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Foxconn Eyeing US for $10 billion Investment; Looking After Toshiba Deal

Taiwan-based Foxconn, one of Apple's main suppliers, is looking to expand its operations in the US to the tune of $10 billion. The company is still deciding which state will get the greatest solo investment, in the form of a $7 billion display factory (worth mentioning here is that Foxconn's display manufacturing has seen a recent buff by the acquisition of Sharp.) Reportedly, investments are being considered in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and/or Texas. There was no given timeframe for the construction's start or finish, but a final decision should be made public in July. Foxconn's CEO Terry Gou also vowed to press on with a bid for Toshiba Corp.'s semiconductor business, although the Japanese company has already selected a preferred buyer in the form of a Japanese and US joint venture. Such a deal could cost $27 billion and introduce Foxconn (and, likely but indirectly, China) into the memory chip business.

Supermicro Announces the C7Z97-M Socket LGA1150 Motherboard

In what's a clear sign of enterprise motherboard manufacturers like Supermicro and TYAN taking an interest in the DIY client-desktop market, Taiwanese company Supermicro launched the C7Z97-M, a micro-ATX, socket LGA1150 motherboard, based on Intel's Z97 Express chipset. It may not be the first motherboard based on the chipset by a traditionally enterprise-hardware company, but it's certainly the first designed to woo the PC enthusiast crowd. The features a matte-black PCB, with matte-black and ruby-red scheme, which bear a strong resemblance to Foxconn, and its Blood-Rage series.

The C7Z97-M features a 6-layer PCB, a digital-PWM CPU power delivery, with ceramic multi-phase bar chokes, and driver-MOSFETs. The board draws power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS. You can tell it's a board made by an enterprise manufacturer, looking at components such as the ASpeed IPMI 2.0 remote management chip, an LVDS display output, a TPM header, and key toggles being left to manual jumpers. The BIOS setup program is a reference AMI Aptio (not skinned).

Foxconn AT-5570 Mini-PC Detailed

Foxconn Channel brand unveiled the AT-5570, a new mini PC based on the AMD "Brazos" 2.0 platform. Measuring 19 cm x 13.5 cm x 3.8 cm, and weighing 600 g, this VESA-mountable PC is driven by AMD C-70 APU with Radeon HD 7290 graphics. It features one DDR3 SO-DIMM slot, supporting up to 8 GB of memory, and a 2.5-inch SATA 6 Gb/s drive bay.

Connectivity options on the AT-5570 include two USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0/1.1 ports; SD/SDHC/MS/MS Pro/MMC card reader, stereo HD audio, 802.11 b/g/n WLAN, gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, and D-Sub (VGA). The AT-5570 from Foxconn is expected to be launched later this month.

Source: FanlessTech

Foxconn Admits to Breach of Anti- Child Labor Laws

Foxconn admitted to employing interns as young as 14 years, in what is a breach of labor laws in China, where the minimum age for such employment is 16. The company, in a statement accessed by CNET advised that it found the matter "not only a violation of China's labor law, it is also a violation of Foxconn policy," and that "immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions." The company launched an investigation and promises action against permanent staff members who allowed the breach in regulations to happen. This development follows a strain of bad PR for Foxconn, which recently suffered riots in some of its facilities due to imposition of strict quality standards in manufacture of iPhone 5.

Sources: C|Net, Engadget

Workers Riot at Foxconn Chengdu iPhone/iPad Plant

If televised visits by Apple's top-brass to Foxconn's manufacturing facilities, and commitments to improve working conditions were mere PR exercises meant to cover up the issue of dismal working conditions, they failed. About 1,000 workers at Foxconn's manufacturing facility at Chengdu rioted on a large scale, which took the police several hours to subdue. According to media reports, the riot started when the facility guards were trying to stop a thief, while other workers who held grudges against the guards prevented them from catching the thief. Soon, the situation went out of control, as 1,000 workers started a riot. The workers were seen chucking pots, pans, garbage, and even fireworks from their dormitory windows. Public facilities sustained damage, the police made several arrests. The episode reveals that worker-management relations, at least at the Chengdu plant, which manufactures a massive amount of iPhone and iPad products for Apple, are at a breaking point.

