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EMEA Gaming PC Market Set to Stay Strong in 2021, Despite Component Shortage, Says IDC

The Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) market for gaming PCs posted another quarter of solid growth in 2021Q2, growing 10.8% YoY and recording 2.5 million units shipped, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). Approaching the end of 2021, growth is expected to continue, albeit at a lower rate than in recent quarters. 2021Q3 is predicted to grow at 6.1% YoY, while 2021Q4 has an anticipated rise of 4.8% YoY. While the momentum is stabilizing, long-term growth is still expected. In 2025, the PC gaming market is forecast to rise to 11.4 million units, with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.5%.

In Western Europe, 2021H1 saw demand in the market driven by consumers working from home, despite the loosening of lockdowns. With upcoming game releases in 2021H2 expected to increase graphical requirements, more gamers will be looking to refresh their PCs to game at the highest level. Therefore, acceleration of new/returning gamers is expected to continue in 2021. However, with component supply and logistics problems continuing, gaming PC production will be impacted too.

Worldwide Enterprise WLAN Market Continued Strong Growth in Second Quarter 2021, According to IDC

Growth rates remained strong in the enterprise segment of the wireless local area networking (WLAN) market in the second quarter of 2021 (2Q21) as the market increased 22.4% on a year-over-year basis to $1.7 billion, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wireless LAN Tracker. In the consumer segment of the WLAN market, revenues declined 5.7% in the quarter to $2.3 billion, giving the combined enterprise and consumer WLAN markets year-over-year growth of 4.6% in 2Q21.

The growth in the enterprise-class segment of the market builds on a strong first quarter of 2021 when revenues increased 24.6% year over year. For the first half of 2021, the market increased 23.5% compared to first two quarters of 2020. Compared to the second quarter of 2019, 2Q21 revenues increased 10.8%, indicating that demand in the enterprise WLAN is strong.

Samsung Develops 512 GB DDR5 Memory Modules Running at 7.2 Gbps

At this year's Hot chips 33 conference, Samsung has presented its works on the upcoming DDR5 memory standard. The company has managed to achieve a lot of new developments, as the newer standard pairs with new technologies to deliver higher speeds and better capacity. The Korean company designed its DDR5 modules as 8-high (8H) stacked TSV (through silicon via) dies. In the previous DDR4 implementations, Samsung used 4-high (4H) stacked TSV dies, which are actually thicker than the latest 8-high implementations. To achieve the new thin design, Samsung has used thin wafer handling techniques, which resulted in a 40% reduction in gab between stacked dies. The new 8H DDR5 modules are only 1.0 mm thick, compared to the 1.2 mm of the older 4H modules.

When it comes to performance, Samsung expects the new DDR5 modules to deliver big. Running at 7.2 Gbps speeds, the Samsung-made RDIMM/LRDIMM modules can reach up to 512 GB in capacity. This is, of course, limited to the server/enterprise market. Regular consumers/PC users can expect to have UDIMMs with up to 64 GB of capacity. The aforementioned 7.2 Gbps speed is achieved at the specified 1.1 Volts of power, meaning that Samsung's implementation is very efficient. According to some estimations made by the company, the DDR5 crossover for the mainstream market is not expected before 2023/2024, meaning that there is still a lot of time for memory makers to refine their DDR5 products.

Annual Notebook Shipment Likely to Break Records in 2021 at 236 Million Units, with Chromebook Demand Slowing Down in 2H21, Says TrendForce

While the stay-at-home economy generated high demand for notebook computers from distance learning and WFH applications last year, global notebook shipment for 2020 underwent a nearly 26% YoY increase, which represented a significant departure from the cyclical 3% YoY increase/decrease that had historically taken place each year, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. The uptrend in notebook demand is expected to persist in 2021, during which notebook shipment will likely reach 236 million units, a 15% YoY increase. In particular, thanks to the surging demand for education notebooks, Chromebooks will become the primary growth driver in the notebook market. Regarding the shipment performance of various brands, Samsung and Apple will register the highest growths, with the former having Chromebooks account for nearly 50% of its total notebook shipment this year and the latter continuing to release MacBooks equipped with the M1 chip.

