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Global OSAT Revenue for 3Q21 Reaches US$8.89 Billion Thanks to Peak Season Demand, Says TrendForce

As the global vaccination rate rose, and border restrictions in Europe and North America eased, social activities also began to enter a period of recovery, with the consumer electronics market seemingly ready for the arrival of the traditional peak season in 2H21, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. At the same time, however, the global supply chain was affected by delays in maritime transport, skyrocketing shipping costs, and component shortages, in addition to already-prohibitive price hikes for certain components in 1H21. Given the parallel rise in both material and manufacturing costs, the market for end products has not undergone the expected cyclical upturn in 2H21. Even so, the overall demand for and shipment of smartphones, notebook computers, and monitors experienced QoQ increases in 3Q21, thereby driving up businesses for major OSAT (outsourced semiconductor assembly and test) companies. For 3Q21, the revenues of the top 10 OSAT companies reached US$8.89 billion, a 31.6% YoY increase.

MediaTek's Pentonic 2000 is World's first TV SoC with H.266 support

With ever increasing computational needs from TV SoCs, as we're moving towards higher resolutions and refresh rates, MediaTek is getting ready for the next generation of 8K TVs with its new Pentonic 2000 SoC. This is the world's first TV SoC to support the new H.266 video codec standard, which is an evolution of the H.265 intended for 8K content.

The Pentonic 2000 is fabbed using TSMC's N7 node and it's the first commercial TV SoC to be made on this manufacturing process according to MediaTek. The SoC supports 8K resolution content at up to 120 Hz with MEMC (Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation) and has an integrated AI engine to help improve scaling from lower resolutions. MediaTek also claims that the Pentonic 2000 features the "industry's most powerful CPU and GPU" in a smart TV SoC, without giving away any actual details, although it the SoC does support UFS 3.1 storage, which suggests that we're looking at a recent Arm Cortex-A7x based SoC at the very least.

Micron and MediaTek First to Validate LPDDR5X

Micron Technology, Inc. announced today that MediaTek Inc. has validated Micron's low-power double data rate 5X (LPDDR5X) DRAM for MediaTek's new Dimensity 9000 5G flagship chipset for smartphones. Micron is the first semiconductor company to sample and validate this fastest, most advanced mobile memory in the industry and has shipped the first batch of samples of LPDDR5X built on its first-to-market 1α (1-alpha) node. Designed for high-end and flagship smartphones, Micron's LPDDR5X allows the smartphone ecosystem to unlock the next wave of data-intensive applications powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G innovation.

The market delivery and validation of Micron's industry-leading 1α-based LPDDR5X solidifies its product innovation and leadership in the mobile ecosystem, following industry-first launches for LPDDR5, 1α-based LPDDR4X, 176-layer NAND-based UFS 3.1 and uMCP5 solutions. This most recent milestone follows quickly on the heels of JEDEC's July release of the LPDDR5X extension to LPDDR5, created to offer higher bandwidth and memory speed for enhanced 5G communication and performance while still conserving power. Micron has validated samples supporting data rates up to 7.5 Gb/s, with samples supporting data rates up to 8.533 Gb/s to follow. Peak LPDDR5X speeds of 8.533 Gb/s deliver up to 33% faster performance than previous-generation LPDDR5.

"Innovating cutting-edge smartphone experiences requires memory technology built to address the massive bandwidth demands of the mobile market," said Raj Talluri, senior vice president and general manager of Micron's Mobile Business Unit. "Our collaboration with MediaTek to validate the world's most advanced mobile memory empowers the ecosystem to deliver the next wave of rich mobile features enhanced by 5G and AI."

AMD and MediaTek Formally Launch RZ600 Series Wi-Fi 6E Modules to Enhance PC and Notebook Connectivity

MediaTek and AMD announced a collaboration to co-engineer industry leading Wi-Fi solutions, starting with the AMD RZ600 Series Wi-Fi 6E modules containing MediaTek's new Filogic 330P chipset. The Filogic 330P chipset will power next-generation AMD Ryzen-series laptop and desktop PCs in 2022 and beyond, delivering fast Wi-Fi speeds with low latency and less interference from other signals.

To optimize the AMD RZ600 Series Wi-Fi 6E modules with a focus on delivering seamless connectivity experiences for customers, AMD and MediaTek developed and certified PCIe and USB interfaces for modern sleep states and power management, which are vital elements of modern customer experiences. Further, the optimization process included stress testing and ensuring compatibility standards, which may ultimately reduce development time for OEM customers.