Sources: WantChinaTimes, VR-Zone

Foxconn Channel A85AP Socket FM2 Motherboard Pictured

Foxconn's channel brand is ready with a socket FM2 motherboard of its own, the A85AP. The motherboard is based on the new AMD A85 FCH, and supports next-generation AMD "Trinity" APUs in the FM2 package. The motherboard doesn't add much to the feature-set of the A85 FCH. The APU is powered by a 5-phase VRM. It is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR3-1866 MHz memory, and one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot. Other expansion slots include a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4, wired to the FCH), an mPCIe, and two each of PCI-Express 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI.

The AMD A85 FCH gives out eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports, six of which are assigned as internal ports on the A85AP, and two are given out as eSATA. The board also features six USB 3.0 ports, four of which are given out through the rear panel, and two via headers. Display outputs include DVI and D-Sub. 8-channel HD audio and gigabit Ethernet make for the rest of the connectivity. Foxconn A85AP could feature in the first-wave of socket FM2 motherboards to be launched.

Foxconn Intros New Nano PC Models

Foxconn's Channel brand introduced a new line of fanless compact PCs under the Nano PC brand. The two newly launched models include the AT-5300, which is driven by Intel Atom D2700, and the AT-5600, which is driven by by AMD E-450 "Brazos" APU. The two are barebones, and require at least one DDR3 SO-DIMM module (up to 4 GB) and a 2.5-inch HDD or SSD. Both models measure just 190 x 135 x 38 mm, and weigh about 600 g. Connectivity includes two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, an SD/SDHC/MS/MS Pro/MMC card reader, 802.11 b/g/n, gigabit Ethernet, and display outputs that include D-Sub and HDMI. Available soon, the two Nano PC models will be priced under US $200.

Source: FanlessTech

ASUS To Completely End Manufacturing of its Motherboards, Notebooks by Pegatron

ASUS and Pegatron are headed for a complete split as far as motherboards and notebooks are concerned. Following reports of ASUSTek divesting in its former part and partner after split, Pegatron, ASUS plans to end manufacturing of its motherboards by it. ASUS will find other ODMs, such as Cal-Comp, ECS, Global-Brands Manufacture, and Info-Tek Corp. Pegatron is a notable ODM of motherboards, notebooks, AIO PCs, and other PC components. ASUS is also working to get its notebooks manufactured by ODMs such as Foxconn, Quanta, and Compal, while reducing its orders to Pegatron. This move could see further independence of ASUS and Pegatron from each other.

Source: DigiTimes

FLA Secures Commitment to Limit Work Hours, Protect Pay at Apple's Largest Supplier

After a thorough, independent investigation found significant issues with working conditions at three factories in China operated by Apple's major supplier Foxconn, the Fair Labor Association secured groundbreaking commitments that will reduce working hours to legal limits while protecting pay, improve health and safety conditions, establish a genuine voice for workers, and will monitor on an ongoing basis to verify compliance. The nearly month-long investigation found excessive overtime and problems with overtime compensation; several health and safety risks; and crucial communication gaps that have led to a widespread sense of unsafe working conditions among workers.

"The Fair Labor Association gave Apple's largest supplier the equivalent of a full-body scan through 3,000 staff hours investigating three of its factories and surveying more than 35,000 workers. Apple and its supplier Foxconn have agreed to our prescriptions, and we will verify progress and report publicly," said Auret van Heerden, President and CEO of the Fair Labor Association, a coalition of universities, non-profit organizations and businesses committed to improving the health, safety, fair treatment and respect of workers worldwide.

Apple CEO Meets Chinese Vice-Premier, Visits Foxconn Foundries

Apple's Tim Cook make his first trip to China as the CEO of the company, where he met with the Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang. The two talked about three important subjects: the ongoing trademark dispute circling "iPad" brand name, strengthening of intellectual property laws in the country, and issues of workers' rights. Cook took away assurances from the high-ranking official, that China is working to strengthen intellectual property rights, and will pay more attention to "caring for workers." Tim Cook also visited foundries belonging to Foxconn, ZhengzhouTechnology Park in the north central province of Hebei, where Apple's products such as the iPhone and iPad are assembled. This facility employs about 120,000 people.