Global TV Shipment for 1Q21 Undergoes 11.5% Growth YoY, Says TrendForce

While demand for TVs underwent a slowdown in China and Europe due to the onset of the cyclical downturn, quarterly TV sales in North America reached a historical high in 1Q21 thanks to the proliferation of the stay-at-home economy and government-issued economic stimulus plans, such as the March 2021 handout of US$1,400 stimulus checks to most US citizens, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Bullish TV sales in North America propelled global TV shipment for 1Q21 to 49.96 million units, a 24.2% QoQ decrease but an 11.5% YoY increase.

TrendForce further indicates that Hisense has been particularly aggressive in expanding in the overseas markets via consumer-friendly prices. Not only did Hisense successfully enter the top five list of the largest TV brands in North America in 1Q21, but the company's market share also surpassed 10% and reached 11.1%, with a 4.19 million unit quarterly TV shipment, which represents an 8.8% increase YoY.

Monitor Shipment for 2021 Expected to Reach 150 Million Units, Says TrendForce

Owing to high demand generated by the proliferation of WFH and distance education, monitor shipment for 2020 reached 140 million units, an 8.6% growth YoY, which represents the highest growth in about 10 years, according TrendForce's latest investigations. With demand persisting through 1H21, monitor shipment for 1Q21 underwent a staggering YoY increase of 34.1%, and this figure is projected to exceed 10% for 2Q21. Total monitor shipment for 2021 will likely reach 150 million units, a 7.3% growth YoY. Gaming monitors, which have been gaining attention in the monitor market, are expected to make up 17.3% of this total and reach 25.9 million units in shipment in 2021. In addition to being one of the most in-demand applications in the stay-at-home economy, this product category has long been a resource-intensive focus of monitor brands and panel suppliers alike.

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.

AMD Overtakes Intel in Puget Systems Processor Sales

Historically, system builders have been very good indicators of the market situation and demand for the latest processors available. Today, we have the report coming from Puget Systems, a system builder making PCs and laptops for any task needed. Having been present in the PC building business for 21 years, the company was able to notice some trends and look at the market like no one else could, simply by analyzing its orders. Today, we have the report that showcases just how much the CPU market has fluctuated and how dominant forces have shifted. The two main players, AMD and Intel, have been present for lots of years and we now get to see the latest trends in the consumer marketplace.

Back in 2015, Puget Systems quietly dropped AMD processors from their offerings, amid the very low demand the company saw for them. The sales of AMD processors accounted for a single-digit percentage of all of the total sales, and no one was interested in such systems. With the introduction of the Ryzen generation, Puget Systems re-introduced AMD processors back in their offerings. As the company analyzes its processor sales, it has concluded that, currently, AMD processors account for over 50% of the total CPU sales. That is quite a comeback for AMD, as the latest generation Ryzen 5000 series processors have taken the performance crown, and consumer demand is showing the need for new high-performance processors. You can take a look at the graph representing processor sales in the last five years below.

NVIDIA Wins $1 Billion Lawsuit by a Class of Investors

Last year, we found out that a group of investors has accused NVIDIA that the company has misled its investors by reporting crypto revenue as gaming revenue numbers and making its gaming revenue seem much bigger than it is. The original lawsuit was filed in 2017 and it demanded that NVIDIA should pay one billion US Dollars to investors shall they be proven right. In 2017, cryptocurrency mining was at the same craze it is today, with people buying every possible card that exists and consumers having a hard time upgrading their PCs. Investors in NVIDIA corporation have believed that in 2017, the company has presented its cryptocurrency earning figures as a part of the gaming figures, thus giving misleading information about the company's success in the gaming market.

