News Posts matching "China"

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AMD Radeon RX 570 and China-specific RX 580 2048SP Based on Exact Same Chip

It's no news that AMD's Radeon RX 570 graphics card is carved out of the same "Polaris 20" silicon as the RX 580, by disabling 4 out of 36 GCN compute units. AMD kicked a controversy recently, when it launched a China-specific Radeon RX 580-branded SKU with the core-configuration of the cheaper RX 570, confusing Chinese consumers. It turns out that this RX 580 2,048 SP SKU is based on the same exact ASIC variant of the "Polaris 20" silicon as the RX 570, with the only difference being device ID.

We watch a lot of GamersNexus content. Our GPU Database curator noticed something interesting in their recent teardown of a Dataland Radeon RX 580 (2,048 SP) graphics card directly imported from China. The unique ASIC sub-variant code etched on the GPU's aluminium reinforcement brace matches that of the RX 570. AMD internally refers to the RX 570 as "Polaris 20 XL," and its ASIC code etched is supposed to be "215-0910052." For the RX 580, the real one, aka "Polaris 20 XTX," the code etched is "215-0910038." Thanks to GamersNexus' high-resolution filming, our curator was able to spot the ASIC code for "Polaris 20 XL" on the Dataland card's GPU. This confirms that AMD merely took an RX 570 and gave it a different device ID to create the RX 580 2,048 SP, leaving consumers to wade through the confusion.

DRAM Price-Fix Uncovered in China, 'Massive Evidence' Against Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation has been conducting an anti-monopoly investigation of the global Dynamic RAM market. According to an interview of Wu Zenghou (bureau's head) in the Financial Times, this process has found "massive evidence" against the three companies (Samsung, Hynix, and Micron) that are responsible for the vast majority of this segment. "The anti-monopoly investigation into these three companies has made important progress", points out the investigator. On April these three companies were hit with a price-fixing suit on the same matter in the US, and this investigation seems to confirm those reports.

There is even an older precedent, as Samsung and Hynix were fined both by the US Department of Justice in 2005 and by the European Commission in 2010 on price-fixing allegations. The charges now are similar, and if the companies are found guilty, they could face fines of over $2.5 billion. Some analysts suggest this investigation could be part of the trade war between China and the US, with the former trying to get some leverage pushing the Chinese semiconductor company Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit as a bigger player on this market. One that, by the way, is being investigated on allegations of misappropriated trade secrets from Micron. Samsung and SK Hynix have accused China DRAM makers of industrial espionage, too.

Chinese State News Agency Debuts AI-powered Anchor for 24/7 Automated News Coverage

So, this doesn't really concern hardware, but alas, all advances - and particularly AI-related ones - are powered by the little silicon chips that could. This time, and in a move that really does bode towards the future of news coverage, Xinhua, China's state-run news agency, unveiled the "world's first AI news anchor," which was created in collaboration with local search engine company Sogou. There are actually two independent versions of the same anchor - one for news coverage in English, and another for Mandarin.

The AI-infused anchors fuse the image and voice profiles of actual human anchors with artificial intelligence (AI) technology, which powers their speech, lip movements, and facial expressions, alongside reading, absorbing, and curating content that's then posted as video snippets generated by the AI. There is some work to be done until the result is actually indistinguishable from that of actual humans - but do we ever want AI renditions that are indistinguishable from humans? There are a number of problems that could arise from such an achievement, after all. But maybe that's a conversation for another day.

PRC State-Owned Company, Taiwan Company, and Three Individuals Charged With Economic Espionage

A federal grand jury indicted a state-owned enterprise of the People's Republic of China (PRC), a Taiwan company, and three individuals, charging them with crimes related to a conspiracy to steal, convey, and possess stolen trade secrets of an American semiconductor company for the benefit of a company controlled by the PRC government. All of the defendants are charged with a conspiracy to commit economic espionage, among other crimes. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Brian A. Benczkowski, United States Attorney Alex G. Tse of the Northern District of California, and FBI Special Agent in Charge for the San Francisco Field Office John F. Bennett made the announcement.

