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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 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."

Fujitsu Completes Development of World's Fastest Supercomputer

Fugaku is Japan's supercomputer that has been developed as a core system for the innovative High-Performance Computing Infrastructure (HPCI) promoted by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). In 2014, RIKEN and Fujitsu began joint development of Fugaku and completed delivery of all racks in May 2020. Since then, they have developed and optimized the user environment in preparation for the commencement of shared use.

In the meantime, Fugaku has claimed the world's top spot for two consecutive terms in June and November 2020 in four categories on the major high-performance computer rankings: the TOP500, HPCG, HPL-AI, as well as the Graph 500, and has been used on a trial basis under the "Program for Promoting Research on the Supercomputer Fugaku", "research projects aimed to combat COVID-19", etc. since April 2020. In these trials, two projects, "Study on Large-Scale Numerical Fluid Simulation" and "Largest Ever Meteorological Calculation" have already been selected as the ACM Gordon Bell Prize finalists. In addition, research on "Prediction and Countermeasures for Infection by Virus Contaminated Droplet in Indoor Environment" has led to changes in people's lifestyles, and Fugaku is already making steady progress toward becoming a key technological platform for science and for building Society 5.0.

Worldwide Server Market Revenue Grew 2.2% Year Over Year in the Third Quarter of 2020, According to IDC

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, vendor revenue in the worldwide server market grew 2.2% year over year to $22.6 billion during the third quarter of 2020 (3Q20). Worldwide server shipments declined 0.2% year over year to nearly 3.1 million units in 3Q20. Volume server revenue was up 5.8% to $19.0 billion, while midrange server revenue declined 13.9% to $2.6 billion, and high-end servers declined by 12.6% to $937 million.

"Global demand for enterprise servers was a bit muted during the third quarter of 2020 although we did see areas of strong demand," said Paul Maguranis, senior research analyst, Infrastructure Platforms and Technologies at IDC. "From a regional perspective, server revenue within China grew 14.2% year over year. And worldwide revenues for servers running AMD CPUs were up 112.4% year over year while ARM-based servers grew revenues 430.5% year over year, albeit on a very small base of revenue."

Japanese Audio Company final Announces VR3000 Gaming Earphones

final, the Japanese high-end audio specialist, has announced their first step into the world of gaming with the new VR3000 gaming earphones - set to be released on 10/12/20. With the appreciation in high performance gaming equipment on the rise - the final VR3000 brings a fresh approach to delivering the highest audio quality, revolutionizing the gaming experience.

final has been involved in the audio industry for over 50 years, always innovating with cutting edge technology and design. The VR3000 is final's first pair of earphones created specifically for the purpose of gaming. The final VR3000 is an in-ear monitor, designed to be small and extremely lightweight - delivering headphone-like special sound with pinpoint accuracy and clarity. The in-ear design also allows for better mobility and device compatibility when compared to larger, more power-hungry headphones and headsets. Equipped with an in-line microphone and 3 button controller, the final VR3000 has a simple plug-and-play design allowing for in-game voice chat for a complete gaming experience.

Intel to Keep Its Number One Semiconductor Supplier Ranking in 2020: IC Insights

IC Insights' November Update to the 2020 McClean Report, released later this month, includes a discussion of the forecasted top-25 semiconductor suppliers in 2020. This research bulletin covers the expected top-15 2020 semiconductor suppliers (Figure 1).

The November Update also includes a detailed five-year forecast through 2024 of the IC market by product type (including dollar volume, unit shipments, and average selling price) and a forecast of the major semiconductor industry capital spenders for 2020. A five-year outlook for total semiconductor industry capital spending is also provided.

Ainex Releases Ingenious GPU Power Cable Hider Adapter

Japanese company Ainex has recently announced an ingenious solution to hide GPU PCI-Express power cables by reversing the orientation of the power cable. The adapters feature a compact size so can be used in parallel for power-intensive devices, the adapters are available in upper and lower latch versions to accommodate all cards. Ainex is offering 4 models for 6 and 8 pin connectors ranging from 600 - 700 yen (~6-7 USD) with shipping starting on November 25. The adapters are unlikely to see an official international release however you can likely import the item or find similar products online.