Today, we have information that NVIDIA has won this lawsuit. On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam has dismissed the case and ruled that investors were unable to provide any significant evidence that the company has used such practices and misled investors. By taking this case off the company, NVIDIA will not be paying one billion USD to the accusing investors and the company continues operations as normal.

AMD and NVIDIA Address GPU Shortage with Situation Improvement on the Horizon

If anyone was looking to buy a new GPU in the past few months, the person is likely familiar with the situation we are in. It is now a fact that the latest generation of GPUs from AMD and NVIDIA are extremely hard to find, and when you come across one it is listed at some mind-blowing price. However, the makers of those GPUs, AMD and NVIDIA, are claiming that we are near the end of this situation and the things are going to be better shortly. And companies such as these two must reach out to consumers and try to satisfy their needs, even in the difficult situation that is going on now with the GPUs.

In the interview with The Verge, AMD has confirmed that it will be selling more Radeon RX 6800, Radeon RX 6800 XT, and Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics cards using its website, throughout Q1 of this year. The company claims that it will try to supply as many customers as possible, without any exact figures. When it comes to NVIDIA, the company has commented that the situation will likely resolve sometime at the end of Q1, meaning that in March things should return to normal. The company has also added that in the meantime consumers shouldn't expect to buy any of the GeForce RTX 3000 series graphics cards at their original MSRP. NVIDIA also continues emphasizing that the reason for such high prices is the high demand they are seeing, exceeding production capacity by far.

GPUs to See Price Increase Due to Import Tariffs, Other PC Components to Follow

Yesterday, we have reported that ASUS is officially increasing the prices of their graphics cards and motherboards, due to increased component and logistics costs. What the company meant by that was not exactly clear to everyone, as it looked like the company has adjusted to the current market prices exceeding the MSRP of components like graphics cards. The GPUs are today selling at much higher prices compared to the original MSRP and it is representing a real problem for consumers. Today, we get to see what is the underlying problem behind the announcement we saw yesterday and if we are going to see more of that in the close future.

According to the New York Times, the Chinese import tariff exemptions have expired with the arrival of a new year (2021) and we can expect the tariffs to start from 7.5%-25%, which will massively increase component costs. A Reddit user has noted that MSRP will increase about $80 for every major GPU manufacturer like ASUS, GIGABYTE, PNY, Zotac, etc. so we are expecting MSRP adjustment from other companies to follow just like ASUS did. The import tariff exemptions are also supposed to increase MSRPs of other PC components like motherboards, SSDs, PSUs, cases... everything without exemption. As a product of a trade war between China and the Trump administration, it remains a question will these tariffs get easier shortly, so consumers can afford their desired components.

TSMC Ends Its Volume Discounts For the Biggest Customers, Could Drive Product Prices Up

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), one of the largest semiconductor manufacturers in the world, is reportedly ending its volume discounts. The company is the maker of the currently smallest manufacturing nodes, like 7 nm and 5 nm. For its biggest customers, TSMC used to offer a discount - when you purchase 10s or 100s of thousands of 300 mm (12-inch) wafers per month, the company will give you a deal of a 3% price decrease per wafer, meaning that the customer is taking a higher margin off a product it sells. Many of the customers, like Apple, NVIDIA, and AMD, were a part of this deal.

Today, thanks to a report from the Taiwanese Central News Agency, TSMC is terminating this type of discount. Now, every customer will pay full price for the wafer, without any exceptions. For now, it is unclear what drove that decision at TSMC's headquarters, but the only thing that we could think is that the demand is too high to keep up with the discounts and the margins are possibly lower. What this means for consumers is a possible price increase in products that are manufactured at TSMC's facilities. The consumer market is already at a drought of new PC components like CPUs and GPUs due to high demand and scalping. This could contribute a bit to the issue, however, we do not expect it to be of any major significance.