Source: Reuters

Global Tablet PC Shipments Down 30%

Shipments of tablet PCs is bound to go down by 30% in Q1 2012, according to market research carried out by DigiTimes. The various vendors will ship 14.97 million tablet PCs in the first quarter of 2012, dropping 30.6% on quarter but rising 77.6% on year. This figure can be broken down to 11 million iPad 2 and iPad 3 units, and some 3.97 tablets comprising of various other models than iPads. Shipments of these non-iPad tablets will decrease by 50.8% on quarter and include 1.5 million Kindle Fires and 300,000 Nook Tablets, DigiTimes Research said.

Of all the tablets shipped in Q1 2012, 26.3% will run Android, and 13.3% will be running Texas Intruments' processors, the research said. Taiwan-based ODMs alone will comprise a huge 90.25% of all tablet shipments in Q1, of which Foxconn will account for 83%, followed by Quanta Computer with 9.6%, DigiTimes Research indicated.

Source: DigiTimes

Fair Labour Association Calls Apple's Factories "First Class"

Earlier this week, it was reported that Apple was conducting inspections of the manufacturing facilities of its foundry partners via independent agencies, to assess working conditions and well-being of workers. It requested the Fair Labour Association (FLA) to carry out the inspections. In addition to Foxconn, the FLA will inspect facilities of Quanta Computer Inc, Pegatron Corp, Wintek Corp and others. While the final report of its inspections will be released only by late next month, FLA revealed its first impressions of what it saw.

The FLA finds the working conditions in foundry partner Foxconn's facilities "above average". Auret van Heerden, president of the FLA commented on the Foxconn inspection: "The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm." He continued, "I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory," he said. "So the problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. It's more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps."

ProView Going For The Kill: Seeks Export Ban on Apple iPad Till Row Resolved

After a significant victory in a long drawn out trademark dispute with Apple over the name "iPad", in which Chinese courts ruled in favor of ProView, followed by Chinese authorities beginning implementing the order by pulling iPad off shelves in stores, ProView is going for the kill, and seeking an export ban on Apple iPad till the Cupertino company reaches a fresh agreement with it over use of the trademark "iPad", and pays the $1.5 billion it sought in damages. Apple manufactures iPad through foundry partners such as Foxconn, which are located in China. An export-ban would kill supply of iPad worldwide, as China is the only country in which it is manufactured.

Source: The Verge

Apple Announces Independent Factory Inspections

According to the New York Times Apple is going on the offensive to save face in a string of workers rights issues in Chinese factories.

Apple said Monday that an independent labor rights organization had begun auditing working conditions at Chinese factories where Apple products are made. Apple said the group, the Fair Labor Association, started its first inspections Monday at a factory run by Foxconn in Shenzhen, China, known as Foxconn City. Apple said the inspection had been led by a team of labor-rights experts including Auret van Heerden, president of the association. Apple said the group, at Apple’s request, would also conduct audits of other factories where Apple products are assembled, including Foxconn’s factory in Chengdu and others run by Quanta and Pegatron.

Foxconn Boss Likens Workers to Animals

A pinch of Foxconn is in most pieces of computer hardware and tech-gadgets sold today, but it's known more to be one of Apple's main contract-manufacturers of products such as the iPhone. Even as Apple has to fight flames on behalf of its suppliers about the bad PR the state of welfare of their workers are given, Hon Hai Precision industry's (Foxconn's) chairman kicked off a storm with one of his latest comments, where he likened his workers to animals. "Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache," said Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou.

You might excuse Mr. Gou when that statement is read without context, since we're all technically animals, so let's add the context in which he made that remark, which is what kicked off the storm. Mr. Gou was attending an year-end party (Chinese lunar year-end), which was also attended by Chin Shih-chien, director of Taipei Zoo. He followed up that comment saying that he should learn from Shih-chien about "how animals should be managed." WantChinaTimes comments that Terry Gou's words were not carefully chosen.