In addition, the United States filed a civil lawsuit seeking to enjoin the further transfer of the stolen trade secrets and to enjoin certain defendants from exporting to the United States any products manufactured by UMC or Jinhua that were created using the trade secrets at issue. The indictment was filed on September 27, 2018, and unsealed today. The civil lawsuit was filed today.

US Bans Exports to Chinese DRAM Maker Fujian Jinhua Citing National Security Interests

The United States government, via the Department of Commerce, has banned all exports from national companies to China-based Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuits Ltd. The ban, citing "significant risk of becoming involved in activities that are contrary to the national security interests of the United States", demands that a license is required for "all exports, re-exports, and transfers of commodities, software and technology (...) to Jinhua." It then adds that these license applications will be reviewed - always - with a presumption of denial.

AMD Launches a 2048SP Version of the RX 580 in China: An RX 570 in Disguise?

In a silent event that occurred earlier today, AMD's Chinese product page for the Radeon RX 580 graphics card now shows a new addition- the RX 580 2048SP. Contrary to every other RX 580 on the website, including OEM and system integrator solutions, this new SKU has 256 fewer stream processors (2304 vs 2048, respectively). As it turns out, this appears to be a China-only graphics solution that launched on October 15, 2018 and TechPowerUp can confirm this is a Polaris 20-based Radeon product as well.

Looking purely at the specifications, this appears to be an RX 570 with a higher boost frequency (up to 1284 MHz vs 1244 MHz), so this is a confusing strategy by AMD to call it an RX 580 instead. The tinfoil hat nearby suggests that this may well be taking advantage of consumers who go simply by the name scheme and do not look up what a stream processor is, and indeed this is similar to what AMD did last year with the downgraded Radeon RX 560 that started out to be a Chinese-region product and then found its way elsewhere as well. Retailers have started listing this as a product available for consumer purchase already, and a search for RX 580 brings up both these and the other versions together. Not cool, AMD, not cool.

Capital Expenditure on Silicon Chip Manufacturing to Rise to $67.5 billion in 2019

The race for smaller fabrication processes has become more and more expensive, and the expenses in R&D and factory retooling only look to increase. This - alongside the expected increase in demand from silicon-embedded products, which are almost all of them - means that additional funding will be poured into chip manufacturing capabilities. A report from SEMI indicates that the 14% increased investment in 2018 to $62.8 billion will increase a further 7.5% next year, reaching capital expenditure of $67.5 billion in 2019.

3D NAND fabrication plants lead the charge in investment, even if the market is facing some issues stemming from oversupply. The demand growth is being taken into account for these new expansion plans, however, with denser and denser chips being required for all manner of products. This is part of the reason why 43% of this years' spending has been allotted to new NAND factories, but the ratio for 2019 is a much lower 19% increase.

Graphics Card Manufacturing Being Moved From China in Bid to Escape Import Tariffs - Price to Increase 5-10%

The trade war between the US and China has been raging for a while now, and graphics cards are a minimal part of the goods affected. However, these are some of the most sought-after products in the hardware community, and thus deserving of special attention. Added tariffs, however, will either a) be absorbed by companies, or b) be passed on to customers at increased retail pricing. Since companies don't want to reduce their profit margin, and know consumers will buy less product at higher prices, steps are being taken by AIB (Add In Board) partners from both AMD and NVIDIA in moving graphics card manufacturing out of China.

Options being most seriously considered and acted upon stand as Taiwan and Mexico, where the lack of any additional tariff, added to relatively cheap labor, would allow manufacturers to keep operating costs relatively stable - and thus end user pricing. However, while this search for alternate manufacturing locations continues, the tariffs are already being pressed upon graphics cards makers, and it's expected that pricing of graphics cards will be facing increases of 5-10% in the coming months. As if we needed additional price increases in some old (and especially new) product lines...