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6800 Reference Designs to be Discontinued Soon

Yesterday, Cowocotland, a technology website, has published information that AMD's reference design cards like the latest Radeon RX 6900 XT, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6800 GPUs are getting discontinued. That means that AMD will stop the production of the reference designs and rely completely on the supply of GPUs coming from add-in board partners to satisfy the market needs. This does not mean that the availability of these GPUs is not going to exist. Rather, there will not be AMD reference designs available for purchase from the company. Only cards that are custom made by AIBs, that AMD provides GPU+VRAM for, will offer customers cards with these GPUs.

VideoCardz claims that they have been able to confirm some pieces of the information, so it is a done deal. From now on, it seems that only graphics cards with Radeon RX 6900 XT, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6800 GPUs inside them will be the ones offered by AIBs. The reference design cards will only be produced until early 2021, giving it a month or two for consumers to purchase cards from AMD. After that period the market will rely completely on AMD's partners.

Update 4:30 pm UTC: Scott Herkelman, CVP & GM of AMD Radeon Tweeted that they have "extended the reference design builds indefinitely due to popular demand." Meaning that the reference cards will remain in production. Mr. Herkelman also thanked for feedback, where community was loud and clear that they want to see reference boards for a while longer.

NAND Flash Revenue for 3Q20 up by Only 0.3% QoQ Owing to Weak Server Sales, Says TrendForce

Total NAND Flash revenue reached US$14.5 billion in 3Q20, a 0.3% increase QoQ, while total NAND Flash bit shipment rose by 9% QoQ, but the ASP fell by 9% QoQ, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. The market situation in 3Q20 can be attributed to the rising demand from the consumer electronics end as well as the recovering smartphone demand before the year-end peak sales season. Notably, in the PC market, the rise of distance education contributed to the growing number and scale of Chromebook tenders, but the increase in the demand for Chromebook devices has not led to a significant increase in NAND Flash consumption because storage capacity is rather limited for this kind of notebook computer. Moreover, clients in the server and data center segments had aggressively stocked up on components and server barebones during 2Q20 due to worries about the impact of the pandemic on the supply chain. Hence, their inventories reached a fairly high level by 3Q20. Clients are now under pressure to control and reduce their inventories during this second half of the year. With them scaling back procurement, the overall NAND Flash demand has also weakened, leading to a downward turn in the contract prices of most NAND Flash products.

Arm Highlights its Next Two Generations of CPUs, codenamed Matterhorn and Makalu, with up to a 30% Performance Uplift

Editor's Note: This is written by Arm vice president and general manager Paul Williamson.

Over the last year, I have been inspired by the innovators who are dreaming up solutions to improve and enrich our daily lives. Tomorrow's mobile applications will be even more imaginative, immersive, and intelligent. To that point, the industry has come such a long way in making this happen. Take app stores for instance - we had the choice of roughly 500 apps when smartphones first began shipping in volume in 2007 and today there are 8.9 million apps available to choose from.

Mobile has transformed from a simple utility to the most powerful, pervasive device we engage with daily, much like Arm-based chips have progressed to more powerful but still energy-efficient SoCs. Although the chip-level innovation has already evolved significantly, more is still required as use cases become more complex, with more AI and ML workloads being processed locally on our devices.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Launch Postponed to October 29th

When NVIDIA introduced its Ampere consumer graphics cards, they launched three models - the GeForce RTX 3070, RTX 3080, and RTX 3090 GPUs. Both the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 have seen the light of the day as they are now available for purchase, however, one card has remained. The GeForce RTX 3070 launch was originally planned for October 15th launch, but it has officially been postponed by NVIDIA. According to the company, the reason behind this sort of delay in the launch is the high demand expected. Production of the cards is ramping up quickly and the company is quickly stocking up the cards. Likely, NVIDIA AIBs are taking their time to stock up on cards, as the mid-range is usually in very high demand.

As a reminder, the GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card features 5888 CUDA cores running at a base frequency of 1.5 GHz and boost frequency of 1.73 GHz. Unlike the higher-end Ampere cards, the RTX 3070 uses older GDDR6 memory on a 256-bit bus with a bandwidth of 448 GB/s. The GPU features a TDP of 220 W and will be offered in a range of variants by AIBs. You will be able to purchase the GPU on October 29th for the price of $499.

