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G.SKILL Announces New DDR4 Specifications for Intel X299 HEDT Platform

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, announces new high-speed DDR4 memory specifications designed for the latest Intel Core X-series processors and X299 chipset motherboards. All the new memory kits are built with high performance Samsung 8Gb ICs, and tested under the highest standards of the Trident Z family.

With the improvement of overclocking performance on the latest Intel Core X-series processor and X299 chipset, G.SKILL is thrilled to release the fastest DDR4-4400 CL19-19-19-39 8GBx2 dual-channel memory kit designed for Kaby Lake-X processor. This high-end DDR4 memory kit will be available under the Trident Z RGB series and an all-new Trident Z Black series.

No Relief for DRAM and NAND Shortages in Sight; Considerable Supply Only in 2018

DRAM prices have been high for quite some time now, due to a general increased demand over a slowly improving supply capability from manufacturers. Pricing of DRAM has been increasing (to the tune that if I wanted to double my memory capacity, I would have to pay double of what I paid a mere 11 months ago.) NAND pricing has been affected as well, with newer technologies such as 3D NAND not having a relevant impact on end user pricing as was expected, since tight supply and growing demand means process-level savings are dwarfed by the increasing prices on the balance of supply and demand.

Most of our woes can be traced back to high-end smartphones, which make use of up to 6 GB of RAM and have copious amounts of NAND memory. Now, reports are coming in that due to the iPhone 8's impending launch, supply is even tighter, with several firms being either unable to secure the amount of Ram they are looking for, or having to order in significant advance (futures speculation anyone?) Reuters is reporting that some clients have moved to 6-month supply agreements for their DRAM and NAND purchases, accepting higher prices than the customary quarterly or monthly deals, to make sure they get enough memory chips for their products.

Samsung Ramps up 64-Layer 3D V-NAND Memory Production

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has begun volume production of 64-layer, 256Gb V-NAND flash memory for use with an expanding line-up of storage solutions for server, PC and mobile applications. Since Samsung began producing the industry's first SSD based on 64-layer 256Gb V-NAND chips in January for key IT customers, it has been working on a wide range of new V-NAND-based mobile and consumer storage solutions. These include embedded UFS memory, branded SSDs and external memory cards, which the company plans to introduce later this year.

To solidify its competitive edge in the memory market, Samsung intends for its volume production of the 64-layer V-NAND chip, which is widely referred to as 4th generation V-NAND, to cover more than 50 percent of its monthly NAND flash production by year end. "Following a long commitment to innovative technology, we will continuously push the limits of generations of industry-first V-NAND production, in moving the industry closer to the advent of the terabit V-NAND era," said Kye Hyun Kyung, Executive Vice President of the Flash Product and Technology team, Memory Business at Samsung Electronics. "We will keep developing next-generation V-NAND products in sync with the global IT industry so that we can contribute to the timeliest launches of new systems and services, in bringing a higher level of satisfaction to consumers."

Samsung Announces the CHG70 and CHG90 QLED Monitors: HDR and FreeSync 2

Remember that post on Samsung's investment on 32:9 aspect ratio monitors? The company has just materialized them, with the announcement of their 2017 flagship FreeSync 2 supporting monitors, which come in two different models and three different sizes. Samsung announced a world's first, the CHG90 QLED monitor, which leverages its alien 49" towards displaying a 32:9 presentation. That's what Samsung is calling a DFHD (Dual Full HD) screen, with a 3840x1080 resolution. This panel supports FreeSync 2, HDR, wide 178-degree viewing angles, and the now usual 1800R curvature, with blazingly-fast 144 Hz refresh rates and 1 ms response times.

At the same time, Samsung also announced the somewhat more mundane CHG70 QLED monitor, which comes in at either 27" or 31,5". Whatever your choice of panel size, these are essentially the same specs-wise, and differ little from the CHG90: they offer WQHD resolution (2560x1440), HDR, FreeSync 2, wide 178-degree viewing angles, and the now usual 1800R curvature, along with blazing-fast 144 Hz refresh rates and 1 ms response times.

