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Innodisk Supports Healthcare Industry with Capable Medical-grade Solutions

The ongoing global health crisis is putting enormous strains on healthcare providers around the world, and has sent the demand for medical-grade equipment skyrocketing. With organizations scrambling to procure the right components, Innodisk recently provided its technical and medical sector expertise for ventilator production in China, Europe and Brazil, and doubled-down on its support of innovation in global health.

Innodisk is proud to deliver solutions used in innovative and life-saving healthcare applications such as mechanical ventilators, ultrasound systems, medical all-in-one and panel PCs, nurses' stations, and MRI machines. These medical applications put considerable demands on components that must be addressed in full by any products and solutions -- making a focus on personal data security, reliability, stability, and longevity an absolute must.

Windows 10 Market Share Drops Between March and April

Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system has historically been rising in market share thanks to the slow depreciation of Windows 7 OS, and Microsoft's efforts to push it as only Windows OS available for desktop users. However, according to the information by NetMarketShare, a company providing statistics about the market share of Internet Technologies (browsers and OSes), Windows 10 has seen a decrease in market share. This news is a surprising discovery, given that the OS is expected to be gaining new market share slowly, given that Windows 7 has reached the end of life in January.

From 57.37% of market share in February, Windows 10 got down to 57.34% in March and 56.08% in April. While this may seem just like a few percentage decrease, given the massive amount of PCs available, it can be counted in thousands. What could be the reason behind this is the current COVID-19 related pandemic and slower demand for office PCs, as everyone is working from home now. This was a big growth sector for Windows 10 as the previous version of Windows, the 7, was very popular in office space before its EoL. Of course, this is just a speculation which you should take with a big grain of salt. Some of the interesting things to point out is that Ubuntu, a Linux kernel based operating system, has massively increased its market share from 0.27% in March to 1.89% in April.
Microsoft Windows 10

Researchers Propose New Density Metric for Semiconductor Technology

In today's world, fabrication process identification of semiconductor technology has become little more than marketing fluff. Whereas not that long ago, fabrication processes could (mostly) be directly compared on the basis of transistor density (ie, 300 nm, 32 nm, 14 nm, and now 7 nm), recent advances in manufacturing technologies and their end terminology have lost all significance when it comes to actually describe how density that process is. The way manufacturers measured this semiconductor density used to directly refer to the minimum gate length in transistors fabricated in a given process - that, is, in 300 nm, the minimum gate length that could be achieved was 300 nanometers, in 32 nm, 32 nanometres, and so on. As of now, that isn't happening - which is why we've got Intel saying that its 10 nm fabrication process will be comparable to TSMC's current 7 nm process.

This leads to a number of difficulties for interested parties to actually glean any meaningful information from this particular semiconductor metric alone. Now, a team of researchers has tackled this problem by suggesting a different way to express semiconductor manufacturing capability. Their intention is to allow to "gauge advances in future generations of semiconductor technologies in a holistic way, by accounting for the progress in logic, memory, and packaging/integration technologies simultaneously." As such, their proposed density metric follows a [DL, DM, DC] philosophy, where DL is the density of logic transistors (in #/mm²), DM is the bit density of main memory (currently the off-chip DRAM density, in #/mm²), and DC is the density of connections between the main memory and logic (in #/mm²). The researchers say that current top semiconductor technology density available would be described by this system as [38M, 383M, 12K].

U.S. Further Tightens Tech Export Regulations for China

The United States Government on Monday announced a new set of rules for U.S. companies exporting technology to Chinese firms directly or indirectly associated with the Chinese military, according to a Reuters report. The vagueness of what constitutes a Chinese entity that could supply derived technology over to the military could create confusion and uncertainty.

The new trade regime would see U.S. companies requiring to obtain a license to export technology to China. The U.S. also did away with exceptions to older rules that allowed U.S. firms to export to civilian Chinese companies without a license. "It is important to consider the ramifications of doing business with countries that have histories of diverting goods purchased from U.S. companies for military applications," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. The new rules will also require U.S. companies to file declarations of goods exported to China, Russia, and Venezuela, regardless of value.

