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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.

Scythe presents Kotetsu Mark II & Choten TUF Gaming Alliance Coolers

Japanese cooling expert Scythe presents two special editions of its CPU Cooler models Kotetsu Mark II and Choten as part of the ASUS TUF Gaming Alliance series. Both products bundle their unique advantages with the fancy design of the TUF Gaming Alliance series and gorgeous RGB illumination.

Scythe Kotetsu Mark II TUF Gaming Alliance Edition is based on the award-winning Kotetsu Mark II, offering outstanding performance even for overclocking purposes at impressively low noise levels. The Scythe Choten TUF Gaming Alliance on the other hand, aims for much more compact PC case environments while providing excellent balance between size, compatibility and performance.

Galax Readies 17.5 cm-long RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 Mini Graphics Cards

Galax is readying compact 17.5 cm long GeForce RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 for the Japanese market, distributed exclusively by Kurouto Shikou. The common board design for both models retains its short length despite not being taller than the ATX standard height, and is no thicker than 2-slot. It uses a dense aluminium fin-stack heatsink that's ventilated by a pair of 80 mm fans. The RTX 2070 Mini (GK-RTX2070-E8GB/MINI) ticks at GPU Boost frequencies of 1620 MHz, while the RTX 2060 Mini (GK-RTX2060-E6GB/MINI) does 1650 MHz. Both cards offer one-each of DisplayPort, DVI, and HDMI; and draw power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector.

Toshiba Shows Off 96-Layer BiCS FLASH Alongside Plethora of Enterprise SSDs at CES 2019

During our visit with Toshiba at CES 2019, we were shown not only new technologies that they will be rapidly deploying but a large number of SSDs for various market segments. The biggest draw was their 96-layer BiCS Flash with 4-bit-per-cell quadruple-level cell (QLC) technology. Toshiba is now pushing the boundary for capacity as a single chip device can reach 1.33 Tb (Terabits) while a single package device with 16-dies stacked architecture can reach 2.66 TB. That said, they are already sampling their 1 TB NVMe single package BG4 series SSDs to PC OEM customers in limited quantities.

These latest drives with their new BiCS FLASH technology incorporate everything into a tiny SSD that offers class-leading storage with sequential read performance reaching up to 2250 MB/s. Random read performance can also hit exceptional levels reaching up to 380,000 IOPS. For now, these BG4 based drives are targeted at ultra-thin PC notebooks, IoT embedded systems and will be made available in four capacities including; 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB and finally 1 TB. To meet expected demand, Toshiba will also be opening a facility in Japan dedicated to this latest technology in order to bring even higher capacities per NAND module.

IO Data Announces GigaCrysta Monitors: 24" TN, 240 Hz @ 1080p, 0.6 ms, HDR10 Support

Japanese company IO Data has announced a pair of monitors with a blazing fast 240 Hz refresh rate and a sub-1 ms response time. Part of the reason the response time is so low is the usage of TN (Twisted Nematic) panels on the design, which have historically presented faster response times than other mainstream panel technologies. These are available in a 24" size with varying specs according to the refresh rate: there are 60 Hz, 144 Hz, and 240 Hz panels, each with a maximum brightness of 250, 350, and 400 cd/m². Response times vary in 0.8, 0.7, and 0.6 ms, respectively. It's unclear which technology was used to achieve these response times - either some sort of strobe-based lighting, or an impressive overdrive function.

IO Data only makes its monitors available to their domestic market of Japan, so it's likely these won't be available for the global market. However, since these panels aren't manufactured in-house, but are purchased from a supplier (the amount of companies that have the capability to produce their own LCD panels is thin, to say the least), other companies are bound to introduce products based on these panels. IO Data's GigaCrysta-series displays with a sub-1 ms response time are currently available for $142 (60Hz), $265 (144 Hz) and $380 (240 Hz) on Amazon japan.

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.

Toshiba Memory and Western Digital Celebrate the Opening of Fab 6

Toshiba Memory Corporation and Western Digital Corporation today celebrated the opening of a new state-of-the-art semiconductor fabrication facility, Fab 6, and the Memory R&D Center, at Yokkaichi operations in Mie Prefecture, Japan. Toshiba Memory started construction of Fab 6, a dedicated 3D flash memory fabrication facility, in February 2017. Toshiba Memory and Western Digital have installed cutting-edge manufacturing equipment for key production processes including deposition and etching. Mass production of 96-layer 3D flash memory utilizing the new fab began earlier this month.

Demand for 3D flash memory is growing for enterprise servers, data centers and smartphones, and is expected to continue to expand in the years ahead. Further investments to expand its production will be made in line with market trends. The Memory R&D Center, located adjacent to Fab 6, began operations in March of this year, and will explore and promote advances in the development of 3D flash memory. Toshiba Memory and Western Digital will continue to cultivate and extend their leadership in the memory business by actively developing initiatives aimed at strengthening competitiveness, advancing joint development of 3D flash memory, and making capital investments according to market trends.

Monster Hunter: World is This Year's Biggest Game Launch on Steam

Monster Hunter: World has cemented itself as this year's biggest Steam launch (at least hitherto). The popular game which has been one of the most popular console launches of this generation has again done it on the PC platform, where it achieved an astounding 239,779 concurrent players a few hours after launch, more than any Japanese game ever achieved - and this comes at a time that's after the Dark Souls phenomenon. This year's previous biggest launch was Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which pulled in nearly 96,000 players - a far cry from Monster Hunter: World's achievement.

Here's our performance analysis and port impressions article.

Toshiba Breaks Ground on Biggest, Most Advanced BiCS FLASH Fabrication Facility in Kitakami City, Japan

Toshiba Memory Corporation, the world leader in memory solutions, today held a groundbreaking ceremony for the first semiconductor fabrication facility (fab), called K1, in Kitakami, Iwate prefecture, in northeastern Japan. On its completion in autumn 2019, the facility will be one of the most advanced manufacturing operations in the world, dedicated to production of 3D flash memory.

Toshiba Memory continues to advance technologies in flash memory. The company is now leading the way forward with advances in its BiCS FLASH , its proprietary 3D flash memory.
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