TOP500 Expands Exaflops Capacity Amidst Low Turnover

The 56th edition of the TOP500 saw the Japanese Fugaku supercomputer solidify its number one status in a list that reflects a flattening performance growth curve. Although two new systems managed to make it into the top 10, the full list recorded the smallest number of new entries since the project began in 1993.

The entry level to the list moved up to 1.32 petaflops on the High Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark, a small increase from 1.23 petaflops recorded in the June 2020 rankings. In a similar vein, the aggregate performance of all 500 systems grew from 2.22 exaflops in June to just 2.43 exaflops on the latest list. Likewise, average concurrency per system barely increased at all, growing from 145,363 cores six months ago to 145,465 cores in the current list.

Kioxia Corporation to Expand 3D Flash Memory Production Capacity

Kioxia Corporation, the world leader in memory solutions, today announced it will begin construction of a state-of-the-art fabrication facility (Fab7) at Yokkaichi Plant in Mie Prefecture, Japan to expand production of its proprietary 3D Flash memory BiCS FLASH. The construction of Kioxia Corporation's Fab7 facility is expected to commence in the spring of 2021.

Due to technological innovation, the amount of data being generated, stored and used around the world has increased exponentially. Furthermore, the flash memory market expects further growth driven by cloud services, 5G, IoT, AI and automated driving. As a result, the production of cutting-edge products in Kioxia Corporation's Fab7 facility will continue to meet the increasing demand for memory around the world.

The Fab7 facility will be built on the north side of Yokkaichi Plant, where land development is underway. In order to secure optimal production of advanced flash memory products, the construction of Fab7 will be divided into two phases, with the first phase of construction scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2022. Kioxia plans to fund the capital investments for the construction of Fab7 from its operating cash flow.

China Forecast to Represent 22% of the Foundry Market in 2020, says IC Insights

IC Insights recently released its September Update to the 2020 McClean Report that presented the second of a two-part analysis on the global IC foundry industry and included a look at the pure-play foundry market by region.

China was responsible for essentially all of the total pure-play foundry market increase in 2018. In 2019, the U.S./China trade war slowed China's economic growth but its foundry marketshare still increased by two percentage points to 21%. Moreover, despite the Covid-19 shutdown of China's economy earlier this year, China's share of the pure-play foundry market is forecast to be 22% in 2020, 17 percentage points greater than it registered in 2010 (Figure 1).

COVID-19 Drives Rise in Global Fab Equipment Spending, SEMI Reports

Soaring pandemic-inspired demand for chips that power everything from communications and IT infrastructures to personal computing, gaming and healthcare electronics will drive an 8% increase in global fab equipment spending in 2020 and a 13% increase in 2021, SEMI announced today in its World Fab Forecast report. Rising demand for semiconductors for datacenter infrastructures and server storage along with the buildup of safety stock as U.S.-China trade tensions intensify are also contributing to this year's growth.

The bullish trend for overall fab equipment investments comes as the semiconductor industry recovers from a 9% decline in fab spending in 2019 and navigates a roller-coaster 2020 with actual and projected spending drops in the first and third quarters mixed with second- and fourth-quarter increases. See figure below:

Toshiba Officially Exits the Laptop Business

Toshiba, a Japanese technology company, has announced last week that is exiting the laptop business in full. In 2018, Toshiba has sold 80.1% of its shares in Dynabook Inc. to Sharp Corp., Japanese company as well, just focused on electronics manufacturing. In the press release issued on August 4th, last week, Toshiba has transferred the remaining 19.9% of shares in Dynabook to Sharp and thereby has officially left the laptop business. "As a result of this transfer, Dynabook has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sharp.", says the Toshiba press release. This is one end of an era, as Toshiba has been manufacturing laptops from 1985, until this day in a way. This is one last goodbye to Toshiba, your laptop legacy will be remembered. If you were/are an owner of a Toshiba laptop, tell us about your experiences in the comments down below.
Toshiba Laptop

MSI Japan Announces Bravo 15 Gaming Laptop

MSI Japan has recently announced the MSI Bravo-15-A4DDR-056JP a 15-inch AMD Ryzen 7, Radeon RX gaming laptop. The Bravo 15 features a powerful 8-core 16-thread Ryzen 7 4800H paired with a Radeon RX 5500M 4 GB GDDR6, which helps drive the full HD 144Hz AMD FreeSync display. The laptop also comes equipped with 16 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory and a 512 GB NVMe SSD. The laptop boasts Wi-Fi 6 networking and features x2 USB 3.2 Gen-1 Type-C, x2 USB 3.2 Gen-1 Type-A, x1 HDMI, x1 Gigabit LAN, x1 headphone output and x1 audio combo jack.

