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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).

Intel 10 nm Ice Lake-SP Server Processors Reportedly Delayed

Intel 10 nm products have seen massive delays over the years, and Intel has built many IPs on the new node, however, not many of them have seen the light of the day due to problems the company has experienced with the manufacturing of the new node. That has caused delays in product shipments in the past, meaning that the time for 10 nm is just ahead. According to the latest DigiTimes Taiwan report, we have information that Intel is going to delay its Ice Lake-SP server processors manufactured on a 10 nm node. And it is going to be a whole quarter late according to the report. Instead of launching in Q4 this year, we can expect to see new processors in Q1 of 2021. It is yet unknown whatever the launch will happen at the beginning of Q1 or its end, however, we will report on it as we hear more information.

Update: DigiTimes has also released another report regarding server shipments. It is reported that server vendors are decelerating the shipments as they are making fewer orders in Q4 to wait for the new Intel CPUs. Judging by this move, the demand for these new processors is going to be rather high and the supply chain is preparing slowly for it.

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:

Apple's Custom GPU is Reportedly Faster than Intel iGPU

When Apple announced their transition form Intel processors to Apple Silicon, we were left wondering how the silicon will perform and what characteristics will it bring with it. According to the latest report from The China Times, the Apple custom GPU found inside the new Apple Silicon will bring better performance and energy efficiency compared to Intel iGPU it replaces. The 5 nm GPU manufactured on TSMC's N5 semiconductor manufacturing node is supposedly codenamed "Lifuka" and it brings Apple's best to the table. Planned to power a 12-inch MacBook, the GPU will be paired with a custom CPU based on Arm ISA as well. The same chips powering iPhone and iPad devices will go into MacBook devices, with the TDP increased as MacBook will probably have much higher cooling capacity. The first Apple Silicon MacBook will come in H2 of 2021.
Here is the copy of a full report from The China Times below:

Acer Reports Q2 2020 Results: Operating Income NT$2.13 Billion with Record High Margin

Acer Inc. (TWSE: 2353) announced its financial results for the second quarter of 2020: consolidated revenues were NT$65.58 billion; gross profits were NT$7.14 billion with 10.9% margin; operating income was NT$2.13 billion, marking a record high[1] margin of 3.2%; earnings before tax was NT$1.65 billion; and net income was NT$1.20 billion with earnings per share (EPS) of NT$0.40. In the six months ended June 30, 2020, Acer's net income reached NT$1.75 billion, up 57.2% year-on-year (YoY) with EPS of NT$0.58.

In Q2, Acer saw strong business momentum due to work-from-home and distance learning needs in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) and Pan America regions, while Pan Asia Pacific continued its recovery from the pandemic lockdown. At the same time, Acer's multiple business engines continued their strong momentum; notable performances in Q2 net income include Acer Cyber Security with 24% growth YoY, Weblink International with 25% growth YoY, and Acer Synergy Tech with 88% growth YoY.

AMD Radeon Adrenalin Now Lets Users Report Crashes In-Driver

AMD's latest Radeon Software Adrenalin release, version 20.5.1, has introduced a pretty nifty feature: user-based crash reports. The driver suite from AMD now has a "Bug Report Tool" under the "System" tab that's fully dedicated to users reporting on crashes and issues with their graphics rendition, as well as Ryzen Master, Chipset Drivers, and AMD Link. The users' system is automatically populated by the driver suite, and users need only select the specific applications through which their bugs appear before submitting the form.

Some would say this is a feature that has been long coming, and that AMD should have implemented this ages ago - especially when its most recent driver woes increased in severity post-Navi release. An integrated bug report tool is sure to bring AMD more timely reports on existing issues, with a relatively standardized information and debug set that allows the company to work much closer with users while in search for a solution. A worldwide net of QA assistants, if you will.
New AMD Seetings menu subsystem New AMD bug reporting screen

Semiconductor Fabs to Log Record Spending of Nearly $68 Billion in 2021, SEMI Reports

2021 is poised to mark a banner year for global fab equipment spending with 24 percent growth to a record US$67.7 billion, 10 percent higher than the previously forecast US$65.7 billion, and all product segments promising solid growth rates, according to the second-quarter 2020 update of the SEMI World Fab Forecast report. Memory fabs will lead worldwide semiconductor segments with US$30 billion in equipment spending, while leading-edge logic and foundry is expected to rank second with US$29 billion in investments.