AMD Doesn't Regret Spinning off GlobalFoundries

AMD co-founder Jerry Sanders, in 2009 was famously quoted as stating that "real men have fabs," a jibe probably targeted at the budding fab-less CPU designers of the time. Years later, AMD spun-off its silicon fabrication business, which with a substantial investment of the Abu Dhabi government through its state-owned Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), became GlobalFoundries (or GloFo in some vernacular). This company built strategic partnerships with the right players in the industry, acquisitions such as IBM's fabs, and is now at the forefront of sub-10 nm fab development. It remained one of AMD's biggest foundry partners besides TSMC and Samsung, and is manufacturing its AMD processors at a brand new facility in Upstate New York, USA.

AMD, on the other hand, doesn't regret spinning off GloFo. Speaking at Merrill Lynch Global Technology and Investment Conference, CTO Mark Papermaster said, that going fab-less has helped AMD focus on chip-design without worrying about manufacturing. Production is no longer a bottleneck for AMD, as it can now put out manufacturing contracts to a wider variety of foundry partners. Its chip-designers aren't limited by the constraints of an in-house fab, and can instead ask external fabs to optimize their nodes for their chip-designs, Papermaster said. 14 nm FinFET has added a level of standardization to the foundry industry.

Source: Expreview

IBM Research Alliance Builds New Transistor for 5 nm Technology

IBM, its Research Alliance partners GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Samsung, and equipment suppliers have developed an industry-first process to build silicon nanosheet transistors that will enable 5 nanometer (nm) chips. The details of the process will be presented at the 2017 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits conference in Kyoto, Japan. In less than two years since developing a 7 nm test node chip with 20 billion transistors, scientists have paved the way for 30 billion switches on a fingernail-sized chip.

The resulting increase in performance will help accelerate cognitive computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other data-intensive applications delivered in the cloud. The power savings could also mean that the batteries in smartphones and other mobile products could last two to three times longer than today's devices, before needing to be charged.

GeIL Unveils AMD Edition Variants of its Entire DDR4 Memory Lineup

It turns out that the EVO X AMD Edition isn't GeIL's only AMD Ryzen-optimized DDR4 memory, with the company unveiling AMD Edition variants of pretty much all its DDR4 memory brands. This includes the EVO Potenza, EVO Spear, EVO Forza, Super Luce, Pristine, and DragonRAM series. Each of these "AMD Edition" branded memory kits has been stability-tested with AMD Ryzen processors, at their advertised clock speeds and timings. They come in a variety of speeds, including DDR4-2400, DDR4-2666, DDR4-2933, DDR4-3200, and DDR4-3466; in densities of 8 GB and 16 GB, making up 16 GB and 32 GB dual-channel kits, respectively.

It's not known if all of these are based on Samsung b-die DRAM chips. AMD spokespersons have publicly stated that Samsung b-die isn't the only DRAM chip needed for high memory clocks on Ryzen processors, and that even with older versions of AGESA, certain memory kits with SK Hynix and Micron DRAM chips are having some success in achieving high memory clocks. AMD is working to improve support for faster DDR4 memory kits through updates to AGESA, which will be dispensed through motherboard vendors to end-users, as motherboard BIOS updates.

GeIL EVO-X Series AMD Edition DDR4 Memory Pictured

GeIL showed off its AMD Ryzen-optimized EVO-X AMD Edition DDR4 memory, with integrated RGB LED lighting. The modules feature Ryzen-friendly DRAM chips (although we're not sure if they're Samsung b-die), coupled with an SPD profile that's readable by prominent third-party one-click optimization standards such as ASUS DOCP, MSI A-XMP, and XMP-translation. The modules have been tested for stability in sustaining their advertised clocks and timings on motherboards of various brands.

The RGB LED lighting on the EVO-X series supports various RGB LED control software such as ASUS/ASRock Aura Sync, MSI Mystic Light RGB, BIOSTAR Vivid LED DJ, and GIGABYTE RGB Fusion. You can also manually set the color and brightness physically on the module itself, using a slider button-set called "Sliding Hot Switch." The EVO-X AMD Edition runs at DDR4-3466 MHz, with timings of 16-18-18-38. They are available in module densities of 8 GB, and in dual-channel kits of 16 GB. The modules are available in white and black heatspreader colors. The company could launch quad-channel kits in the wake of the Ryzen Threadripper TR4 platform.