Khronos Group Releases OpenCL 3.0

Today, The Khronos Group, an open consortium of industry-leading companies creating advanced interoperability standards, publicly releases the OpenCL 3.0 Provisional Specifications. OpenCL 3.0 realigns the OpenCL roadmap to enable developer-requested functionality to be broadly deployed by hardware vendors, and it significantly increases deployment flexibility by empowering conformant OpenCL implementations to focus on functionality relevant to their target markets. OpenCL 3.0 also integrates subgroup functionality into the core specification, ships with a new OpenCL C 3.0 language specification, uses a new unified specification format, and introduces extensions for asynchronous data copies to enable a new class of embedded processors. The provisional OpenCL 3.0 specifications enable the developer community to provide feedback on GitHub before the specifications and conformance tests are finalized.
OpenCL

Apple's A12Z SoC Features the Same A12X Silicon

With an introduction of new iPad Pro tablets, Apple has brought another new silicon to its offerings in the form of A12Z SoC. Following the previous king in tablet space, the A12X SoC, Apple has decided to update its silicon and now there is another, more advanced stepping in form of an A12Z SoC. Thanks to the report from TechInsights, their analysis has shown that the new SoC used in Apple's devices is pretty much the same compared to the A12X SoC of last year, except the GPU used. Namely, the configuration of A12X is translated into the A12Z - there are four Apple Vortex and four Apple Tempest cores for the CPU. There is a 128-bit memory bus designed for LPDDR4X memory, the same as the A12X.

What is different, however, is the GPU cluster configuration. In A12X there was a cluster filled with 7 working and one disabled A12-gen GPU core. In A12Z SoC all of the 8 GPUs present are enabled and working, and they are also of the same A12 generation. The new SoC is even built using the same N7 7 nm manufacturing process from TSMC. While we don't know the silicon stepping revision of the A12Z, there aren't any new features besides the additional GPU core.
Apple A12Z Bionic

Ethernet Technology Consortium Announces 800 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) Specification

The 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium, originally established to develop 25, 50 and 100 Gbps Ethernet specifications, announced today it has changed its name to the Ethernet Technology Consortium in order to reflect a new focus on higher-speed Ethernet technologies.

The goal of the consortium is to enhance the Ethernet specification to operate at new speeds by utilizing specifications that are developed or in development. This allows the organization to work alongside other industry groups and standards bodies to adapt Ethernet at a pace that aligns with the rapidly evolving needs of the industry. The ETC has more than 45 members with top-level promoter members that include Arista, Broadcom, Cisco, Dell, Google, Mellanox and Microsoft.

AMD Cancels StoreMI Technology, Replacement Coming Soon

AMD today updated its Product Change Advisory with notes that its StoreMI software won't be available for download anymore. "AMD has decided to end-of-life the current version of the StoreMI technology, and effective March 31, 2020, AMD will no longer make this technology available for download on AMD.com. End users who download the current version of the StoreMI technology prior to March 31, 2020 may continue to use it thereafter (i.e. it will not be deactivated) but AMD will no longer provide any technical or end user support. Instead, AMD will focus its internal development resources on a replacement solution with a rearchitected feature set and a planned release window of 2Q20." - says the AMD Product Change Advisory website.

AMD's StoreMI technology offered users an option to combine up to 256 GB of SSD memory with a slower HDD, to provide "SSD like speeds with HDD like capacity", and it was supported from the second generation Ryzen processors until the current third generation, Ryzen 3000 series CPUs. Given that AMD is working on a replacement solution that is coming out in Q2, we expect that the new solution will be a better and more usable one, so we will report on it as soon as there is more information.
AMD StoreMI

Everspin Technologies and GLOBALFOUNDRIES Extend MRAM Joint Development Agreement to 12nm

Everspin Technologies, Inc., the world's leading developer and manufacturer of Magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM), today announced an amendment of its Spin-transfer Torque (STT-MRAM) joint development agreement (JDA) with GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF ), the world's leading specialty foundry. Everspin and GF have been partners on 40 nm, 28 nm, and 22 nm STT-MRAM development and manufacturing processes and have now updated their agreement to set the terms for a future project on an advanced 12 nm FinFET MRAM solution. Everspin is in production of discrete STT-MRAM solutions on 40 and 28 nm, including its award winning 1 Gb DDR4 device. GF recently announced it has achieved initial production of embedded MRAM (eMRAM) on its 22FDX platform.

AMD Ryzen ThreadRipper is Capable of Running Crysis without a GPU

AMD has just recently launched its 3rd generation of Ryzen ThreadRipper CPUs, and it is already achieving some impressive stuff. In the world of PC gaming, there used to be a question whenever a new GPU arrives - "But can it run Crysis?". This question became meme over the years as GPU outgrew requirements for the Crysis game, and any GPU nowadays is capable of running the game. However, have you ever wondered if your CPU can run Crysis, alone without a GPU? Me neither, but Linus from LinusTechTips taught of that.