Microsoft Introduces Surface Laptop Go, New Updates to Surface Pro X and New Accessories

The idea of working and learning from home, which at one point felt temporary, has for many of us started to feel more permanent. Even as some people in cities around the world return to work and schools in person, many others have found themselves reorganizing homes to create makeshift offices and classrooms. Whether your commute is across the house or across town, the PC continues to play an integral role in keeping all of us connected to our work, school, and lives - and each person in the household needs one.

As we continue to expand our Surface family of devices with the new Surface Laptop Go and updates to Surface Pro X, our goal is to design a Surface for every person, work style and location. To give every person in your household or organization a laptop that's not just something you need to use, but something you want to use. A virtual office you want to be in, a virtual classroom that engages you to learn, a place you can play your favorite game or watch a movie - with a bright vibrant screen, a fluid and comfortable keyboard, high quality cameras and mics, and the versatility of touch screens.

NAND Flash Revenue Rises 6.5% QoQ in 2Q20 Due to Pandemic-Induced Demand Growth for Cloud Services, Says TrendForce

The NAND Flash industry benefitted from strong demand for PCs and servers in 2Q20 as the COVID-19 pandemic caused a demand surge for cloud services and technologies that are related to working from home, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. This, in turn, kept demand high for SSDs. However, the smartphone and consumer electronics markets had not recovered from the impact of the pandemic. The demand for these products therefore declined compared to the previous quarter. In 2Q20, total NAND Flash bit shipment and ASP both experienced a minor increase of about 3% QoQ, while NAND Flash revenue reached US$14.5 billion, a 6.5% increase QoQ.

AMD Confirms "Zen 4" on 5nm, Other Interesting Tidbits from Q2-2020 Earnings Call

AMD late Tuesday released its Q2-2020 financial results, which saw the company rake in revenue of $1.93 billion for the quarter, and clock a 26 percent YoY revenue growth. In both its corporate presentation targeted at the financial analysts, and its post-results conference call, AMD revealed a handful interesting bits looking into the near future. Much of the focus of AMD's presentation was in reassuring investors that [unlike Intel] it is promising a stable and predictable roadmap, that nothing has changed on its roadmap, and that it intends to execute everything on time. "Over the past couple of quarters what we've seen is that they see our performance/capability. You can count on us for a consistent roadmap. Milan point important for us, will ensure it ships later this year. Already started engaging people on Zen4/5nm. We feel customers are very open. We feel well positioned," said president and CEO Dr Lisa Su.

For starters, there was yet another confirmation from the CEO that the company will launch the "Zen 3" CPU microarchitecture across both the consumer and data-center segments before year-end, which means both Ryzen and EPYC "Milan" products based on "Zen 3." Also confirmed was the introduction of the RDNA2 graphics architecture across consumer graphics segments, and the debut of the CDNA scalar compute architecture. The company started shipping semi-custom SoCs to both Microsoft and Sony, so they could manufacture their next-generation Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 game consoles in volumes for the Holiday shopping season. Semi-custom shipments could contribute big to the company's Q3-2020 earnings. CDNA won't play a big role in 2020 for AMD, but there will be more opportunities for the datacenter GPU lineup in 2021, according to the company. CDNA2 debuts next year.

LG Announces UltraGear 27GN950 4K UHD Gaming Monitor

LG Electronics (LG) is bringing new meaning to immersive gaming with its new UltraGear (model 27GN950), the world's first 4K IPS 1 millisecond Gray-to-Gray (GTG) gaming monitor. A 2020 CES Innovation Award and Red Dot Design Award winner, the 27-inch model more than lives up to UltraGear's name and reputation for gaming excellence and is a worthy successor to the brand's first 1 ms GTG IPS gaming monitor (model 27GL850) introduced last year. Featuring advanced IPS displays, LG UltraGear monitors achieve stunning speed without compromising picture quality, contributing to the brand being named the top gaming-designed monitor in the United States.