Samsung Announces Comprehensive Process Roadmap Down to 4 nm

Samsung stands as a technology giant in the industry, with tendrils stretching out towards almost every conceivable area of consumer, prosumer, and professional markets. It is also one of the companies which can actually bring up the fight to Intel when it comes to semiconductor manufacturing, with some analysts predicting the South Korean will dethrone Intel as the top chipmaker in Q2 of this year. Samsung scales from hyper-scale data centers to the internet-of-things, and is set to lead the industry with 8nm, 7nm, 6nm, 5nm, 4nm and 18nm FD-SOI in its newest process technology roadmap. The new Samsung roadmap shows how committed the company is (and the industry with it) towards enabling the highest performance possible from the depleting potential of the silicon medium. The 4 nm "post FinFET" structure process is set to be in risk production by 2020.

This announcement also marks Samsung's reiteration on the usage of EUV (Extreme Ultra Violet) tech towards wafer manufacturing, a technology that has long been hailed as the savior of denser processes, but has been ultimately pushed out of market adoption due to its complexity. Kelvin Low, senior director of foundry marketing at Samsung, said that the "magic number" for productivity (as in, with a sustainable investment/return ratio) with EUV is 1,500 wafers per day. Samsung has already exceeded 1,000 wafers per day and has a high degree of confidence that 1,500 wafers per day is achievable.

TechPowerUp and G.Skill Announce the Ryzen-ready Flare X Memory Giveaway

TechPowerUp and G.Skill Memory bring you three more reasons to take the AMD Ryzen leap, with the "Game Faster with Flare X" Giveaway. Up for grabs are three G.Skill Flare X 16 GB (2x 8GB) dual-channel DDR4-3200 memory kits, which are based on Samsung b-die DRAM chips, and are recommended by AMD for the best performance on its Ryzen series desktop processors. The Flare X series kits are renowned for reliably sustaining DDR4-3200 speeds on Ryzen machines, which have a direct impact on their performance, since DRAM clock is synced with the clock speed of the Infinity Fabric interconnect between the two CCX quad-core units on Ryzen processors. The giveaway is open worldwide.

For more information, and to participate, visit this page.

HighPoint Intros SSD7101 Series PCI-Express 3.0 x16 NVMe RAID SSDs

HighPoint, known for its enterprise storage RAID HBAs, has a thriving portfolio of workstation-grade storage solutions, such as Thunderbolt enclosures. The company developed a new line of NVMe RAID solutions beginning with its RocketRAID 3800 PCIe x16 HBA, and now the SSD7101 series PCIe solid-state drives. The drives are built in the full-height PCI-Express add-on card form-factor, with PCI-Express 3.0 x16 host interface. The card combines a number of M.2-2280 SSD subunits wired to an NVMe RAID controller, and either striped in user-transparent RAID 0 for maximum performance, or RAID 1 and RAID 5 modes, for data redundancy. The resulting volume exposed to the OS has full NVMe protocol and TRIM support.

The SSD7101 comes in two variants, the SSD7101A featuring factory-fitted Samsung 960 EVO sub-units, and the faster SSD7101B featuring factory-fitted Samsung 960 PRO series sub-units. The card features four 32 Gb/s M.2 slots, the SSD7101A comes in capacities of 500 GB (2x 250 GB), 1 TB (4x 250 GB), 2 TB (4x 500 GB), and 4 TB (4x 1 TB); while the SSD7101B comes in capacities of 1 TB (4x 250 GB), 2 TB (4x 500 GB), 4 TB (4x 1 TB), and 8 TB (4x 2 TB). The SSD7101A offers sequential transfer rates of up to 13,000 MB/s reads, with up to 7,500 MB/s writes; while the SSD7101B offers up to 13,500 MB/s reads, with up to 8,000 MB/s writes, and 33 percent higher endurance. You can halve the capacity and double the endurance by running the drives in RAID 1 mode. Both drives feature an aluminium fin-channel cooling solution, with heatsinks over each of the four M.2 subunits, and the NVMe RAID controller. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Samsung Could Become Top Chipmaker in 2Q17, Dethrone Intel

Samsung could be on the verge of a historic dethroning of Intel as the dominant chipmaker in the IC world, if a recent report from IC Insights is to be believed. The report shows Samsung actually exceeding Intel's semiconductor sales in 2Q 2017, no doubt spurred on by mobile market growth and the proliferation of ARM based SOCs manufactured by Samsung.