MediaTek Announces Flagship Dimensity 9000 5G SoC on TSMC 4 nm

A few years ago, MediaTek decided to leave the high-end mobile device SoC space as it decided to focus on the mid-range and entry level market, but as of today, that is no longer the case. The company has announced its new flagship Dimensity 9000 SoC and it packs all the latest cutting edge mobile SoC features you'd expect to see.

The Dimensity 9000 is based entirely on the new Arm v9 architecture and the chip itself is built in TSMC's 4 nm node, which gives MediaTek a lead on all its competitors, but Apple. As for the Arm cores in question, the main core is a Cortex-X2 at 3.05 GHz, which is accompanied by three Cortex-A710 cores at 2.85 GHz and four power efficient Cortex-A510 cores at 1.8 GHz. All of these new Arm cores were only announced at the end of May this year, so MediaTek has clearly been burning the midnight oil to get the Dimensity 9000 out before its competitors' new chips based on the Arm v9 architecture.

AMD to Steer Motherboard Partners Away from Intel WLAN, Toward MediaTek Co-branded Ones

Intel has dominated the client Wi-Fi + Bluetooth network adapter market in the PC space for some time now, particularly with WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E interfaces integrated with motherboards. Even on the AMD platform, motherboard vendors have extensively packaged not just Intel-branded WiFi + Bluetooth modules, but also their wired LAN controllers. In the commercial desktop and commercial notebook markets, Intel leverages this position to push its vPro management suite, with Intel WLAN controllers featuring vPro support. This is something felt lacking in the rival AMD PRO ecosystem, and something the company is looking to change with its collaboration with MediaTek.

AMD RZ660 will be the first controller based on this partnership. Based on the MediaTek Filogic 330P chipset, the controller combines WiFi 6E (6 GHz), with the latest generation Bluetooth (at least Bluetooth 5.2). Driver software and support for this solution will be handled by AMD, as would distribution. MediaTek stated that the first notebooks and desktop PCs (includes DIY motherboards) featuring the AMD RZ660 will debut in 2022. The AMD-supplied driver software would also enable the company to create special "PRO" variants of the RZ660 to bundle with its Ryzen PRO SoCs for the commercial PC and workstation markets. There doesn't appear to be any such collaboration with wired Ethernet, as there is an even competition between Intel and Realtek over the 2.5 GbE PHY market, with both companies offering gaming-specific variants—Intel Killer and Realtek DragonLAN.

MediaTek Announces New Filogic 130 and Filogic 130A WiFi 6 + Bluetooth 5.2 Controllers

MediaTek today announced the new MediaTek Filogic 130 and Filogic 130A system-on-chips (SoCs) which both integrate a microprocessor (MCU), AI engine, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 subsystems, and a power management unit (PMU) into a single chip. Filogic 130A also integrates an audio digital signal processor to allow device makers to easily add voice assistants and other services into their products. These all-in-one solutions deliver energy-efficient, reliable and high performance connectivity in small form factor designs that are ideal for a wide range of IoT devices.

"In the coming years, advanced connectivity technologies like Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 will become a must-have for smart home devices with the increasing need for more AI processing power, energy efficiency and robust security. MediaTek's Filogic 130 and Filogic 130A solutions offer the perfect combination of features to help drive this transition," said Alan Hsu, Corporate Vice President & General Manager, Intelligent Connectivity at MediaTek. "Each solution has a highly integrated design that packs the latest on-chip processing and power-management technologies into an ultra-small design no bigger than the size of a thumbnail."

AMD Expected to See 65 Percent Growth Rate in Sales for 2021, Intel Down One Percent

According to an industry report by IC Insights, AMD will see a yearly growth rate of no less than 65 percent this year, compared to 2020, whereas Intel is expected to have a slightly negative growth rate of one percent. The report includes the top 25 semiconductor sales leaders, ranked by growth rate, although it should be pointed out that some of them are foundries and not just semiconductor companies.

AMD is closely followed by MediaTek, which is expected to reach a 60 percent growth rate this year, followed by Nvidia at 54 percent and Qualcomm and 51 percent growth. The only surprise in the top five is PRC based SMIC, which saw a 39 percent growth this year, despite, or maybe because of the US sanctions against various Chinese IC makers.

Acer Debuts New Large-Screen Chromebooks for Work, School and Entertainment

Acer today debuted four new Chromebooks that meet a range of customer needs, ranging from home and business users to hybrid workers and students. Equipped with the latest processors and sought-after features such as reliable Wi-Fi 6, video conferencing technology and durable designs, the new Acer Chromebooks keep customers connected, productive and entertained.

"Acer's expansive line of Chromebooks means that we're well-equipped to meet any sort of customer need—from display size, processors, durability, connectivity and more," said James Lin, General Manager, Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. "Whether a customer needs a device for work, school or entertainment, we've got a Chromebook with exactly the features they're looking for."