Epson Rolls Out Endeavor Pro 750 Gaming PC in Japan

In Japan, Epson does more than selling printing and imaging devices. It sells pre-built PCs. Its latest creation is the Endeavor Pro 750, a gaming PC based on Intel Sandy Bridge-E platform. The Endeavor Pro 750 is housed in an airy aluminum-built case. The case has two permanently-fixed handles on top, and its 3.5/2.5-inch drive bay stack can be access from the front-panel, to give it some hot-plugging capabilities. The front-panel also has two USB 3.0 ports next to audio I/O. It's the insides that are more interesting.

The Endeavor Pro 750 is driven by an Intel Core i7-3930K, though an i7-3960X Extreme Edition processor can be opted for, the CPU is cooled by a custom air-cooler. The processor sits on a custom OEM motherboard labelled Epson, but in all likelihood, it may have been built by any of the major motherboard ODMs, such as Foxconn. There are a variety of memory options, starting from 4 GB, all the way up to 32 GB, with DDR3-1600 MHz being the standard memory type. The base model ships with an AMD Radeon HD 6450 graphics card, but it can be configured all the way up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580. Storage options, too, are configurable, with various HDD RAID and SSD (Intel 510 series) available.

Foxconn and NVIDIA Setting Up Cloud Computing R&D Center in China

OEM major Foxconn, graphics and ARM processor major NVIDIA, in coordination with the local government, plan to set up a new research and development center in the city of Tianjin, northern China. The three signed for establishment of the joint venture today. Heads of Foxconn and NVIDIA, Terry Guo and Jen-Hsun Huang, were present at the ceremony.

The center is slated to be dedicated for research and development in the fields of mobile terminal devices and cloud computing-based applications, and we can already see the right ingredients going into setting it up: an investment-friendly local government that provides a fertile platform and human resources, the vast expertise of Foxconn in design and manufacture of consumer electronics, and the expertise of NVIDIA in ultra-high performance application processors for portable computing devices.Source: DigiTimes

NVIDIA SLI & Intel Core I7 Extreme Ed. CPUs Power World's Fastest Desktop Gaming PCs

NVIDIA today announced that system builders worldwide are now shipping the fastest PC gaming platforms ever built, thanks in part to NVIDIA SLI technology and the just-released Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition processors and X79 chipset-based motherboards.

The combination of NVIDIA SLI technology -- which allows for multiple GPUs to run on a single PC -- and new X79-based motherboards allow gamers to customize their PC experience with up to four NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPUs, including the GeForce GTX 580 and GTX 570, the world's fastest DX11 GPUs. Licensed by the world's leading motherboard manufacturers -- including Intel, ASUS, ASRock, EVGA, Foxconn, Gigabyte and MSI, SLI technology is crucial for playing this year's hottest graphics-intensive games, such as the recently released Battlefield 3 and upcoming Batman: Arkham City with detail, resolution and immersion settings cranked up.

Foxconn Quantum Force X79 Final Version Pictured

Foxconn's latest premium gamer-overclocker segment motherboard, the Quantum Force X79, has finally taken shape. Foxconn's Quantum Force motherboards are designed to offer good overclocking features at a great value. The Quantum Force X79 uses a 14-phase VRM to power the LGA2011 "Sandy Bridge-E" processor, plus a 2-phase VRM for the memory. There are four DDR3 DIMM slots, one per memory channel. Expansion slots include three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (PCI-E1_x16, PCI-E3_x16, and PCI-E4_x16. The second black slot (PCI-E2_x16) is electrical PCI-Express 2.0 x8.

The board is packed with features that help overclockers, starting with triple redundant BIOS, voltage measurement points for manual voltage measurements (with a wide range of voltage domains), manual overclocking buttons on board, power, reset, clear-CMOS buttons, POST speaker, and plenty of fan headers.

Foxconn Announces NT-A3500 Nettop

Foxconn, the world leading manufacturer of computer components and systems, today announced incredible performance results for the new NT-A3500 Barebone - with over twice the performance of the NT-330i it replaces, whilst using significantly less power.

Utilising the new AMD Fusion APU with built-in Radeon HD 6310 graphics, the NT-A3500 is capable of delivering DirectX 11 graphics and true 1080p HD playback with real-time image processing, all in the ultra-small form factor of the Foxconn NT-series chassis.