The laptop includes a Japanese style backlit keyboard, stereo speakers, 720p webcam, and packs in a 51 WHr 3 cell battery. The Bravo 15 measures 359 mm x 254 mm x 21.7 mm while coming in at just 1.9 kg. The laptop will be available to purchase in Japanese markets starting August 20th for a suggested price of 160,000 yen (~1500 USD), it is currently unknown if MSI plans to bring this laptop to other markets.

Konami Joins the Desktop PC Market with 3 New Models

Japanese company Konami Amusements is entering the desktop PC market with three new Arespear models the C300, C700, C700+. The three models feature similar bodies all measuring 575 mm x 501 mm x 230 mm with front honeycomb-style panels. All models also feature M.2 NVMe SSDs and dedicated ASUS sound cards. The Arespear C300 comes equipped with an Intel Core i5-9400F, 8 GB DDR4 2666 MHz memory, GeForce GTX 1650, and 512 GB SSD.

The two high-end models the Arespear C700 and C700+ both feature CPU water-coolers and are both equipped with Intel Core i7-9700 processors, 16 GB DDR4 2666 MHz memory, GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER, 512 GB SSD, and 1 TB HDD. The C700+ includes a transparent side panel with RGB lighting. All models come with USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, PS/2, and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. These new computers aren't cheap ranging from 184,800 yen (~1,760 USD) for the entry-level Arespear C300, all the way up to 338,800 yen (~3,230 USD) Arespear C700+. The Arespear computers will start shipping in September with international availability and pricing unknown.

Nagao Manufacturing Releases N-FRAME-EATX Open Frame E-ATX Case

Japanese PC and Industrial company Nagao Manufacturing Co have recently revealed their large N-FRAME-EATX open frame case which is designed to facilitate part testing and supports large form factor motherboards up to E-ATX. The case comes with a flexible radiator mount supporting 120/140/240/280/360 mm radiators and can be adjusted in 7 stages of 0/30/60/90/120/150/180°.

The case can accommodate dual ATX power supplies however it requires the relocation of the main power switch and reduces available drive mounts down to 4. The case can house multiple PCIe cards with 8 expansion slots and supports vertical GPU mounting. The black painted iron case measures 370 mm width, 190 mm depth, 450 mm height, and comes in at 3.5 kg. Pricing and international availability were not announced.

ELSA Announces GeForce RTX 2070 Super ERAZOR X & Super S.A.C.

ELSA has announced two new GeForce RTX 2070 Super graphics cards the Super ERAZOR X and Super S.A.C. The two new cards both feature a dual-fan design with backplates. The ELSA GeForce RTX 2070 Super ERAZOR X features a boost clock of 1815 MHz, four 8 mm diameter heat pipes cooled by dual 90 mm "SAC 3" fans. The card comes with an ESLA logo backplate and measures 267 mm (length) x 114 mm (height) x 50 mm (thickness), 2.5 slot size limiting SLI options. The card will be available in Japan from June 26th with a price of 81,200 yen (760 USD).

ELSA GeForce RTX 2070 Super S.A.C is a cheaper option with a boost clock of 1,770 MHz, four 6 mm diameter heat pipes cooled by dual 90 mm "SAC 2" fans. The card comes with a plain backplate and measures 271 mm (length) x 115 mm (height) x 42 mm (thickness). The card will be available in Japan from June 26th with a price of 71,400 yen (670 USD).

Fujitsu Completes Delivery of Fugaku Supercomputer

Fujitsu has today officially completed the delivery of the Fugaku supercomputer to the Riken scientific research institute of Japan. This is a big accomplishment as the current COVID-19 pandemic has delayed many happenings in the industry. However, Fujitsu managed to play around that and deliver the supercomputer on time. The last of 400 racks needed for the Fugaku supercomputer was delivered today, on May 13th, as it was originally planned. The supercomputer is supposed to be fully operational starting on the physical year of 2021, where the installation and setup will be done before.