Spire Announces the POWERCUBE 1418 Micro-ATX PC Case

The Netherlands. Introducing the PowerCube 1418 chassis, built for Micro ATX boards as well as the smaller Mini ITX boards. This new structure provisions for a powerful home, office or multimedia system. The elegant and neat enclosure make it fit in any setting from home, business to public sector. The chassis is made from strong 0.60mm SPCC steel with a cool ventilated top and bottom panel for fresh air intake and optimized component cooling.

With the accommodation for standard ATX power supplies you are able to power your desired computer performance. Connectivity made easy through the top placed frontal  USB 2.0/3.0 and HD/AC97 Audio ports. Instant upgrading with 1x 2.5, 2x 3.5 and 1x 5.25 inch drive bays and 4 extension slots. The PowerCube 1418 chassis unit is 39.3x26.5x29.5cm (L*W*H) in size and weighs 5.0 kg.

Taiwan ODMs Pulling Back Production from Mainland in Wake of US Import Tariffs

You could see more "Made in Taiwan" and lesser "Made in China" on the shelves of your friendly neighborhood Microcenter, as major Taiwanese original device manufacturers (ODMs) are considering moving manufacturing back from Mainland China to Taiwan. ODMs are contract manufacturers of PC hardware, which take designs from [mostly western] electronics companies, and turn them into marketable product.

Among the first such ODMs is Quanta Computer, which manufactures some components in Shanghai, with server assembly either in Fremont, California; or just outside Cologne, Germany. The move is triggered by harsh import tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration on imports of electronics goods from China (PRC), running up to 25 percent, as part of the ongoing trade-war between the world's top-two economies. Tech stocks are rattled at the prospect of cheap hardware imports getting significantly pricier for American consumers.

PC Hardware to Get Pricier Stateside as 25% Import Tariffs Take Effect Late-August

The ongoing US-China trade-war is going to jack up prices of PC hardware and other electronics products made in China (PRC). This will also affect prices of products made by American companies that are manufactured in China. A new tranche of goods and services prescribes a 25 percent import tariff on "electronic integrated circuits: processors and controllers," "electronic integrated circuits: memories," "electronic integrated circuits: amplifiers," "electronic integrated circuits: other," which about covers all PC hardware. This tariff takes effect on August 23, 2018.

A component costing $100 at a US port, could be inflated to $125 before Federal and State taxes are applied, not to mention costs of the rest of the supply-chain, leading up to your retailer and their margins. Not all PC hardware is made in China. Goods imported from Taiwan (ROC), South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia (the other known countries where PC hardware is manufactured), remains unchanged. China remains America's biggest source of electronics imports.
Many Thanks to Flyordie for the tip.

Maxsun Teases Next-gen NVIDIA GeForce Product at ChinaJoy

Maxsun may not be much of a household name in territories outside China, as the western market penetration isn't the most relevant within NVIDIA's partners. That said, the company does enjoy the status of NVIDIA AIB, so they're privy to details on next-gen products - especially when they are, allegedly, so close to a reveal and launch.

Maxsun showcased their take on NVIDIA's next generation (you can find the ending of that very word in the photo of the presentation slide) products with a 3D render of what could very well be their finalized next-gen graphics card's looks - and part of their premium, iCraft segment. The ubiquitous RGB is there, as always, pandering to the majority of users' lighting requirements. The graphics card presents a dual-slot, triple-fan solution, and there doesn't seem to be a DVI connector, nor an SLI termination, for that matter. The card also seems to have a single 8-pin power connector, and the GeForce branding is clear. Sadly, the render doesn't specify the model it pertains to - it would be great to finally have some closure on the 1100, 2000 series' debates.

Yangtze Memory Technologies to Debut New, Ultra-Fast 3D NAND Architecture and Deliver Keynote at Flash Memory Summit 2018

Yangtze Memory Technologies Co., Ltd (YMTC), a new player in the NAND industry, will be joining Flash Memory Summit this year for the first time, delivering a much-anticipated keynote address to reveal its ground-breaking technology - Xtacking. YMTC is the first Chinese company to take part in the high-entry-barrier NAND flash memory industry with its new architecture for unprecedented performance, higher bit density, and faster time-to-market.