MediaTek Announces Filogic Connectivity Family with New Filogic 830 and Filogic 630 Wi-Fi 6/6E Chips

MediaTek today unveiled its new Filogic connectivity family with the introduction of the Filogic 830 Wi-Fi 6/6E system-on-chip (SoC) and Filogic 630 Wi-Fi 6E network interface card (NIC) solutions. MediaTek's new Filogic series of high-performance Wi-Fi 6/6E chipsets provide reliable connectivity, high computation capabilities and a rich set of features in highly integrated, power-efficient designs.

"The MediaTek Filogic series ushers in a new era of smart Wi-Fi solutions with extreme speeds, low latency and superb power efficiency for seamless, always connected experiences," said Alan Hsu, Corporate Vice President & General Manager, Intelligent Connectivity at MediaTek. "These new chipsets provide best-in-class features with highly integrated designs for the next generation of premium broadband, enterprise and retail Wi-Fi solutions."

Revenue of Top 10 IC Design (Fabless) Companies Reaches US$29.8 Billion for 2Q21, Though Growth May Potentially Slow in 2H21, Says TrendForce

In view of the ongoing production capacity shortage in the semiconductor industry and the resultant price hike of chips, revenue of the top 10 IC design companies for 2Q21 reached US$29.8 billion, a 60.8% YoY increase, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In particular, Taiwanese companies put up remarkable performances during this period, with both MediaTek and Novatek posting YoY growths of more than 95%. AMD, on the other hand, experienced a nearly 100% YoY revenue growth, the highest among the top 10.

TrendForce indicates that the ranking of the top five companies for 2Q21 remained unchanged from the previous quarter, although there were major changes in the 6th to 10th spots. More specifically, after finalizing its acquisition of Inphi, Marvell experienced a major revenue growth and leapfrogged Xilinx and Realtek in the rankings from 9th place in 1Q21 to 7th place in 2Q21.

JEDEC publishes XFM Embedded and Removable Memory Device Standard

JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, the global leader in standards development for the microelectronics industry, today announced the publication of JESD233: XFM Embedded and Removable Memory Device (XFMD) standard. XFMD (XFM stands for Crossover Flash Memory) is a new universal data storage media providing an NVMe over PCI Express interface in a small, thin form factor. The device is designed to bring replaceable storage to devices typically soldered down in IoT devices and embedded applications. Developed by JEDEC's JC-64.1 Subcommittee for Electrical Specifications and Command Protocols, JESD233 is available for download from the JEDEC website.

JESD233 XFMD is a removable, versatile memory solution intended for use in a wide range of applications that require an easy device exchange. Examples include IoT devices, automotive applications, notebook PCs, gaming consoles, video recording devices (drones, surveillance systems, etc.), Extended Reality (AR, VR, MR), and more.

To maximize connectivity between the host and the device, JESD233 XFMD leverages industry-leading standards from PCI-SIG and NVM Express, Inc. The PCI Express interface provides fundamental bus connectivity and NVM Express serves as the higher level protocol for accessing the non-volatile media as a low-latency logical storage device.

MediaTek Announces Dimensity 920 and Dimensity 810 Chips for 5G Smartphones

MediaTek today announced the new Dimensity 920 and Dimensity 810 chipsets, the latest additions to its Dimensity 5G family. This debut gives smartphone makers the ability to provide boosted performance, brilliant imaging and smarter displays to their customers.

Designed for powerful 5G smartphones, the Dimensity 920 balances performance, power and cost to provide an incredible mobile experience. Built using the 6nm high-performance manufacturing node, it supports intelligent displays and hardware-based 4K HDR video capture, while also offering a 9% boost in gaming performance compared to its predecessor, the Dimensity 900.

NVIDIA Brings RTX and DLSS to Arm Platform

NVIDIA at GDC dropped a major hint at where it wants to take PC gaming post the Arm acquisition. The company is demonstrating its RTX real-time raytracing technology, and the DLSS performance enhancement, on an Arm processor by MediaTek. To the PC, this means NVIDIA is laying the foundations of gaming in the post-x86 world where it holds Arm IP; foundations that were dug up by Apple and its mighty M1 chip, based on Arm CPU technology.

Making this unequivocal, was MediaTek. "RTX is the most groundbreaking technology to come to PC gaming in the last two decades," said PC Tseng, general manager of MediaTek's Intelligent Multimedia Business Unit."MediaTek and NVIDIA are laying the foundation for a new category of Arm-based high-performance PCs." The Taiwan-based Arm SoC major has developed a new Arm-based PC processor called Kompanio 1200, which it hopes will power PC platforms much like the Apple M1 or the Qualcomm Compute Platforms.

