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Samsung and Ericsson Sign Global Patent License Agreement

Ericsson and Samsung have reached a multi-year agreement on global patent licenses between the two companies, including patents relating to all cellular technologies. The cross-license agreement covers sales of network infrastructure and handsets from January 1, 2021. Furthermore, Ericsson and Samsung have agreed on technology cooperation projects to advance the mobile industry in open standardization and create valuable solutions for consumers and enterprises.

This settlement ends complaints filed by both companies before the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) as well as the ongoing lawsuits in several countries and confirms the value of the strong patent portfolios of both companies. The details of the agreement are confidential and will not be disclosed. Ericsson's IPR licensing revenues continue to be affected by several factors, mainly expired patent license agreements pending renewal, geopolitical impact on the handset market, technology shift from 4G to 5G, and possible currency effects going forward. In the second quarter 2021, IPR licensing revenues, including the new agreement covering sales from January 1, 2021, are expected to be SEK 2.0 b to 2.5 b.

Christina Petersson, Chief Intellectual Property Officer at Ericsson says: "We are delighted to sign a mutually beneficial agreement with Samsung. This important deal confirms the value of our patent portfolio and further illustrates Ericsson's commitment to FRAND principles."

Samsung to Replace Intel as Top Semiconductor Supplier in Q2-2021: IC Insights

Samsung Electronics is expected to regain the distinction of the top semiconductor supplier for the 2nd quarter of 2021, re-taking the lead from Intel, according to a report by market research firm IC Insights. Samsung's growth rides on the back of a resurgent memory market, as the company supplies both DRAM and NAND flash of various types. This is also helped by the fact that Intel's sales in are expected to remain flat around the same period of time. This would be Samsung's return to the top spot for the first time since 2018, when memory prices crashed, sending down production, in a bid to better allow the channel to digest existing inventory.

Samsung Announces Availability of Its Next Generation 2.5D Integration Solution I-Cube4 for High-Performance Applications

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced the immediate availability of its next-generation 2.5D packaging technology Interposer-Cube4 (I-Cube4), leading the evolution of chip packaging technology once again. Samsung's I-CubeTM is a heterogeneous integration technology that horizontally places one or more logic dies (CPU, GPU, etc.) and several High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) dies on top of a silicon interposer, making multiple dies operate as a single chip in one package.

Samsung's new I-Cube4, which incorporates four HBMs and one logic die, was developed in March as the successor of I-Cube2. From high-performance computing (HPC) to AI, 5G, cloud and large data center applications, I-Cube4 is expected to bring another level of fast communication and power efficiency between logic and memory through heterogeneous integration.

Samsung Announces Galaxy Book Pro Series Laptops

Samsung Electronics today unveiled the Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360, the new generation of mobile computing devices that bring together powerful performance with the mobile DNA of a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. Based on the enhanced Galaxy ecosystem, Galaxy Book Pro and Book Pro 360 work seamlessly with your other Galaxy and IoT devices, making workflow and entertainment across devices smoother—and making life easier. As a staple for the Galaxy Book Pro series, Samsung embraced open collaboration, working with industry-leading partners Intel and Microsoft, to build a new approach to mobile computing, where smartphones and PCs work together flawlessly across operating systems and never sacrifice performance for portability.

Samsung Announces PM1653 SAS-4 Enterprise SSD

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced its launch of the industry's highest performing 24G SAS (SAS-4) SSD - the PM1653. Based on the latest SAS interface, the new drive can support twice the speed of the previous 12G SAS-3 generation. The PM1653 is also the industry's first 24G SAS SSD made with sixth-generation (1xx-layer) V-NAND chips, enabling storage capacities from 800 GB to 30.72 TB for advanced enterprise server systems.

"As the leading provider of SAS storage for a decade, Samsung has been offering the most advanced and reliable enterprise solutions in full support of the critical workloads of global server OEMs, governments and financial institutions. Samsung enterprise solutions are also accredited by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology for the most powerful data security," said Kwangil Park, senior vice president of the Memory Product Planning Team at Samsung Electronics. "Like we have done with the PM1653, Samsung will continue to collaborate with our customers to accommodate the ever-growing demand of the enterprise server market for the most uncompromising offerings available."