Intel has held the dominant position for nearly a quarter century as its x86 architecture powered most PCs and notebooks/netbooks since 1993. The number of components they sell is not just limited to CPUs either: Intel is a provider of chips for everything from networking to thermal sensors, for Samsung to compete with such a giant in the semiconductor market at all (let alone exceed their sales) is quite a feat indeed.

Samsung, Amazon Unveil Yet Another HDR Standard

And here I was thinking the whole point of having standards was to homogenize offerings for a given feature, ensuring the same minimal requirements were met by anyone (or any product) looking to carry a sticker emblazoning its capabilities. Yet here it is, another HDR standard, which Samsung and Amazon are calling HDR10+.

The HDR10+ standard looks to slightly bridge the gap between the HDR10 standard as certified by the UHD Alliance, and the Dolby Vision one, which boasted better HDR reproduction whilst carrying higher specifications to be adhered to. The greatest change in HDR10+: the adoption of Dynamic Tone Mapping, which stand upon variable dynamic metadata to help adjust brightness and contrast in real time, optimized on a frame-by-frame basis, a feature present in Dolby Vision but lacking on the UHD Alliance's HDR10, which resulted in some overly darkened bright scenes.

Samsung Announces Galaxy Book 12 Enterprise 2-in-1 Solution

Samsung Electronics America, Inc. today announced pre-order sales and availability of Samsung Galaxy Book 12 with Windows 10 Pro, a 2-in-1 device that offers highly mobile workforces style, performance and productivity. Galaxy Book will be available for pre-order through select resellers beginning April 21 for $1429, which includes an S Pen and Keyboard Case, as well as Samsung's enterprise solutions, services and support. Device shipments will begin May 23.

"We see tremendous growth and potential for 2-in-1s in the enterprise, particularly in vertical markets like sales, finance, healthcare and retail industries where users move frequently between collaboration and productivity mode," said Kevin Gilroy, executive vice president of enterprise mobility at Samsung Electronics America. "Galaxy Book helps Windows 10 Pro users make an impression with a stylish and flexible device that's backed by the power, security and reliability of our Galaxy foundation."

Samsung Completes Qualification of its 2nd Generation 10nm Process Technology

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, announced today that its second generation 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET process technology, 10LPP (Low Power Plus), has been qualified and is ready for production. With further enhancement in 3D FinFET structure, 10LPP allows up to 10-percent higher performance or 15-percent lower power consumption compared to the first generation 10LPE (Low-Power Early) process with the same area scaling.

Samsung was the first in the industry to begin mass production of system-on-chips (SoCs) products on 10LPE last October. The latest Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphones are powered by some of these SoCs. To meet long-term demand for the 10nm process for a wide range of customers, Samsung has started installing production equipment at its newest S3-line in Hwaseong, Korea. The S3-line is expected to be ready for production by the fourth quarter of this year.

Amidst Production Woes, Pricing of DDR4 DRAM to Climb 12.5% on 2Q17 - Trendforce

Continuing the trend of previous reports, DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, reports the general price increase in the PC DRAM market is growing larger than anticipated as the already tight supply situation is compounded by quality problems with products made on the leading-edge processes. Based on a preliminary survey of completed contracts for the second quarter, DRAMeXchange estimates that the average contract price of 4GB DDR4 modules will go up by about 12.5% compared with the first quarter, from US$24 to around US$27.

"PC-OEMs that have been negotiating their second-quarter memory contracts initially expected the market supply to expand because Samsung and Micron have begun to produce on the 18 nm and the 17 nm processes, respectively," said Avril Wu, research director of DRAMeXchange. "However, both Samsung and Micron have encountered setbacks related to sampling and yield, so the supply situation remains tight going into the second quarter and PC DRAM prices will continue to rise through this three-month period."