Simon Yang, YMTC CEO, will deliver a keynote address, Unleashing 3D NAND's Potential with an Innovative Architecture, on August 7th, from 3:00 p.m. at the Mission Ballroom in the Santa Clara Convention Center, where he will illustrate how the company's new technology can increase NAND I/O speed up to DRAM DDR4 while delivering industry-leading bit density, marking a quantum leap for the NAND market.

Micron Provides Statement on Fujian Province Patent Litigation

(Editor's Note: We'll see if this statement from Micron is enough to staunch the bleeding on its shares - which it should, since the company says no recognizable impact will exist on its bottom line. If things are as they seem (and yet, they seldom are), this is a checkmate move from Chinese manufacturing companies - eventually supported by the Chinese government - and an interesting way to lock China's voracious DRAM and NAND market to fully domestic manufacturers.)

Micron Technology, Inc., announced that the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court, Fujian Province, China today notified two Chinese subsidiaries of Micron that it has granted a preliminary injunction against those entities in patent infringement cases filed by United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) and Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. (Jinhua). The patent infringement claims of UMC and Jinhua were filed against Micron in retaliation for criminal indictments filed by Taiwan authorities against UMC and three of its employees and a civil lawsuit filed by Micron against UMC and Jinhua in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California for the misappropriation of Micron trade secrets.

Micron Technology Faces Ban in China After Losing IP Spat to UMC

Stocks of Micron Technology tanked on Tuesday as reports emerged of the company being banned in China, the world's largest semiconductor market. A Chinese court ruled in favor of Taiwanese semiconductor foundry UMC in its patent infringement lawsuit against Micron. The Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court issued a preliminary injunction stopping the sale of 26 Micron products, spanning across both its DRAM and NAND flash product lines, UMC said in a statement.

Micron, meanwhile, maintains that it hasn't read the injunction order yet, and that it won't comment until it does. Micron's position is doing precious little in stopping its hemorrhage at the markets, as its stock prices fell 8 percent at the time of this writing. The Micron-UMC spat is fascinating in a broader geopolitical context. Micron accuses UMC of serving as a conduit for funneling away its IP to midwife Chinese DRAM companies such as Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. It is the counter-suit to this by UMC, which was won today. China accounted to more than 50 percent of Micron's revenues in FY 2017, with most of the chips being mopped up by the consumer electronics and PC manufacturing industries.

A Very Real Intelligence Race: The White House Hosts 38 Tech Companies on AI

The White House today is hosting executives from 38 companies for a grueling, embattled day of trying to move through the as of yet murky waters of AI development. The meeting, which includes representatives from Microsoft, Intel, Google, Amazon, Pfizer, and Ford, among others, aims to gather thoughts and ideas on how to supercharge AI development in a sustainable, safe, and cost-effective way.

Fields such as agriculture, healthcare and transportation are being spearheaded as areas of interest (military applications, obviously, are being discussed elsewhere). The Washington Post quotes Michael Kratsios, deputy chief technology officer at the White House, as saying in a recent interview that "Whether you're a farmer in Iowa, an energy producer in Texas, a drug manufacturer in Boston, you are going to be using these techniques to drive your business going forward."

Quasi-Infinite Deposits of Rare-Earth Metals Found Underneath Japanese Waters

Rare-earth minerals are a bunch of pesky substances that are paramount in many applications - the most important of which, by TPU readers' and news editors' standards, is the enablement of high-tech circuits and applications. Located on the seabed of Japan's shores, in a roughly 965-square-mile Pacific Ocean seabed near Minamitorishima Island, the deposits contain more than 16 million tons of rare-earth oxides, according to a study published in Nature Publishing Group's Scientific Reports.