As a reminder, the Fugaku is an Arm-based supercomputer consisting out of 150 thousand A64FX CPUs. These CPUs are custom made processors by Fujitsu based on Arm v8.2 ISA, and they feature 48 cores built on TSMC 7 nm node and running above 2 GHz. Packing 8.786 billion transistors, this monster chips use HBM2 memory instead of a regular DDR memory interface. Recently, a prototype of the Fugaku supercomputer was submitted to the Top500 supercomputer list and it came on top for being the most energy-efficient of all, meaning that it will be as energy efficient as it will be fast. Speculations are that it will have around 400 PetaFlops of general compute power for Dual-Precision workloads, however, for the specific artificial intelligence applications, it should achieve ExaFLOP performance target.
K SuperComputer

Samsung to Continue Buying LCD Screens from Sharp

It was only recently that we reported on Samsung's decision to stop manufacturing all the LCD panels and focus on the production of AMOLED and QLED displays. However, it seems like Samsung will not be abandoning the LCD technology completely. According to a report from DigiTimes, we have information that Samsung will continue to offer LCD-based screens, TN-film, various kinds of VA, IPS, etc., by buying the LCD screen from a Japanese multinational company called Sharp. Sharp will be Samsung's only source of these LCD screens, so Samsung will still be able to offer products based on them. It is reported that types of panels in question are meant for the production of television devices, meaning that they are probably bigger-sized panels.
Samsung Display

Acer Launches two Predator Monitors with 240 Hz Refresh Rate

Acer Japan has today launched two predator monitors based on IPS technology. The two monitors in question are 24.5-inch and 27-inch IPS panels based on 1080p resolution named XB253QGXbmiiprzx (the 24.5-inch model) and XB273GXbmiiprzx (27-inch model), which is not a typo and are the actual name of the models. Both of them feature Display HDR400 certifications, meaning that their maximum brightness is 400 nits. Other specifications include a maximum supported refresh rate of 240 Hz with 1 ms GtG response time that can be reduced to 0.5 ms response time with override mode. There are two options of frame syncing, where one is NVIDIA's G-SYNC, and the other is VESA's Adaptive-Sync. Both of them support up to 240 Hz refresh rate, meaning that you can use any card to get syncing at a high refresh rate. The IPS screen covers 99% of the sRGB color gamut.

For connectivity, Acer has equipped these monitors with one DisplayPort 1.2a, and two HDMI 2.0b ports used for input. There is a USB hub with four USB 3.0 ports and one 3.5 mm headphone jack output. The monitor is rocking two 2 W integrated stereo speakers. When it comes to the pricing, the smaller 24.5-inch model is priced at around ¥46,000 ($430 in the United States) and ¥55,000 (around $500 in the US).

Panasonic Exits Silicon Manufacturing Business

Panasonic, an electronics manufacturing giant, has today sold its silicon manufacturing business, marking the end of an era of Japanese semiconductor manufacturing. Once a big player in silicon manufacturing scene, particularly in the '80s and '90s era when Japan's silicon output was huge, Panasonic was considered one of the main players in the silicon manufacturing business. However, due to some difficulties like operating a business with a loss of over $215 million yearly, and having to compete with Chinese and Taiwanese silicon manufacturing firms, Panasonic is selling its silicon production lines.

The subsidiary of Panasonic called "Semiconductors Solutions" is being sold to Nuvoton Technology Corporation, a semiconductor company that spun-off from Winbond Electronics Corporation in 2008, where Winbond still owns 61% stake in Nuvoton despite the spinoff. Additionally, Panasonic forecasts a 27% drop in operating profit for this physical year, with the declining semiconductor manufacturing business counted. The reasoning behind this sale is that the company plans to exit all declining businesses that also include LCD manufacturing, as Chinese alternative manufacturers are stiff competition for Panasonic when it comes to pricing and panel output.

