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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.

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

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

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

Japanese Crypto Exchange Coincheck Hacked, Biggest Heist in History of the World

In what amounts (for now) to the biggest heist in the history of the world, Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck, which handles about 3% of the total cryptocurrency transactions, has apparently been on the receiving end of a $500 million hack to its crypto vaults. The heist, which seems to have particularly over the NEM cryptocurrency, took some $532 million worth of the cryptocurrency from the exchanges' coffers. This news comes after Coincheck halted all NEM transaction on its exchange starting this morning, without previous warning, which raised red flags on the NEM investor community and Coincheck users. Additionally, it's being reported that there was an additional $123 million worth of Ripple cryptocurrency taken, as well.

For now, Coincheck has only issued an update saying that "Depositing NEM on Coincheck is currently being restricted. Deposits made to your account will not be reflected in your balance, and we advise all users to refrain from making deposits until the restriction has been lifted", so, there's no confirmation of the heist as of now. However, Nikkei is reporting that Coincheck has reported the theft to the local Financial Services Agency and the police. If confirmed, this is easily the biggest heist in the world's history, and not coincidentally, the biggest in crypto history as well.

Japan Opens Prototype Quantum Computing System for Public, Worldwide Use

Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Company (NTT) is opening up its prototype quantum computing system for public use over the internet, giving users around the world access to one of the most elusive pieces of tech that this world has yet seem. Maybe we haven't seen it, though; observation does change the outcome, and these quantum physics really are as finicky as they come. Starting Nov. 27, Japan joins China and the U.S. in the race to develop the world's most advanced computers - and Japan has chosen the free, quantum-democratizing approach.

The NTT quantum computing solution is a state-sponsored research project, developed in conjunction with the National Institute of Informatics, Osaka university, and other partners. It has taken a different technical approach from other quantum computing developers, in that this particular computing system is exploiting the properties of light. Widely (un)known as Linear Optics Quantum Computation (LOQC), this particular approach foregoes qubits (which are extremely difficult to keep from decohering, and usually require very exotic cooling techniques to increase the qubits' stability. LOQC abandons qubits and uses photons to represent them as information carriers through linear optical elements (such as beam splitters, phase shifters, and mirrors). This allows the machine to process quantum information, using photon detectors and quantum memories to detect and store quantum information.

Microsoft Xbox One X Falls Short of Expectations in Japan - Again

Cracking Japan's console market has always been a tough - read: almost impossible - feat for Microsoft. For generations now, Microsoft has failed to achieve any kind of market penetration in that country. To put things in perspective, Xbox One's sales in japan have been so low that retailers in Japan started marketing and selling the consoles as Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray readers, not as gaming consoles. For Microsoft, that would have been fine - a sale is a sale is a sale, and the Xbox One never was sold at a loss like previous hardware generations - but it just goes to show that the Japanese market doesn't really care much for the typical games Microsoft offers with its console. The relative abundance of JRPGs and other typical games for which the Japanese crowds usually lean towards the most are relatively absent from Microsoft's staples of exclusives, which probably justifies this cold stance towards Microsoft's console. But to be fair, japan is one of the foremost mobile gaming countries in the world, so that definitely has something to do with it as well.

According to Japanese Famitsu, the Xbox One X managed to move... 1,639 units at launch. This means that the Xbox One X was outsold by virtually all consoles - The PS4 (23,613 units), PS4 Pro (6,028 units), Nintendo Switch (84,593 units), and was even outsold by the PS Vita, 3DS, and 2DS XL. It only snagged wins against previous-generation hardware (like the PS3 and Wii U) or Microsoft's own other console - The Xbox One S. A bittersweet victory, to say the least. The fact that the Xbox One X did get sold-out in Japan is telling - but that did happen because of the low orders Japanese retailers put in for the new console. Some 4 consoles later, they know that barring a black swan, Microsoft isn't setting a foothold in Japanese gamers' living rooms.
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