That's equivalent, researchers say, to 780 years' worth of yttrium supply (used for LEDs, phosphors, electrodes, superconductors...), 620 years of europium (used as dopant in lasers, or as a red phosphor in television sets and fluorescent lamps), 420 years of terbium (used in solid state devices and fuel cells) and 730 years of dysprosium (used for its high thermal neutron absorption in nuclear reactors' control rods, of all things). That's why they're ailing this a "semi-infinite" trove of rare-earth materials.

Samsung to Double NAND Memory Output Capacity in China

Samsung Electronics has announced last Wednesday that they are planning to double their NAND memory output capacity in china. The announcement, done at a groundbreaking ceremony in its Xi'an fabrication facility in inland Shaanxi Province, should see some $7 billion invested over the course of three years. With this investment in both facilities and machinery, Samsung expected production capacity to roughly double from current values to some 220,000, 300 mm 3-D flash memory wafers by 2020.

The motives for this increased Samsung investment in mainland China are being put forward as a way for the South Korean giant to temper relationships with China, one of its greatest importers of NAND memory. Further investment into China likely assuages the country's protectionist policies, since at least it receives something back from its import volume. By investing further into a second assembly line at its Xi'an fabrication facility, Samsung is also looking to reduce risk derived from over-condensed manufacturing facilities in South Korea.

Power Outage at Samsung NAND Flash Plant Cuts March Global Output by 3.5%

A power-outage on 9th March, at one of Samsung's NAND flash manufacturing plants located in Pyeongtaek, Korea, will have a notable impact on global NAND flash production. It reduced the global NAND flash output for the month of March 2018 by 3.5 percent, a number that isn't insignificant, and translates into non-volatile memory for millions of devices. It also trims Samsung's output by 11 percent for the month. SIlicon fabrication is a highly sensitive process, and the power-outage is said to have damaged up to 60,000 wafers of NAND flash chips.

The impact of this event on global prices of NAND flash memory, and devices based on it, remains to be seen. Any inflation could be nipped in the bud by Samsung and other NAND flash makers significantly increasing production through this quarter. Samsung will begin expansion of its NAND flash plant in Xi'an, China, which currently outputs 120,000 wafers per month, and is expected to put out 320,000 wafers a month after the expansion.

China's Tsinghua Unigroup to Manufacture 3D NAND Flash for Intel

In a bid to ensure sufficient supply of NAND flash memory to meet the growing demands of not just PC, but also smartphone markets, China's Tsinghua Unigroup and Intel are in talks to license-manufacture 64-layer 3D NAND flash, based on existing IMFlash Technologies designs. IMFlash is a joint-venture between Intel and Micron Technology. Tsinghua Unigroup is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Chinese Government's ambitious plan to invest RMB 1 trillion (USD $158 billion) over the next five years, to increase China's semiconductor self-sufficiency to 70 percent, by 2025.

The move will significantly increase supply of NAND flash memory, and is seen as a market threat to Korean NAND flash giants Samsung and SK Hynix, and Japanese Toshiba. IMFlash Technology released its first 64-layer 3D NAND flash to the market in 2017, and is currently developing a 96-layer 3D NAND flash chip, which, along with newer 10 nm-class silicon fabrication process, could double densities over the current 64-layer chips.

NDRC, Samsung to Sign MOU That Could Moderate DRAM Prices, Increase Production

PC hardware enthusiasts all over (but particularly in our own forums) have been adamant in how this is one of the worst times to be building a new system. And it's true; the DIY market is a mess right now, as our own btarunr mentioned in his latest editorial; so much so, that in a full reversal of years and years of experience, users might now actually be better served in the $/performance department by buying their systems from boutique retailers, than by acquiring all of the parts separately. It's a mad, mad world out there, for a multitude of reasons; but one such reason is DRAM pricing. And fortunately, it seems that China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is on the verge of signing a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with Samsung that might help the DRAM market as a whole.