Foundry Revenue Projected to Reach Historical High of US$94.6 Billion in 2021 Thanks to High 5G/HPC/End-Device Demand, Says TrendForce

As the global economy enters the post-pandemic era, technologies including 5G, WiFi6/6E, and HPC (high-performance computing) have been advancing rapidly, in turn bringing about a fundamental, structural change in the semiconductor industry as well, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. While the demand for certain devices such as notebook computers and TVs underwent a sharp uptick due to the onset of the stay-at-home economy, this demand will return to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic has been brought under control as a result of the global vaccination drive. Nevertheless, the worldwide shift to next-gen telecommunication standards has brought about a replacement demand for telecom and networking devices, and this demand will continue to propel the semiconductor industry, resulting in high capacity utilization rates across the major foundries. As certain foundries continue to expand their production capacities this year, TrendForce expects total foundry revenue to reach a historical high of US$94.6 billion this year, an 11% growth YoY.

Samsung Develops Industry's First HKMG-Based DDR5 Memory; Ideal for Bandwidth-Intensive Advanced Computing Applications

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has expanded its DDR5 DRAM memory portfolio with the industry's first 512 GB DDR5 module based on High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process technology. Delivering more than twice the performance of DDR4 at up to 7,200 megabits per second (Mbps), the new DDR5 will be capable of orchestrating the most extreme compute-hungry, high-bandwidth workloads in supercomputing, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), as well as data analytics applications.

"Samsung is the only semiconductor company with logic and memory capabilities and the expertise to incorporate HKMG cutting-edge logic technology into memory product development," said Young-Soo Sohn, Vice President of the DRAM Memory Planning/Enabling Group at Samsung Electronics. "By bringing this type of process innovation to DRAM manufacturing, we are able to offer our customers high-performance, yet energy-efficient memory solutions to power the computers needed for medical research, financial markets, autonomous driving, smart cities and beyond."

Samsung Launches New High-Resolution 2021 Monitor Lineup

Samsung Electronics today announced its new full lineup of 2021 High-Resolution monitors. This year's portfolio delivers life-like picture quality and enhanced convenience with advanced ergonomic design, making it the perfect complement for any workspace or at-home setup. Designed to meet the needs of today's businesses and consumers who require excellent picture quality and comfortable, ergonomic design, Samsung offers 12 different High-Resolution monitors across three series - the S8, S7 and S6. All models deliver more than 1 billion colors for a vivid and vibrant image, enhanced by HDR 10 technology. The displays feature color vividness and clarity through a 178-degree wide viewing angle designed for professional work environments, delivering an uncompromising viewing experience from any angle.

Additionally, all monitors are Intelligent Eye Care certified from TÜV Rheinland, the first in the industry to receive this recognition. Adaptive Picture eye care technology optimizes picture quality for any viewing environment by automatically adjusting brightness and color temperature in response to room conditions. This ensures the most comfortable viewing experience in any environment, reducing eye strain even after extended use. The monitors also feature a special eye-saver mode to reduce blue light emissions which can cause eye strain, and Flicker Free, protecting the user's eyes from any flickering on the screen.

Intel Teases Xe HPG Gaming Graphics Architecture

Intel Graphics tweeted a marketing splash screen of its upcoming Xe HPG gaming discrete graphics architecture. There's not much to the video, except announcing the Xe HPG logo. It starts off with a depiction of the Xe LP architecture, on which the company's Gen12 iGPUs and Iris Xe MAX entry-level discrete GPUs are based; and swells into a larger silicon that grows in all directions. The animation could be a hint that Xe HPG chips will be an order of magnitude faster than the Iris Xe MAX, target serious gaming, and take the fight to both NVIDIA and AMD.

Intel is designing the Xe HPG graphics architecture for third-party silicon fabrication nodes, such as TSMC and Samsung, and could leverage a sub-10 nm node to significantly scale up from the Xe LP. A recent report pointed to the likelihood of 512 execution units on a certain Xe HPG variant (4,096 unified shaders) and contemporary GDDR6 memory, while Intel has the necessary IP to pull off DirectX 12 Ultimate logo readiness, including raytracing. Intel is likely eyeing a slice of the e-sports hardware segment, although a high-end GPU cannot be completely ruled out. Watch the video from the source link below.