MediaTek Launches Dimensity 5G Open Resource Architecture

MediaTek today announced the Dimensity 5G Open Resource Architecture that provides brands with more flexibility to customize key 5G mobile device features to address different market segments. The open resource architecture gives smartphone brands closer-to-metal access to customize features for cameras, displays, graphics, artificial intelligence (AI) processing units (APUs), sensors and connectivity sub-systems within the Dimensity 1200 chipset.

"MediaTek is collaborating with the world's largest smartphone brands to unlock customized consumer experiences that differentiate flagship 5G smartphones," said Dr. Yenchi Lee, Deputy General Manager of MediaTek's Wireless Communications Business Unit. "Whether it's novel multimedia features, unmatched performance, brilliant imaging or more synergy between smartphones and services, with our architecture device makers can tailor their devices to complement a variety of consumer lifestyles."

Three Major Arm Licensees Endorse the NVIDIA Takeover

NVIDIA's $40 billion takeover of Arm Holdings plc from SoftBank, got a shot in the arm, as three major licensees of the IP came out in support of the bid. These include Broadcom, MediaTek, and Marvell Technology Group. This development is key for NVIDIA to fight the perception built up by a rival faction, that the democratized nature of the Arm IP would get lost if a chipmaker like NVIDIA owns it. This rival faction is primarily led by Qualcomm.

It's interesting to note the individual backers of the NVIDIA takeover. There is nothing but love between Broadcom and Qualcomm, especially after the former's failed bid to acquire the latter. MediaTek is a major smartphone and IoT SoC maker, dominating the low-cost and mainstream smartphone segments. Marvell is big in datacenter and storage IP. Each of the three are results of huge IP consolidation over the past decade.

MediaTek Announces New 6nm Dimensity 900 5G Chipset

MediaTek today announced the new Dimensity 900 5G chipset, the latest addition to its Dimensity 5G family. The Dimensity 900 chipset, built on the 6nm high-performance manufacturing node, supports Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, ultra-fast FHD+ 120Hz displays and a 108MP main camera for an all-around incredible experience. "Dimensity 900 brings a suite of connectivity, display and 4K HDR visual enhancements to high-tier 5G smartphones and gives brands great design flexibility for their 5G portfolios," said Dr. JC Hsu, Corporate VP and GM of MediaTek's Wireless Communications Business Unit. "The chipset's support for 5G and Wi-Fi 6 ensures users get the most of out their devices with super-fast and reliable connectivity."

The Dimensity 900 chipset is integrated with a 5G New Radio (NR) sub-6GHz modem with carrier aggregation and support for bandwidth up to 120 MHz. The chipset is equipped with an 8-core central processing unit (CPU) consisting of two Arm Cortex-A78 processors with a clock speed of up to 2.4 GHz and six Arm Cortex-A55 cores operating at up to 2.00 GHz. Dimensity 900 supports flagship LPDDR5 memory and UFS 3.1 storage, and can adapt to a 120 Hz screen refresh rate, bringing excellent performance improvements and a seamless experience to 5G mobile devices.

AMD RZ608 Wi-Fi 6E WLAN Module Real, Debuts on AYANEO Handheld Consoles

AMD in 2020 set out on an ambitious project to develop Wi-Fi modules under its own marquee. This was catalyzed in part by the company's Ryzen PRO line of mobile processors, to better compete with Intel's Core vPro processors, which included Intel's own vPro-ready WLAN modules as part of a package to notebook OEMs. Come 2021, and AMD's module is ready, and is debuting with a handheld game console.

The new AMD RZ608 WLAN module is cutting-edge, in supporting Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax over 6 GHz) in addition to a plethora of older Wi-Fi standards; and Bluetooth 5.2. 6 months seem like an awfully short amount of time for AMD to whip up a WLAN product portfolio from scratch, especially with the IP tangles involved. The company instead chose to partner with MediaTek, which has access to all the IP needed to develop such a product. The WLAN PHY appears to be a MediaTek design, specifically based on the MT7921K chip. We'll hear a lot more about the RZ608, as it might start showing up in notebooks powered by Ryzen 5000 "Cezanne" processors. It remains to be seen if the chip makes it to desktop platforms, too.