Japan-Korea Trade Spat and Toshiba Blackout Hike DRAM Prices by 20 Percent

Prices of DRAM shot up by 20 percent as Japan put in place export curbs that restrict high-technology exports to South Korea, and as Toshiba recovers from a power blackout that temporarily halted production. This could impact prices of end-user products such as PC memory modules, or consumer electronics, such as smartphones, in the coming weeks, as inventories either dry up, or are marked-up at various stages of the supply-chain. The memory industry is inter-dependent between fabrication and packaging units spread across South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

Memory and flash industry observer DRAMeXchange reported that spot-pricing of 8-gigabit DDR4 DRAM chips, which is used as a benchmark for DRAM pricing as a whole, closed at USD $3.74 at the end of trading on Friday (19/07). It's up 14.6 percent week-over-week, and 23 percent up pricing as on 5th July. An industry observer who spoke with KBS World notes that the recent hikes are not directly infuenced by the trade-spat between Japan and Korea, but rather a power blackout experienced at a Toshiba DRAM manufacturing facility last month. The observer noted that if the trade-spat affects production at Samsung Electronics or SK Hynix, DRAM prices could "skyrocket."

Toshiba Memory to Rebrand as "Kioxia" in October

Toshiba Memory Holdings Corporation announced today that it will officially change its name to Kioxia Holdings Corporation on October 1, 2019. The name Kioxia (kee-ox-ee-uh) will be adopted for the names of all Toshiba Memory companies, largely effective on the same date.

Kioxia is a combination of the Japanese word kioku meaning "memory" and the Greek word axia meaning "value." Merging "memory" with "value," Kioxia represents the company's mission to uplift the world with "memory," which forms the foundation of the company's vision. Kioxia will cultivate the new era of memory, defined by rapidly increasing demands for large-capacity, high-performance storage and data processing, which positions the company to grow sustainably as a leading flash memory producer for many years to come.

Toshiba, WD NAND Production in Yokkaichi Hit With Power Outage: 6 Exabytes of NAND Production Affected

In another episode of the "so timely considering market projections for NAND pricing" news, Toshiba and Western Digital have disclosed expected impacts following an unexpected, 13-minute power outage on June 15th, that affected the companies' joint manufacturing facilities in Yokkaichi, Japan. Western Digital announced a loss of almost 6 Exabytes of NAND production - Toshiba is expected to have lost anywhere between 6 Exabytes and 9 Exabytes themselves, since they usually have their factories working closer to full capacity. Return to standard manufacturing rates is expected to only occur by mid-July.

Damage includes impacted wafers that were being processed, the facilities, and production equipment, hence the need for an extended inoperability period to seriously assess damages and required reinvestment. 35% of the world's NAND supply is produced at this Yokkaichi Operation campus (which includes six factories and an R&D center), so this outage and NAND flash loss is likely to impact the global markets. Whether or not this is enough to move the needle from oversupply to undersupply is as of yet unknown, but it is unlikely so - although pricing changes are expected after Q3 and Q4 orders have been settled (whose pricing has already been settled and can't be subject to change). Loss of confidence in the Toshiba and Western Digital manufacturing venture, however, could help offset some of that pricing increase. Obviously, companies have insurance policies that cover them in case of such unexpected events - should they fall squarely out of the control of said companies.

Super Flower Announces the Leadex III 80Plus PSU Series With Semi-Passive Cooling Modes

Introducing the new Super Flower Leadex III series - an updated range of fully modular 80Plus Gold rated power supplies featuring three-tier adaptive cooling, industry leading power efficiency and packing premium Japanese capacitors.

Built on the award winning Super Flower design, the Leadex III improves on previous generations by introducing two semi-passive cooling modes that can be activated when using it under low or medium loads. Energy efficient, with minimal noise and heat output the Leadex III offers a premium solution to powering your system.

be quiet! at COMPUTEX 2019: Introducing New Straight Power 11 Platinum, System Power 9 CM PSUs

be quiet! at COMPUTEX 2019 introduced two new power supply units that show no compromises in performance and the sound-control the company is known for (and that it proudly bears in its name). The Straight Power 11 series will offer units rated at up to 80 Plus Platinum efficiency, meaning they can be up to 94% efficient while delivering power to your hardware - all with a silent operation thanks to their 135 mm, Silent Wings 3 fans. These are fully modular with Japanese-grade capacitors, and will be offered in 550 W, 650 W, 750 W, 850 W, 1,000 W, and 1200 W capacities.
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