The new UltraGear monitor builds on the fast, accurate colors of its predecessor to deliver 4K resolution for maximum gaming impact. A combination of speed, high resolution and 98 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 color space gives gamers a total sense of immersion. And thanks to VESA Display Stream Compression (DSC) technology, the 27GN950 can deliver virtually lossless 4K UHD images in 10-bit color with a 144 Hz refresh rate via just a single DisplayPort cable.

Gartner: Worldwide PC Shipments Grew 2.8% in Second Quarter of 2020

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 64.8 million units in the second quarter of 2020, a 2.8% increase from the second quarter of 2019, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. After a significant decline in the first quarter of the year due to COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions, the PC market returned to growth as vendors restocked their channels and mobile PC demand increased.

"The second quarter of 2020 represented a short-term recovery for the worldwide PC market, led by exceptionally strong growth in EMEA," said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner. "After the PC supply chain was severely disrupted in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the growth this quarter was due to distributors and retail channels restocking their supplies back to near-normal levels.

Supply Chain Confused with Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA Launch Dates

According to the report from DigiTimes, which cites industry sources, the global supply chain of Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA has been rather confused recently by their launch dates and launch procedures. Due to worldwide pandemic, there are no electronics shows like Computex that are designed for companies to showcase their products there, and thus, there is no unified launch window where you can expect a product to be launched. What's even worse is the fact that the companies have now started to keep their launch dates as a secret in the latest edition of playing with the competition. Launch dates have started to change and now the launch is uncertain even if the launch day is provided.

This has a massive effect on the industry supply chain. By not giving concrete dates to them, companies have left them to wonder when the product will launch. This is hurting their ability to prepare themselves for an upcoming product and possibly cause some delays later on. If not given enough time, the supply chain could not adapt fast enough and the product could come later in the hands of consumers.

Has The Epic Games Store Helped or Hindered the PC Gaming Market?

When Epic Games launched the Epic Games Store back in December 2018 most people wrote it off as a glorified Fortnite launcher which could never compete with Steam's reach and features. While the Epic Games Store is still lacking in features compared to Steam it has come a long way since it's launch slowly adding in new features.

The Epic Games Store surprised many when it offered Subnautica for completely free on the store and so began the tradition of the Epic Games Store's weekly game giveaways which have given away over 100 different games in the last 18 months. While pursuing this strategy of game giveaways to attract new users to the platform Epic Games also secured many exclusives for the launcher which wasn't nearly as well received.

Notebook Computer Display Panel Shipment Grows by Nearly 18% YoY in 2Q20, with Demand Momentum Projected to Last Until 3Q20, Says TrendForce

According to the latest investigations from the WitsView research division of TrendForce, issues with the NB (notebook computer) panel supply chain, such as material shortage, labor shortage, and logistic disruptions, were gradually resolved starting in April. The resolution of these issues, combined with rising WFH and distance education demand brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in a strong wave of panel demand in 2Q20. TrendForce projects 2Q20 NB panel shipment to reach 53.3 million units, a 17.7% increase YoY and 33.6% increase QoQ.
TrendForce Panel Shipment Analysis

Microsoft Begins Phasing Out 32-Bit Support for Windows 10

It seems Microsoft has begun the long process of phasing out 32-bit support for Windows 10 beginning with version 2004, all new OEM Windows 10 systems will be required to use 64-bit builds and Microsoft will no longer release 32-bit builds for OEM distribution. This will not affect those of you running 32-bit versions of Windows 10 who will continue to receive updates and Microsoft plans to continue to sell 32-bit versions of Windows 10 through retail channels for the foreseeable future. This is likely just the first step in what will probably be a multi-year project to gradually phase out 32-bit support as more consumers and businesses switch to 64-bit systems.
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