The CPU, of course, can not run any game, as it lacks the hardware for graphics output, but being that AMD's ThreadRipper 3990X, a 64 core/128 thread monster has raw compute power capable of running Crysis, it can process the game. Running in software mode, Linus got the CPU to process the game and run it without any help from a GPU. This alone is a massive achievement for AMD ThreadRipper, as it shows that CPUs reached a point where their raw computing power is on pair with some older GPU and that we can achieve a lot of interesting things. You can watch the video down below.

Intel Board of Directors Elects New Chairman and New Director

Intel Corporation announced today that at the company's Jan. 15 board meeting Andy D. Bryant stepped down as chairman and the board elected lead independent director Dr. Omar Ishrak to succeed Bryant as an independent chairman, effective immediately. Intel also announced that Alyssa Henry was elected to Intel's board. Her election marks the seventh new independent director added to Intel's board since the beginning of 2016.

Bryant will remain on the board through the end of Intel's 2020 annual stockholders' meeting. He had previously notified the board in March 2019 that he did not intend to stand for re-election at this year's meeting. Bryant made the decision to leave the role now in order to facilitate an effective transition.

AMD and Industry Partners to Develop New Blockchain-based Gaming Platforms

AMD today announced that it has joined the Blockchain Game Alliance (BGA) and forged partnerships with leading technology providers to help promote the development and proliferation of new blockchain-powered gaming platforms.

The Blockchain Game Alliance is committed to driving awareness and adoption of blockchain technologies within the game industry, providing an open forum for individuals and companies to share knowledge and collaborate, create common standards, establish best practices, and network. As the first major hardware manufacturer to join the BGA, AMD plans to enable alliance members with efficient and high-performance computing technologies for next-generation blockchain-based gaming platforms that could potentially transform the way games are created, published, purchased and played.

Intel RealSense Lidar Camera Technology Redefines Computer Vision

Today, Intel announced the Intel RealSense lidar camera L515, the world's smallest and most power-efficient, high-resolution lidar that captures millions of depth points per second. Designed with proprietary technology that creates entirely new ways to incorporate lidar into smart devices to perceive the world in 3D, the L515 provides high-quality performance and millimeter accuracy to products that require vision capabilities.

"Intel RealSense technology is used to develop products that enrich people's lives by enabling machines and devices to perceive the world in 3D. With the L515 depth camera, we are excited to bring high-resolution lidar performance to markets previously inaccessible to this technology."
-Sagi BenMoshe, corporate vice president, Intel RealSense Group

Panasonic Exits Silicon Manufacturing Business

Panasonic, an electronics manufacturing giant, has today sold its silicon manufacturing business, marking the end of an era of Japanese semiconductor manufacturing. Once a big player in silicon manufacturing scene, particularly in the '80s and '90s era when Japan's silicon output was huge, Panasonic was considered one of the main players in the silicon manufacturing business. However, due to some difficulties like operating a business with a loss of over $215 million yearly, and having to compete with Chinese and Taiwanese silicon manufacturing firms, Panasonic is selling its silicon production lines.

The subsidiary of Panasonic called "Semiconductors Solutions" is being sold to Nuvoton Technology Corporation, a semiconductor company that spun-off from Winbond Electronics Corporation in 2008, where Winbond still owns 61% stake in Nuvoton despite the spinoff. Additionally, Panasonic forecasts a 27% drop in operating profit for this physical year, with the declining semiconductor manufacturing business counted. The reasoning behind this sale is that the company plans to exit all declining businesses that also include LCD manufacturing, as Chinese alternative manufacturers are stiff competition for Panasonic when it comes to pricing and panel output.

China Starts Production of Domestic DRAM Chips

China's semiconductor industry is seeking independence in every sector of its industry, with an emphasis of homemade products for domestic use, especially government facilities, where usage of homegrown products is most desirable. According to the report of China Securities Journal, Chinese firm has started production of DRAM memory.

A company named ChangXin Memory Technology, founded in 2016 to boost domestic silicon production, on Monday started production of DRAM memory, aiming to directly replace the current supply of foreign memory from companies like Micron, SK Hynix and Samsung. Being build using 18 nm technology which ChangXin calls "10-nanometer class" node, this DRAM chip isn't too far behind offers from competitors it tries to replace. Micron, Samsung and SK Hynix use 12, 14, and 16 nm nodes for production of their DRAM chips, so Chinese efforts so far are very good. The company promises to produce around 120.000 wafers per month and plans to deliver first chips by the end of this year.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Introduces 12LP+ FinFET Solution for Cloud and Edge AI Applications

GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF), the world's leading specialty foundry, announced today at its Global Technology Conference the availability of 12LP+, an innovative new solution for AI training and inference applications. 12LP+ offers chip designers a best-in-class combination of performance, power and area, along with a set of key new features, a mature design and production ecosystem, cost-efficient development and fast time-to-market for high-growth cloud and edge AI applications.