Samsung Investing in DFHD (Double Full HD) 32:9, 29:9 Ultra-wide Panels

"All hail the ultra-wide gods." This must've been the mantra going on when Samsung execs gave the okay for development of what are being called Double Full HD monitors. This is the new way to have your field of vision almost as filled with screen real estate as when wearing one of those pesky VR headsets. Though with 21:9 support for gaming being spotty as it is, these should lend themselves more as work monitors than for gaming setups - I can definitely see some traders running this kind of screens.

One of these panels will be a 49" wide, 32:9, 3840x1080 resolution beast. The panel will feature a 1800R curvature, higher than the usual curvature on 21:9 aspect ratio displays, but this may well make sense given the horizontal size of the panel. Higher curvature means better coverage of your peripheral vision, and Samsung has enough engineers and research to believe this is the right amount of curvature. This panel will support G-Sync and Freesync (on differing models, surely), and a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz on the VA panel with a 3-side frameless design. The panel will offer a high 5000:1 static contrast ratio - ahead of current contrast ratio on Samsung panels, according to TFT Central, so there is some new tech at play here. These panels are planned for mass production on September 2017.

PC DRAM Pricing Increased 20% Sep-Oct 2016; Will Continue Rising in 2017 - TrendForce

DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, today reported that the average contract price of 4GB PC DRAM modules increased over 20% between September and October of 2016 (jumping from US$14.5 to US$17.5) as DRAM suppliers completed their fourth-quarter contract negotiations with first-tier PC-OEMs.

These increases come as the result of production capacity gradually shifting from PC-centric DRAM towards mobile and server DRAM, which have seen tremendous growths in demand. In fact, PC DRAM memory accounts for less than 20% of overall DRAM production. The already low inventories of branded device makers go hand in hand with higher-than-expected demand for DRAM-carrying products. And this higher demand comes after the PC DRAM market being severely undersupplied in the second half of 2016. The result: an across-the-board price upturn for all types of DRAM.

Samsung's Z- SSD Featuring Z-NAND Makes a Physical Appearance

NAND has come here to stay, and it's market penetration still has a lot of leeway. Samsung, bar none the biggest and best player in the NAND field, is in a uniquely privileged position to develop new technologies and capitalize on them. Remember that Samsung has so many distinct product lines on which to monetize its advancements that any new investment is hardly a make it or break it affair.

Z-NAND is Samsung's answer to other developing technologies such as 3D XPoint, of which Intel has just announced the first commercial product. Z-NAND looks to stand at the intersection between NAND and DRAM, and is more of an evolution of the NAND design than it is a totally new technology (thus distancing itself from the likes of 3D XPoint.)

SilverStone Releases the TP01-M2 Thermal Pads for Your M.2 SSD

That some M.2 SSDs throttle their speeds because of increased operating temperatures has already been demonstrated. Some companies, like Plextor, have even launched M.2 SSDs with specifically-developed heatsinks to reduce operating temperatures and thus reduce performance degradation. Other companies, Like MSI, have started incorporating M.2 heatsinks on their motherboard design, looking to attract more customers on the prospect of increased SSD performance - though some say the merits of MSI's approach are debatable.

Now, SilverStone has announced a more cost-effective - and compatible - way of improving thermals of your M.2 SSD of choice, by introducing its TP01-M2 thermal pads. These pads are colored blue (because blue means cool, see?), and the company claims their usage on a Samsung SM951 SSD brought about improvements of around 15ºC in the operating temperatures, down to 71ºC from the 86ºC sans thermal pads. These go for around 5€ a pack, which comes with two 20 mm (W) x 100 mm (D), one with 0.5 mm thickness, and another with improved cooling capabilities but a greater 1.5 mm thickness.

Source: Silverstonetek

Microsoft Distances Itself from Intel - Announces ARM Cloud Server Platform

Microsoft is looking to reduce costs in its Azure cloud computing platforms for tasks like search, storage, machine learning and big data. And after having developed a version of Windows for servers that use ARM processors, in a joint work with Qualcomm and Cavium, Microsoft seems to also be looking forward to leave its dependency on Intel products as nothing but a memory. Microsoft's ARM server design, dubbed Project Olympus, looks to hardware innovations so as to reduce costs, boosting competitiveness and flexibility in regards to other big players in the cloud space, like Amazon and Alphabet. That the design is open source is also a boon to other businesses and Microsoft partners.