NAND Flash Contract Prices Projected to Increase by 3-8% QoQ in 2Q21 Due to Easing of Oversupply, Says TrendForce

With Samsung, YMTC, SK Hynix, and Intel leading the charge, NAND Flash suppliers will maintain an aggressive effort to expand their production capacities throughout 2Q21, during which NAND Flash bit output will likely increase by nearly 10% QoQ, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. On the other hand, orders from PC OEMs and Chinese smartphone brands since 1Q21, as well as recovering procurement activities from clients in the data center segment during 2Q21, will generate upward momentum propelling NAND Flash bit demand. Furthermore, buyers are actively stocking up on finished products, such as SSDs and eMMC, due to persistently limited NAND Flash controller supply. TrendForce therefore expects NAND Flash contract prices to increase by an average of 3-8% QoQ in 2Q21 after experiencing a 5-10% decline QoQ in 1Q21. In particular, as Samsung's Line S2 fab in Austin has yet to resume full operation after the Texas winter storm, the supply of NAND Flash controllers going forward may be at risk, and Samsung's ability to manufacture client SSDs will be further constrained as a result. In light of these factors, TrendForce is not ruling out the possibility that NAND Flash contract prices may increase by even more than current forecasts.

Samsung Demonstrates 256 Gb 3 nm MBCFET Chip at ISSCC 2021

During the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), Samsung Foundry has presented a new step towards smaller and more efficient nodes. The new chip that was presented is a 256 Gb memory chip, based on SRAM technology. However, all of that doesn't sound interesting, until we mention the technology that is behind it. Samsung has for the first time manufactured a chip using the company's gate-all-around field-effect transistor (GAAFET) technology on the 3 nm semiconductor node. Formally, there are two types of GAAFET technology: the regular GAAFET that uses nanowires as fins of the transistor, and MBCFET (multi-bridge channel FET) that uses thicker fins that come in a form of a nanosheet.

Samsung has demonstrated the first SRAM chip that uses MBCFET technology today. The chip in question is a 256 Gb chip with an area of 56 mm². The achievement Samsung is proud of is that the chip uses 230 mV less power for writes, compared to the standard approach, as the MBCFET transistors allow the company to have many different power-saving techniques. The new 3 nm MBCFET process is expected to get into high-volume production sometime in 2022, however, we are yet to see demos of logic chips besides SRAM like we see today. Nonetheless, even the demonstration of SRAM is big progress, and we are eager to see what the company manages to build with the new technology.

Prices of Client SSDs for Notebook Computers to Enter Early Uptrend in 2Q21 with 3-8% Increase QoQ, Says TrendForce

Demand for notebook computers is expected to remain strong throughout 2Q21 due to the persisting stay-at-home economy that arose in the wake of the pandemic, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In response to the high demand for notebooks, PC OEMs are actively raising a consistent inventory of components, including client SSDs. Nonetheless, client SSDs are now in increasingly tight supply because the preexisting shortage of NAND Flash controllers is now exacerbated by the power outage at Samsung's Austin-based semiconductor plant. SSD manufacturers are therefore preparing to raise the prices of SSDs. Accordingly, TrendForce has also revised up its forecast of client SSD prices for 2Q21 from "mostly flat" to a 3-8% increase QoQ instead.

Samsung Announces 980 NVMe PCIe 3.0 DRAM-less SSD

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced the 980 NVMe SSD, the company's first consumer drive without DRAM. Delivering the highest performance among DRAM-less SSDs, the new 980 makes blazing NVMe speeds more accessible to a wider range of users. Previously, DRAM-less designs have presented a disadvantage in speed without the short-term memory at hand for fast access to data.

Samsung's 980 utilizes Host Memory Buffer (HMB) technology, which links the drive directly to the host processor's DRAM to overcome any performance drawbacks. This technology, coupled with the company's latest sixth-generation V-NAND as well as optimized controller and firmware, enables the 980 to provide NVMe performance with six times the speed of SATA SSDs. Sequential read and write speeds come in at up to 3,500 and 3,000 MB/s, while random read and write performances are rated as high as 500K IOPS and 480K IOPS, respectively.

Samsung 980 is a Cost-Effective, DRAM-less PCIe Gen 3.0 M.2 SSD

In a move that could confuse some of the lesser informed buyers, Samsung is ready with the new 980 M.2 NVMe SSD (not to be confused with the 980 PRO). Unlike the 980 PRO, the 980 is a cost-effective drive that uses PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface, and a DRAM-less controller. Luckily, Samsung didn't take the QLC route with these drives, as they feature 136-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory of the same kind used in the 980 PRO.

The Samsung 980 offers sequential transfer speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s reads, with up to 3,000 MB/s writes, and comes in capacities of 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB. It offers 4K random access performance in the neighborhood of 500,000 IOPS reads (4K, QD32), with up to 480,000 IOPS random writes (4K, QD1). Samsung is expected to formally launch the 980 on March 30, 2021.