The 3D NAND memory subsegment will help power the spending spree with a 30 percent jump in investments this year before tacking on 17 percent growth in 2021. DRAM fab investments will surge 50 percent next year after declining 11 percent in 2020, and fab spending on logic and foundry, mainly leading edge, will trace a similar but more muted trajectory, rising 16 percent 2021 after an 11 percent drop this year.

AMD Reports First Quarter 2020 Financial Results

AMD today announced revenue for the first quarter of 2020 of $1.79 billion, operating income of $177 million, net income of $162 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.14. On a non-GAAP* basis, operating income was $236 million, net income was $222 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.18.

"We executed well in the first quarter, navigating the challenging environment to deliver 40 percent year-over-year revenue growth and significant gross margin expansion driven by our Ryzen and EPYC processors," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "While we expect some uncertainty in the near-term demand environment, our financial foundation is solid and our strong product portfolio positions us well across a diverse set of resilient end markets. We remain focused on strong business execution while ensuring the safety of our employees and supporting our customers, partners and communities. Our strategy and long-term growth plans are unchanged."

Intel Reports First-Quarter 2020 Financial Results

Intel Corporation today reported first-quarter 2020 financial results. "Our first-quarter performance is a testament to our team's focus on safeguarding employees, supporting our supply chain partners and delivering for our customers during this unprecedented challenge," said Bob Swan, Intel CEO."The role technology plays in the world is more essential now than it has ever been, and our opportunity to enrich lives and enable our customers' success has never been more vital. Guided by our cultural values, competitive advantages and financial strength, I am confident we will emerge from this situation an even stronger company."

In the first quarter, Intel achieved 34 percent data-centric revenue growth and 14 percent PC-centric revenue growth YoY. The company maintained essential factory operations with greater than 90 percent on-time delivery while supporting employees, customers and communities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a new Intel Pandemic Response Technology Initiative to combat the virus where we can uniquely make a difference with Intel technology, expertise, and resources.

Grand Theft Auto 6 to have Huge Map at Launch

According to the latest report from our colleges over at TweakTown, Rockstar is working hard on its next-generation Grand Theft Auto game, precisely the 6th installment of it. Reportedly, Rockstar has been working on GTA 6 since 2014 and has invested a lot of resources into it. Being that GTA V launched in September of 2013, it seems like Rockstar has quickly started to work on the "next big thing". And big it will be (words of Master Yoda). On the contrary to previous reports that Rockstar will build a world for the next-generation game on a moderately-sized map, the latest information we have suggests that GTA 6 will be based on a "gigantic beast-sized map" as its base. This is exciting news for everyone excited to explore the open-world of GTA while completing missions and having fun.
Grand Theft Auto 6

AMD Reportedly Launching B550 Motherboards Come June 16th

AMD is reportedly looking to launch their B550 mainstream motherboards this coming June 16th, with an announcement being pegged for May 21st. WCCFTech, quoting industry sources, says these motherboards will now finally be released to the public, nearly a year after the launch of AMD's Ryzen 3000 series and accompanying X570-based motherboards. This will mark the first time PCIe 4.0 will be available in a mainstream-geared platform and chipset; until now, users looking for more cost-effective builds to support their Ryzen CPUs had to make do without PCIe 4.0 support with a motherboard from previous generations, since the feature was only available on the (more expensive) X570 motherboards.

The B550 chipset should thus become the new choice for users looking to build new systems on a budget; and part of the reason for AMD delaying the launch of this chipset as much as it has could certainly be an effort to increase revenues due to the X570's higher ASP. It's expected that B550 motherboards will be had for higher pricing than AMD's previous mainstream B450 motherboards, though, due to increased costs with improved I/O and the additional requirements for PCIe 4.0 wiring. Considering AMD's X570-based motherboards can be had from the $150 barrier upwards, it's likely (via an educated guess only) that B550 will occupy the $90-$150 range.

TrendForce: The Effect of the Covid-19 Corona Virus Measured on Tech Industry

The following analysis shows TrendForce's investigations of key component and other downstream technology industries, under the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, with the latest data as of February 14, 2020.

Semiconductors
Compared to the OSAT industry, the foundry industry has a much higher degree of fab automation and thus is less impacted by the outbreak. But because most workers at semiconductor manufacturing sites in China come from out of town, labor shortages and traffic restrictions will lower work resumption rates at foundries more than expected. In the short term, fab utilization rates may not make a full recovery. As a result, given that the outbreak has not yet been effectively contained, TrendForce is projecting a possible decline in shipment for the Chinese foundry industry in 1Q20, in turn affecting downstream Chinese OSAT companies. The industry's overall performance recovery remains to be seen.
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