Derived from GF's existing 12nm Leading Performance (12LP) platform, GF's new 12LP+ provides either a 20% increase in performance or a 40% reduction in power requirements over the base 12LP platform, plus a 15% improvement in logic area scaling. A key feature is a high-speed, low-power 0.5 V SRAM bit cell that supports the fast, power-efficient shuttling of data between processors and memory, an important requirement for AI applications in the computing and wired infrastructure markets.

Micron Commences Volume Production of 1z Nanometer DRAM Process Node

Micron Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: MU), today announced advancements in DRAM scaling, making Micron the first memory company to begin mass production of 16 Gb DDR4 products using 1z nm process technology

"Development and mass production of the industry's smallest feature size DRAM node are a testament to Micron's world-class engineering and manufacturing capabilities, especially at a time when DRAM scaling is becoming extremely complex," said Scott DeBoer, executive vice president of Technology Development for Micron Technology. "Being first to market strongly positions us to continue offering high-value solutions across a wide portfolio of end customer applications."

Sharkoon Monitor Stand PURE & POWER

Sharkoon Technologies is an international supplier of PC components and peripherals, offering performance at a reasonable price. Sharkoon now presents its new monitor stands, which are available in two versions: the PURE and the POWER. At first glance, both versions appear the same. A closer look, however, reveals their differences in features: The PURE version creates extra storage space available under the monitor, while, in addition to this, the POWER version also offers a USB hub and a wireless charging station.

Intel's CEO Blames 10 nm Delay on being "Too Aggressive"

During Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado, Intel's CEO Bob Swan took stage and talked about the company, about where Intel is now and where they are headed in the future and how the company plans to evolve. Particular focus was put on how Intel became "data centric" from "PC centric," and the struggles it encountered.

However, when asked about the demise of Moore's Law, Swan detailed the aggressiveness that they approached the challenge with. Instead of the regular two times improvement in transistor density every two years, Swan said that Intel has always targeted better and greater densities so that it would stay the leader in the business.

AMD Halts Further x86 Technology Licensing to China

AMD Lisa Su at Computex 2019 confirmed to Tom's hardware that the company wasn't licensing anymore of its x86 IP portfolio to China-based companies. AMD entered a technology license agreement with China's Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Co. Ltd. (THATIC) in 2016. As part of the agreement to license its x86 and SoC IP for chip development, AMD received a cash infusion worth $293 million (plus royalties).

As a result, Chinese chipmaker Hygon started delivering their "Dhyana" CPUs, which looked like copies of AMD's Zen-based Epyc chips with added, Chinese-government approved cryptographic capabilities. AMD had to go through some hoops to get this deal done, but it did. However, now the technology refinement pipe is draining for the Chinese companies, as AMD won't be delivering its post-Zen updates to the core design. It remains to be seen if AMD's intellectual property was enough for Chinese companies to ignite their own in-country CPU development, or if the ongoing US-China trade war will keep on draining the company of CPU independence.

Microsoft Advocates for Tighter Governmental Regulation of the Tech Sector With "Strong Enforcement Provisions"

Microsoft's Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Julie Brill in a blog post this Monday shared her - and Microsoft's - thoughts on regulation and its relationship to the tech sector. Julie Brill commented on the GDPR implementation originating in Europe, and how that could and should serve as a de facto standard of regulation that forces companies to steer away from the self-accountability on which they have remained for so long - and on which, paraphrasing Apple's own Tim Cook, "There are now too many examples where the no rails have resulted in great damage to society."

Microsoft feels that if left to self-regulation, companies won't do as mucha s they could in the pursuit of privacy and their consumers' rights as they would with a strong enforcement regime being planned and implemented at the governmental level. Of course, I think most of us agree with this at a fundamental level. However, there should also exist some defensive measures around the design and implementation of such governmental measures, such as, for one, no interference from corporations in the regulatory process. These should only serve as consultants, to prevent any ideas of bending the regulations in their behalf, and a pervasive strategy that accounts for both small businesses and huge corporation should also be key. We should remember that while the likes of Microsoft Apple, for example, should have relative ease in updating their practices and implementing regulation-required systems, other, smaller players could either live or die in their capability to quickly adapt to the new requirements. Snuffing out competition to the big companies by enforcing heavy penalties might not be the best road. What do you think? More regulation or self-regulation?
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