Next-Gen Nintendo Switch Rumored to Feature 7" 720p OLED Screen & Docked 4K DLSS 2.0 TV Support

Nintendo is reportedly preparing to unveil an updated Nintendo Switch console later this year featuring a larger Samsung OLED display. The upcoming model is rumored to feature a 7-inch 720p rigid OLED screen from Samsung Display Co with an initial monthly production target of just under one million units. The screen would be significantly larger than the 6.2-inch screen currently found on the Switch, if Nintendo is to keep the same form-factor the bezels will be significantly thinner. The new model is also likely to feature an upgraded NVIDIA Tegra chip with support for 4K DLSS 2.0 when docked, this will introduce further difficulty for developers who have struggled with the difference between resolutions.

DRAM Revenue for 4Q20 Undergoes Modest 1.1% Increase QoQ in Light of Continued Rising Shipment and Falling Prices, Says TrendForce

Global DRAM revenue reached US$17.65 billion, a 1.1% increase YoY, in 4Q20, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. For the most part, this growth took place because Chinese smartphone brands, including Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi, expanded their procurement activities for components in order to seize the market shares made available after Huawei was added to the Entity List by the U.S. Department of Commerce. These procurement activities in turn provided upward momentum for DRAM suppliers' bit shipment. However, clients in the server segment were still in the middle of inventory adjustments during this period, thereby placing downward pressure on DRAM prices. As a result, revenues of most DRAM suppliers, except for Micron, remained somewhat unchanged in 4Q20 compared to 3Q20. Micron underwent a noticeable QoQ decline in 4Q20 (which Micron counts as its fiscal 1Q21), since Micron had fewer work weeks during this period compared to the previous quarter.

Samsung Announces Odyssey G9 2021 Monitor with Quantum MiniLED Technology

Samsung has recently announced their latest flagship gaming monitor the Samsung Odyssey G9 2021. The new Odyssey G9 is the successor to the original monitor by the same name which was released by Samsung in June 2020. The monitor is the first from the company to feature their Quantum MiniLED technology which will greatly improve peak brightness levels. The Odyssey G9 2021 will reportedly be able to reach a peak brightness of 2,000 nits when displaying HDR content. The monitor retains its 49" size, 1000R curvature, 240 Hz refresh rate, 1 ms response time, and 5,120 x 1,440 resolution. Pricing and availability for the new monitor are currently unknown however we would expect the price to remain near the 1699 USD RRP of the original.

TSMC to Start 3 nm Node Production This Year

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the leading provider of semiconductors, is supposed to start 3 nm node production this year. While Samsung, one of the top three leading semiconductor foundries, has been struggling with the pandemic and delayed its 3 nm node for 2022, TSMC has managed to deliver it this year. According to a report, the Taiwanese semiconductor giant is preparing the 3 nm node for the second half of this year, with the correct date of high-volume product unknown. The expected wafer capacity for the new node is supposed to be around 30,000 wafers per month, with capacity expansion expected to hit around 105,000 wafers per month in 2023. This is similar to 5 nm's current numbers of 105,000 wafers per month output, which was 90,000 just a few months ago in Q4 2020. One of the biggest customers of the upcoming 3 nm node is Apple.

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.

Samsung is Preparing Exynos SoC with Radeon GPU for Next-Generation PCs

In 2019, AMD and Samsung have announced that they will be joining forces to develop a new class of mobile SoCs, carrying the Exynos name and having a Radeon GPU inside. These Exynos SoCs could be used for almost everything that needs a low-power processor. While the original plan was to have these processors run inside Samsung's mobile phone offerings, it seems like there is another application for them. If the rumors coming from ZDNet Korea are correct, we are in for a surprise. According to the source, Samsung is preparing to use the Exynos SoC with Radeon graphics in the company's next-generation laptops lineup.

While there is little to no information regarding the specifications of the said system, we can expect it to be a fully Samsung-made laptop. That means that Samsung will provide display, RAM, storage, battery, and other components manufactured by the company or its divisions. This laptop is expected to replace Samsung's Galaxy Book S, which currently uses Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx SoC. The new PC is going to be Windows 10 based system. For more details, we have to wait for the announcement.

Samsung Begins Mass Production of Data Center SSD Customized for Hyperscale

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has begun mass producing its most advanced line of data center SSDs, the PM9A3 E1.S.

The new PM9A3 fully complies with the Open Compute Project (OCP) NVMe Cloud SSD Specification to satisfy the rigorous demands of enterprise workloads. Defined by leading data center providers including Facebook, the OCP Specification is a set of unified interoperable standards, enabling SSD vendors to work toward next-generation storage designs with much more effectiveness.