Revenue of Top 10 IC Design (Fabless) Companies for 2020 Undergoes 26.4% Increase YoY, Says TrendForce

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 1H20 seemed at first poised to devastate the IC design industry. However, as WFH and distance education became the norm, TrendForce finds that the demand for notebook computers and networking products also spiked in response, in turn driving manufacturers to massively ramp up their procurement activities for components. Fabless IC design companies that supply such components therefore benefitted greatly from manufacturers' procurement demand, and the IC design industry underwent tremendous growth in 2020. In particular, the top three IC design companies (Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Nvidia) all posted YoY increases in their revenues, with Nvidia registering the most impressive growth, at a staggering 52.2% increase YoY, the highest among the top 10 companies.

Revenue of Top 10 Foundries Expected to Increase by 20% YoY in 1Q21 in Light of Fully Loaded Capacities, Says TrendForce

Demand in the global foundry market remains strong in 1Q21, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. As various end-products continue to generate high demand for chips, clients of foundries in turn stepped up their procurement activities, which subsequently led to a persistent shortage of production capacities across the foundry industry. TrendForce therefore expects foundries to continue posting strong financial performances in 1Q21, with a 20% YoY growth in the combined revenues of the top 10 foundries, while TSMC, Samsung, and UMC rank as the top three in terms of market share. However, the future reallocation of foundry capacities still remains to be seen, since the industry-wide effort to accelerate the production of automotive chips may indirectly impair the production and lead times of chips for consumer electronics and industrial applications.

TSMC has been maintaining a steady volume of wafer inputs at its 5 nm node, and these wafer inputs are projected to account for 20% of the company's revenue. On the other hand, owing to chip orders from AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and MediaTek, demand for TSMC's 7 nm node is likewise strong and likely to account for 30% of TSMC's revenue, a slight increase from the previous quarter. On the whole, TSMC's revenue is expected to undergo a 25% increase YoY in 1Q21 and set a new high on the back of surging demand for 5G, HPC, and automotive applications.

Industry R&D Spending To Rise 4% After Hitting Record in 2020: IC Insights

Research and development spending by semiconductor companies worldwide is forecast to grow 4% in 2021 to $71.4 billion after rising 5% in 2020 to a record high of $68.4 billion, according to IC Insights' new 2021 edition of The McClean Report—A Complete Analysis and Forecast of the Integrated Circuit Industry. Total R&D spending by semiconductor companies is expected to rise by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8% between 2021 and 2025 to $89.3 billion.

When the world was hit by the Covid-19 virus health crisis in 2020, wary semiconductor suppliers kept a lid on R&D spending increases, even though total semiconductor industry revenue grew by a surprising 8% in the year despite the economic fallout from the deadly pandemic. Semiconductor R&D expenditures as a percentage of worldwide industry sales slipped to 14.2% in 2020 compared to 14.6% in 2019, when research and development spending declined 1% and total semiconductor revenue fell 12%. Figure 1 plots semiconductor R&D spending levels and the spending-to-sales ratios over the past two decades and IC Insights' forecast through 2025.

Acer Releases Pair of New 11-inch Chromebooks for Education

Acer today announced a pair of new 11-inch Chromebooks for the education market with well-rounded features intended to make it as easy as possible for a school to go digital: military durability standards let parents trust that the devices are reliable, Zero-touch enrollment makes it easy for IT to roll them out, and students will enjoy the intuitive responsiveness of Chrome OS.

The Acer Chromebook 511 (C741L) is an 11.6-inch notebook computer that simplifies the process of establishing a digital learning environment, with a number of features that will benefit both the students using the devices and the school administrators rolling them out. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c compute platform allows for up to 20 hours of battery life between charges on top of offering an efficient performance to keep up with students' learning needs. Utilizing Snapdragon 7c, the Acer Chromebook 511 also delivers built-in 4G LTE connectivity to help protect the security of users' data and to provide fast, reliable access to learning apps in the cloud -- enabling students to take the classroom with them and learn from virtually anywhere. Weighing in at just 1.3 kg (2.87 lbs), this thin and light device is portable enough for students of all ages to easily transport between classes.

MediaTek Launches 6nm Dimensity 1200 Premium 5G SoC

MediaTek today unveiled its new Dimensity 1200 and Dimensity 1100 5G smartphone chipsets with unrivaled AI, camera and multimedia features for powerful 5G experiences. The addition of the 6 nm Dimensity 1200 and 1100 chipsets to MediaTek's 5G portfolio gives device makers a growing suite of options to design highly capable 5G smartphones with top of the line camera features, graphics, connectivity enhancements and more.

"MediaTek continues to expand its 5G portfolio with highly integrated solutions for a range of devices from the high-end to the mid-tier," said JC Hsu, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of MediaTek's Wireless Communications Business Unit. "Our new Dimensity 1200 stands out with its impressive 200MP camera support and advanced AI capabilities, in addition to its innovative connectivity, display, audio and gaming enhancements."

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.
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