Though the design isn't "deployed into production yet (...) that is the next logical step," said Jason Zander, vice president of Microsoft's Azure cloud division. "This is a significant commitment on behalf of Microsoft. We wouldn't even bring something (...) if we didn't think this was a committed project and something that's part of our roadmap."

Oculus Faces Potential Legal Injunction Over Zenimax VR Code Used in its Products

Earlier this month, Zenimax was awarded $500m when a jury found that VR pioneer Oculus had violated a NDA and illegally used code from the game publisher. That may just be the beginning of the legal ramifications facing Oculus however, as Zenimax has just asked the court to block Oculus from using the code involved in the court case altogether, potentially blocking the sale of a good number of games utilizing the technology of the Oculus VR headset.

Oculus is appealing the case, and calls the prior ruling "legally flawed and factually unwarranted." To their credit, the court did agree that while Oculus had violated a non-disclosure agreement, it did not find that they had committed the larger crime of stealing trade secrets.

TrendForce Reports Global DRAM Revenue Jumped 18.2% Sequentially in Q4 2016

Peak season demand and surging prices for DRAM products across different applications resulted in an 18.2% sequential growth in the global DRAM revenue for the final quarter of 2016, reports DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce.

Smartphone shipments peaked in the fourth quarter on account of the traditional busy season. Chinese smartphone brands continued to post strong sales while Apple benefitted from the release of iPhone 7. "Rising demand for mobile DRAM kept squeezing the industry's production capacity for PC DRAM," said Avril Wu, research director of DRAMeXchange. "Contract prices of PC DRAM modules increased by more than 30% sequentially on average in the fourth quarter due to insufficient market supply. Server DRAM lagged behind PC and mobile DRAM in terms of price hike during the same period, but it is expected to catch up in the first quarter of this year."

NVM Express Elects Facebook and Toshiba to Board

NVM Express, Inc., the organization that developed the NVM Express specification for accessing solid-state drives (SSDs) on a PCI Express (PCIe) bus, today announced the results of its recent board elections. Elected to Promoter positions were Facebook, Micron, Microsoft, Samsung, Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital. Facebook and Toshiba are new to the Promoter level, and the others are incumbents. The election winners join existing Promoters Cisco, Dell EMC, Intel, Microsemi, NetApp and Oracle, whose current terms expire at the end of 2017.

Representatives from the 13 Promoter companies form the NVM Express, Inc. Board of Directors, which governs the organization, including setting strategic direction. All Contributor and Promoter member companies are eligible to run for Promoter positions, where there are elections each year for roughly half the positions.

"We're very pleased to welcome Toshiba and Facebook to the NVM Express, Inc. Board, to help shape the future direction of NVM Express technology and the organization," said Amber Huffman, NVM Express President. "In 2016, we marked major milestones, such as publishing the NVM Express over Fabrics specification. We look forward to publishing revision 1.3 in the first half of this year - with much more to come later in 2017."

AMD Files Patent Infringement Complaint Against LG, Vizio, Others

On January 24, 2017, AMD filed a complaint against several prominent tech companies, requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337. The basis for the complaint: some of these companies (namely, LG, MediaTek, VIZIO, and Sigma) unlawfully import into or sell inside the U.S. products which infringe on AMD's graphics intelectual property - namely, on U.S. Patent Nos. 7,633,506 (the '506 patent), 7,796,133 (the '133 patent) and 8,760,454 (the '454 patent) (collectively, the "asserted patents".

According to the complaint, these patents generally relate to architectures for graphics processing unit (GPU) circuitry. The '506 patent relates to "a graphics processing architecture that enables a large amount of graphics data to be rendered to a frame buffer". The '133 patent relates to specialized "texture" processing circuitry that is employed by GPUs. Lastly, the '454 patent relates to a "unified shader" hardware architecture for GPUs. The complaint specifically refers to various televisions and smartphones, specifically, towards the graphics processing systems within those televisions and smartphones - as infringing products.
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