Foxconn Posts $218 Million Full-Year Net Loss

The year 2010 was an extremely difficult year for Foxconn. We saw major changes in the handset ecosystem triggered by entry of new players, introduction of new software and applications, as well as emergence of new business models. Market dynamics shifted drastically and created tough challenges for some industry players as well as the Company.

Despite our continual efforts to further diversify customer base and sources of revenue, the operation results for the Company concluded less than satisfaction. Revenue for the year 2010 was US$6,626 million, which represents a change of US$588 million, or 8.2% less than the prior year revenue of US$7,214 million.

Foxconn Unveils Quantum Force Rattler P67 Motherboard

Many had speculated that OEM giant Foxconn's own motherboard channel-brand is being closed down as the silicon conglomerate has enough on its plate. That turned out to be untrue, as the company released a new high-end socket LGA1155 motherboard based on Intel P67 (B3) chipset, the Quantum Force Rattler. The Rattler combines high-grade components with plenty of overclocker-friendly features. The CPU is powered by a 14-phase digital PWM power circuitry, and the memory by a 2-phase VRM. An OS-independent clock speed control with its own controls add to the numerous OC features.

Expansion includes two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (x8/x8 with both populated), three PCI-E x1, and one PCI. In the storage department, there are four SATA 3 Gb/s, two SATA 6 Gb/s wired to the P67 PCH, while a 3rd-party controller drives two eSATA 3 Gb/s and the lone IDE connector. Connectivity includes 8-channel HD audio with optical/coaxial SPDIF outputs, two USB 3.0 ports, a number of USB 2.0 ports, dual gigabit Ethernet, and PS/2 keyboard. OC-friendly features includes diagnostic LED, redundant BIOS, OC tuner, consolidated voltage-measure points and onboard power/reset buttons. Pricing/availability is not known.

Source: VR-Zone

Foxconn Delivers HD Playback and 1080p in a Tiny Package

Foxconn, the world’s leading manufacturer of computer components and systems, today announced the arrival of the Nettop NT-535, finally bringing true high definition (HD) quality playback to Intel Atom based systems without the use of third party graphics.

With a volume of only 0.6 of a litre, the NT-535 is a significant step forward from its predecessor with an upgrade to DDR3 memory and the inclusion of two specific chips to enable true Blu-ray standard of HD streaming and playback.

Foxconn Channel Ready with Quantum Force P67 Motherboard

OEM major Foxconn's very own channel brand is ready with its first high-end socket LGA1155 motherboard based on the Intel P67 Express chipset, supporting upcoming "Sandy Bridge" processors. The motherboard falls into Foxconn Channel's gamer and overclocker oriented Quantum Force brand. The Quantum Force P67 from Foxconn uses bleeding-edge components such as digital PWM offering precise voltage control for the processor, multi-phase VRM for the four DDR3 memory slots, and is rich in connectivity options.

The LGA1155 socket is powered by a 14-phase digital PWM circuit using independent single-phase PWM inductors made by CPL, and memory using a 2-phase VRM. Expansion slots include two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x8/x8 with both populated), three PCI-E x1, and one PCI. Both ATI CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI are sure to be supported. Storage connectivity includes two internal SATA 6 Gb/s, four internal SATA 3 Gb/s, two eSATA 3 Gb/s, and one ATA connector supporting up to two IDE devices.

Foxconn Intros Pine Trail Based Mini-ITX Nettop Motherboards

Foxconn has unveiled one of the first motherboards based on Intel's "Pine Trail" second generation Atom processor platform: the D41S and D51S (pictured in the same order below), both based on the mini-ITX form factor. The D41S is powered by a single-core Atom D410 processor, while the D51S is powered by dual-core Atom D510, both these processors run at speeds of 1.66 GHz. The former is cooled passively by a heatsink, while the latter makes use of a fan-heatsink. The rest of the board layouts are identical. The processor is wired to two DDR2 DIMM slots for single-channel DDR2 667 MHz memory. It embeds Intel GMA 3150 graphics with a D-Sub connector for output. A lone PCI slot provides expansion. The chipset gives out two SATA 3 Gb/s ports for storage. Its rear-panel includes six-channel HD audio, D-Sub, gigabit Ethernet, four USB 2.0 ports, PS/2, serial and parallel ports. The two will be out in the coming few weeks.

Source: XTReview
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