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Belkin Completes Thunderbolt 3 Dock Family With New Thunderbolt 3 Dock Core

Belkin, the connected things division within the Belkin International and Foxconn Interconnect Technology entity, today announced the Thunderbolt 3 Dock Core. It completes Belkin's family of Thunderbolt 3 docks, including the Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro, Thunderbolt 3 Dock Plus and the Thunderbolt 3 Dock Mini.

The Thunderbolt 3 Dock Core, the world's first Thunderbolt -certified, dual-powered dock, offers compatibility to bring the benefits of Thunderbolt 3 technology to both Mac and Windows laptops. Like the entire Belkin Dock family, it's designed for users who need fast transfer rates and a one cable solution to connect laptops to peripherals. The Thunderbolt 3 Dock Core has a small, compact footprint, reducing clutter and multiple cables on a desk.

NVIDIA's Next-Gen Reference Cooler Costs $150 By Itself, to Feature in Three SKUs

Pictures of alleged next-generation GeForce "Ampere" graphics cards emerged over the weekend, which many of our readers found hard to believe. It's features a dual-fan cooling solution, in which one of the two fans is on the reverse side of the card, blowing air outward from the cooling solution, while the PCB extends two-thirds the length of the card. Since then, there have been several fan-made 3D renders of the card. NVIDIA is not happy with the leak, and started an investigation into two of its contractors responsible for manufacturing Founders Edition (reference design) GeForce graphics cards, Foxconn and BYD (Build Your Dreams), according to a report by Igor's Lab.

According to the report, the cooling solution, which looks a lot more overengineered than the company's RTX 20-series Founders Edition cooler, costs a hefty USD $150, or roughly the price of a 280 mm AIO CLC. It wouldn't surprise us if Asetek's RadCard costs less. The cooler consists of several interconnected heatsink elements with the PCB in the middle. Igor's Lab reports that the card is estimated to be 21.9 cm in length. Given its cost, NVIDIA is reserving this cooler for only the top three SKUs in the lineup, the TITAN RTX successor, the RTX 2080 Ti successor, and the RTX 2080/SUPER successor.

Chinese Government Closes Foxconn and Samsung Factories Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Some of the recent news from China is the stuff of science fiction, with the Central Government there locking down entire cities to contain the deadly Coronavirus outbreak there. When cities with 10+ million populations are under lock-down, it's only natural for factories to run out of workforce. According to a ZeroHedge report, the government has reportedly shut down factories owned or operated by big names in the technology and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) industries.

Among these are the ubiquitous Foxconn, which has manufacturing contracts with the biggest silicon valley tech firms for contract-manufacturing their hard-product - including the Apple iPhone; and Samsung Electronics, which makes consumer electronics, home appliances, and certain semiconductor products in China. A third big name in the report is the FMCG and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. The closure of factories could wreck tech stocks in the coming trading sessions, not to mention possible impact on prices of electronics. As of now, the closure is stipulated for the next 1-2 weeks.

Intel Recalls Boxed Xeon E-2274G Processors Due to Inadequate Stock Cooler Effectiveness

Intel issued a product change notification (PCN) dated November 13, calling for a recall of boxed Xeon E-2274G processors from customers and distributors. The boxed SKU of the E-2274G, which includes a stock cooling solution, has been marked as "discontinued" and "end of life." Intel is offering an E-2274G tray processor (chip-only) as replacement for the returned inventory. The cause for the recall is the cooling solution included in the boxed SKU, which has been found to be insufficient to cool the E-2274G, a 4-core/8-thread processor based on the 14 nm++ "Coffee Lake" microarchitecture, with a rated TDP of 88 W.

The E973708-003 fan-heatsink included with boxed Xeon E-2274G processors is supplied by Foxconn, and has been known to be bundled with Intel's entry-level client-segment processors, such as the Pentium Gold series and Core i3 series (chips with TDP typically rated 65 W or less). It features a thin, circular, all-aluminium heatsink, which lacks a copper core that certain other LGA115x-compatible stock coolers by Intel have. The heatsink makes contact with the CPU over pre-applied TIM on an aluminium surface, with spirally-projecting fins dissipating heat under the fan's airflow. It could be been an oversight bundling such an underpowered cooler with an 88 W TDP processor that's designed for the rigors of mission-critical use-cases such as workstations and small-business servers.
Heatsink images courtesy: AndyKingParts (Amazon seller)

Surging Tech Companies' Inventories Could Spell Trouble for the Industry

Even as we achieve consumerism in scales hitherto unseen, tech companies always want to sell more - there's "always" increased production, there must always be increased, projected demand from customers. However, when demand isn't there, and growth slows down or even stagnates, production takes its time to adjust - and already manufactured products have few opportunities other than going on towards a swelling inventory.

This is what is happening with a myriad of tech companies, such as Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Intel, Hon Hai (Foxconn), among others. We could even take a page from our own PC industry and look at NVIDIA's Pascal inventory that is in need of clearing up - and which has resulted in bottoming prices of previous-gen cards as we look towards the new RTX 20-series. Which, coincidentally, have been launched with increased pricing over the previous generation. Perhaps another way of moving old inventory?

Foxconn Acquires Belkin for $866 Million in Cash

Foxconn Interconnect Technology Limited (FIT), a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., and Belkin International, Inc. (Belkin , Linksys , Wemo , Phyn brands) jointly announced today the signing of a definitive agreement under which FIT agreed to acquire Belkin International for approximately US$866 million in cash, creating a global consumer electronics leader.

Leveraging Belkin's strength in research and development capabilities and the consumer products channel, FIT is expected to further tap into premium accessories and the smart home market. The transaction would also fuel the growth of Belkin's portfolio of brands and products and supports further investment in research and development and engineering to expand FIT and Belkin's presence in the U.S. and key markets globally.

"FIT is excited to acquire Belkin and its capabilities in the premium consumer products space," said Sidney Lu, CEO, FIT. "Integrating Belkin's best-in-class capabilities and solutions into FIT, we expect to enrich our portfolio of premium consumer products and accelerate our penetration into the smart home."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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