Samsung Enters Volume Production of a Killer Crypto-mining ASIC

One of the world's largest SoC, DRAM, and NAND flash makers, with its own semiconductor fabs, Samsung, is eyeing itself a large slice of the crypto-currency mining craze. The company reportedly entered volume production of a highly efficient crypto-currency mining ASIC, for an unnamed client from China. The client has placed a gargantuan order for crypto-coin mining ASICs contract-manufactured by Samsung, which appears to be targeted at Bitcoin, for now.

China's largest mining ASIC solutions providers, Bitman and Cannan, have similarly contracted TSMC to manufacture mining ASICs. An ASIC (from a mining context) is a single-chip solution that combines a CPU, a SIMD parallel-processing component tailored for mining, memory, and storage. It has infinitesimally smaller PCB, power, and thermal footprints compared to PCs with GPUs, and can be deployed in extremely large numbers for mining on an industrial-scale.

Intel Warned China of Meltdown and Spectre Before the US Government

It's no surprise that leading Chinese tech companies have close associations with the Chinese Government and the PLA. Intel has waded into controversial waters as reports point to the chipmaker sharing information about its products' vulnerability to Meltdown and Spectre with Chinese tech companies before warning the United States Government, potentially giving the Chinese government either a head-start into securing its IT infrastructure, or exploiting that of a foreign government.

Lenovo and Alibaba were among the first big tech companies to be informed about Meltdown and Spectre; Lenovo is Intel's biggest PC OEM customer, while Alibaba is the world's largest e-commerce platform and cloud-computing service provider. Both companies are known to have close associations with the Chinese government. The United States Government was not part of the first group of companies informed about the deadly vulnerabilities.

VIA Making a Comeback to x86 CPU Market with Zhaoxin R&D Monies

The only other active x86 architecture licensee than AMD, VIA Technologies, is planning a comeback to the x86 processor market, bolstered by R&D investment by Shanghai Zhaoxin Semiconductor. VIA and Zhaoxin have been co-developing the ZX family of x86 processors for rollout in 2018, and at least on paper, the chips appear to have the chops to take on Intel's "Gemini Lake" SoCs. The new VIA-Zhaoxin combine CPU family begins with the KX-5000 "Wudaoku" SoCs launched late-2017. These are full-fledged SoCs, which completely integrate the chipset (including the southrbidge).

The KX-5000 chips feature 4 or 8 CPU cores without SMT, 2.00-2.20 GHz nominal CPU clock, 2.40 GHz boost clock, a dual-channel DDR4 IMC, a PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex, an integrated graphics core, and platform I/O that includes SATA 6 Gbps, and USB 3.1 gen 2. This chip debuted on only one product from a major OEM, the Lenovo M6200 desktop model launched in China. 2018 could see a broader launch of VIA-Zhaoxin chips, with the KX-6000. While the older chips were built on the 28 nm process, the KX-6000 series will be built on the newer 16 nm process, feature 4 or 8 CPU cores clocked at speeds of up to 3.00 GHz, while retaining the feature-set of the KX-5000 series. These chips could realistically be touted as low-cost alternatives to Intel "Gemini Lake" SoCs, although Zhaoxin is making bold claims about its performance nearing that of AMD Ryzen processors.

China Regulator to Look Into Possible DRAM, NAND Price Fixing by Manufacturers

It's been a couple years now that we've seen continuously increasing pricing of DRAM and NAND semiconductors. The price increase, which has been hailed and documented over, over, and over again (and there are way more articles on this subject here on TPU), follows reported increased demand which has failed to be accompanied by its respective manufacturing and supply ability.

However, reports that companies were planning on increasing production of DRAM and NAND below the expected increases in supply demand may have turned at least some regulatory eyes towards the issue. China's National Development and Reform Commission's Pricing Supervision Department (NDRC) said they are aware of the situation, how it could point towards price-fixing from the four major NAND production players (Samsung, Hynix, Micron and Toshiba), and are looking into the matter. "We have noticed the price surge and will pay more attention to future problems that may be caused by 'price fixing' in the sector," the official Xu Xinyu was quoted as saying in an interview to Chinese newspaper Daily China.
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