to Shenzhen New Generation Industrial Park. With that, COLORFUL is proud to announce the launch of the first GPU History Museum in China. The museum will showcase the beginnings of the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), to the development and evolution of graphics cards up to the present generation.

Global TV Shipment for 1Q21 Undergoes 11.5% Growth YoY, Says TrendForce

While demand for TVs underwent a slowdown in China and Europe due to the onset of the cyclical downturn, quarterly TV sales in North America reached a historical high in 1Q21 thanks to the proliferation of the stay-at-home economy and government-issued economic stimulus plans, such as the March 2021 handout of US$1,400 stimulus checks to most US citizens, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Bullish TV sales in North America propelled global TV shipment for 1Q21 to 49.96 million units, a 24.2% QoQ decrease but an 11.5% YoY increase.

TrendForce further indicates that Hisense has been particularly aggressive in expanding in the overseas markets via consumer-friendly prices. Not only did Hisense successfully enter the top five list of the largest TV brands in North America in 1Q21, but the company's market share also surpassed 10% and reached 11.1%, with a 4.19 million unit quarterly TV shipment, which represents an 8.8% increase YoY.

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.

GIGABYTE Gives Public Apology for "Made in China" Mocking After Company Shares Plummet by $550 Million

On Monday, GIGABYTE, a Taiwanese PC manufacturer, has published a blog post that made fun of other component manufacturers for having their products made in China, the "low-cost, low-quality way". According to Bloomberg, who was the first to spot the blog post, which is now removed. According to the report, such a statement had a massive toll on the shares of the Taiwanese company. E-commerce operators in China, like JD.com Inc. and Suning.com Co., have removed GIGABYTE products from their offerings and searching GIGABYTE or "Jijia" (Chinese company name) returned zero results from these websites. This has single-handedly caused the shares of the company to plummet by 10%, wiping away around $550 million worth of market cap.

The original blog post has since been removed, and GIGABYTE has issued a public apology, which you can see here. The translation of the text says that "A few days ago, part of the text content published on our official website is seriously inconsistent with the fact. It is caused by poor internal management of the company. We sincerely apologize for the discomfort caused to you." The company has also noted that it is very proud of "Made in China" products. On a more personal note, it is interesting to see such a strict market response coming from a blog post, and even more interesting to witness this exclusion from the Chinese e-commerce companies.

Chia Farming Already Causing SSDs to Fail at Scale, Storage Device Shortages on the Horizon

Chia, the new crypto-currency that relies on storage as proof-of-work to obtain, rather than processing power, is already causing widespread failures of storage devices that have a finite write endurance, according a report by Chinese tech publication MyDrivers. We've detailed how Chia farming works in an older article. Farming it (i.e. participating in the network that keeps the crypto-currency running, in exchange for the currency itself), takes a toll on your storage device. NAND flash-based devices, such as SSDs and USB flash drives, can be re-written a finite number of times, described by manufacturers as "write endurance" and expressed as TBW (terabytes written), or DWPD (drive writes per day, a unit in which drive size is accounted for).

MyDrivers notes that Chia farmers in China are noticing that typical 256 GB SSDs barely last through 40 drive-write days, 80 days for 512 GB, and about 160 days for 1 TB. Endurance varies among the various SSD brands, and NAND flash type used. Since disk space, and not drive performance is paramount in farming Chia, and magnetic storage devices such as HDDs offer more re-writing, stocks of high-capacity HDDs, including those typically headed to the NVR and security surveilance markets, are being soaked up by Chia farmers.

2020 Global Semiconductor Equipment Sales Surge 19% to Industry Record $71.2 Billion, SEMI Reports

Worldwide sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment surged 19% from $59.8 billion in 2019 to a new all-time high of $71.2 billion in 2020, SEMI, the industry association representing the global electronics product design and manufacturing supply chain, reported today. The data is now available in the Worldwide Semiconductor Equipment Market Statistics (WWSEMS) Report.

For the first time, China claimed the largest market for new semiconductor equipment with sales growth of 39% to $18.72 billion. Sales in Taiwan, the second-largest equipment market, remained flat in 2020 with sales of $17.15 billion after showing strong growth in 2019. Korea registered 61% growth to $16.08 billion to maintain the third position. Annual spending also increased 21% in Japan and 16% in Europe as both regions are recovering from the contraction in 2019. Receipts in North America decreased 20% in 2020 following three years of consecutive growth.

Global Server Shipment for 2021 Projected to Grow by More than 5% YoY, Says TrendForce

Enterprise demand for cloud services has been rising steady in the past two years owing to the rapidly changing global markets and uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. TrendForce's investigations find that most enterprises have been prioritizing cloud service adoption across applications ranging from AI to other emerging technologies as cloud services have relatively flexible costs. Case in point, demand from clients in the hyperscale data center segment constituted more than 40% of total demand for servers in 4Q20, while this figure may potentially approach 45% for 2021. For 2021, TrendForce expects global server shipment to increase by more than 5% YoY and ODM Direct server shipment to increase by more than 15% YoY.

Logitech and Baidu Brain Partner to Transform the Way We Work Using AI and Voice

Today Logitech announced a long-term partnership with Baidu Brain, beginning with the launch of its intuitive new Logitech Voice M380 Wireless Mouse with Speech Input in China. Designed especially for people who create large amounts of content, this innovative product lets you dictate with your voice, creating content two or three times faster than typing. The Logitech Voice M380 Wireless Mouse is powered exclusively by intelligent Baidu Speech technology* from Baidu Brain and features the comfort, performance and quality that users expect in a Logitech mouse.

"We saw an opportunity to leverage the power of Baidu AI to bring fast, accurate speech recognition to our customers and the result is pure magic—a mouse that allows you to instantly start dictating with your voice at the click of a button," said Delphine Donne-Crock, general manager of the creativity and productivity business group at Logitech. "We are thrilled to tap into Baidu's AI superpower for the launch of Logitech Voice M380, and we look forward to collaborating on future products and solutions that unleash everyone's productivity and creativity in the digital world."

Global Semiconductor Sales Up 14.7% Year-to-Year in February, Says SIA

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) today announced global semiconductor industry sales were $39.6 billion for the month of February 2021, an increase of 14.7% over the February 2020 total of $34.5 billion, but 1.0% less than the January 2021 total of $40.0 billion. Monthly sales are compiled by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization and represent a three-month moving average. SIA represents 98% of the U.S. semiconductor industry by revenue and nearly two-thirds of non-U.S. chip firms.

"Global semiconductor sales during the first two months of the year have outpaced sales from early in 2020, when the pandemic began to spread in parts of the world," said John Neuffer, SIA president and CEO. "Sales into the China market saw the largest year-to-year growth, largely because sales there were down substantially early last year."
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