"Rocket Lake" Offers 11% Higher PCIe Gen4 NVMe Storage Performance: Intel

Intel claims that its upcoming 11th Gen Core "Rocket Lake-S" desktop processors offer up to 11% higher storage performance than competing AMD Ryzen 5000 processors, when using the CPU-attached M.2 NVMe slot. A performance slide released by Intel's Ryan Shrout shows a Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB PCI-Express 4.0 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD performance on a machine powered by a Core i9-11900K processor, compared to one powered by an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X. PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark is used to evaluate storage performance on both machines. On both machines a separate drive is used as the OS/boot drive, and the Samsung 980 PRO is used as a test drive, free from any OS role.

The backup page for the slide provides details of the system configurations used for both machines. What it doesn't mention, however, is whether on the AMD machine, the 980 PRO was installed on the CPU-attached M.2 NVMe slot, or one that's attached to the AMD X570 chipset. Unlike the Intel Z590, the AMD X570 puts out downstream PCI-Express 4.0, which motherboard designers can use to put out additional NVMe Gen 4 slots. On the Intel Z590 motherboard, the M.2 NVMe Gen 4 slot the drive was tested on is guaranteed to be the CPU-attached one, as the Z590 PCH puts out PCIe Gen 3 downstream lanes. A PCI-Express 4.0 x4 link is used as chipset bus on the AMD X570, offering comparable bandwidth to the DMI 3.0 x8 (PCI-Express 3.0 x8) employed on the Intel Z590. A drive capable of attaining 7 GB/s sequential transfers should be in a sub-optimal situation on a chipset-attached M.2 slot. It would be nice if Intel clears this up in an update to its backup.

Update 02:51 UTC: In response to a specific question on Twitter, on whether the drives were tested on CPU-attached M.2 slots on both platforms, Ryan Shrout stated that a PCI-Express AIC riser card was used on both platforms to ensure that the drives are CPU-attached. 11% is a significant storage performance uplift on offer.

Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales Declined 5% in Fourth Quarter of 2020

Global sales of smartphones to end users declined 5.4% in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to Gartner, Inc. Smartphone sales declined 12.5% in full year 2020.

"The sales of more 5G smartphones and lower-to-mid-tier smartphones minimized the market decline in the fourth quarter of 2020," said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. "Even as consumers remained cautious in their spending and held off on some discretionary purchases, 5G smartphones and pro-camera features encouraged some end users to purchase new smartphones or upgrade their current smartphones in the quarter."

Manufacturing: Samsung Semiconductor Fabs in Texas Shut Down Following State-wide Power Shortages

News just keep flowing that are bound to have impact on pricing for components users of this website know and love. The Austin-American Statesman reports that Samsung has been ordered to shutter its Texas factories in wake of recent power shortages that have impacted the state. The order, which came from Austin Energy, doesn't just affect Samsung: all industrial and semiconductor manufacturers in the state were ordered to idle or shut down their facilities, meaning that NXP Semiconductors and Infineon Semiconductors have also been affected. According to Austin Energy, all companies have complied with the order. A date for the lifting of these restrictions still hasn't been given.

As we know, semiconductor manufacturing is a drawn-out process, with some particular wafers taking several months in their journey from initial fabrication until they reach completion. This meas that it's a particularly sensitive business in regards to power outages or general service interruptions. The entire semiconductor manufacturing lines - and products therein, in various stages of production - can be rendered unusable due to these events, which will have a sizable impact in the final manufacturing output of a given factory. It remains to be seen the scale of this production impact, but a few percentage points difference in the overall global semiconductor manufacturing could have dire implications for availability and pricing, considering the already insufficient operational capacity in regards to demand. Considering the impact adverse temperatures are having on Texas residents, here's hoping for the quick resolution of these problems, which affect much more than just semiconductor manufacturing capabilities.

Samsung Develops Industry's First High Bandwidth Memory with AI Processing Power

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has developed the industry's first High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) integrated with artificial intelligence (AI) processing power—the HBM-PIM. The new processing-in-memory (PIM) architecture brings powerful AI computing capabilities inside high-performance memory, to accelerate large-scale processing in data centers, high performance computing (HPC) systems and AI-enabled mobile applications.

Kwangil Park, senior vice president of Memory Product Planning at Samsung Electronics stated, "Our groundbreaking HBM-PIM is the industry's first programmable PIM solution tailored for diverse AI-driven workloads such as HPC, training and inference. We plan to build upon this breakthrough by further collaborating with AI solution providers for even more advanced PIM-powered applications."
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