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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.

TSMC Says it Still Won't Build a Fab in the US

TSMC, as one of the largest silicon manufacturers in the world, has been subject to pressure from the Trump administration to build a Fab and manufacture silicon on US soil. The reasoning behind this is that the US government could order chips that are supposed to be used in military applications. For security reasons, they need to be manufactured on US grounds and "checked" by the US government. However, it seems like a Taiwanese company has no concrete plans to realize the building of the US Fab.

Thanks to the report of DigiTimes, TSMC has confirmed that they have resisted requests from the US government, and will not build a Fab on US soil for the government. They haven't dismissed the possibility of building one or silicon manufacturing facilities in the US completely. TSMC chairman Mark Liu has told DigiTimes previously that if the company wants to build a US Fab, it will do so because of consumer demand, not the government demand. And that is understandable. It is much easier to work with regular customers compared to the US government which would force a company to go through rigorous security levels to deliver chips.
TSMC HQ

Intel Reports First-Quarter 2020 Financial Results

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

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

AMD Updates Ryzen 3 1200 CPU with Zen+ Architecture

AMD has reportedly updated its Ryzen 3 1200 CPU with Zen+ architecture and is now offering it to consumers. Featuring a configuration of 4 cores with 4 threads, this CPU can operate anywhere from 3.1 GHz (base) to 3.4 GHz in boost frequency. Having originally launched in July of 2017, just under three years ago, AMD decided to refresh this CPU with Zen+ architecture, which brought improvements like a tiny IPC increase, better turbo boost speeds, faster caches and better memory controller for better support of faster DDR4 modules.

The new "Zen+" revision has the same specifications as the older model, however, the only difference is the newer 12 nm manufacturing process and some of the architecture changes of Zen+. The rest of the specifications like clock speeds are the same. The CPU is listed by a German supplier for €54.73 or about $60. This revision carries a different part number, under the code "YD1200BBM4KAFBOX", where the older 14 nm model was "YD1200BBM4KAEBOX".
AMD Ryzen 3 1200 12nm Zen+ Edition

HP Unveils new ZBook Studio and ZBook Create Notebooks

Today, HP Inc. unveiled its newest Z by HP mobile workstation and HP ENVY portfolio - designed for creators who push the envelope of what's possible. The HP ZBook Studio, HP ZBook Create, and the HP ENVY 15 are the latest additions to the HP Create Ecosystem, which launched at Adobe MAX in 2019.

The powerful line-up enables all levels of creators, including consumers, prosumers and professionals, to capture, create, and bring to life digital concepts and ideas that can be shared, enjoyed, and experienced. In the past, creators had to choose between heavy workstations or bulky gaming devices to get the power they require for work and play. Today, HP is pushing the boundaries of engineering and creative productivity by allowing photographers, vloggers, graphic designers, architects, film makers, and everyone in between, to achieve what was never thought possible.

Technologies to Unite Them All: Headsets, Webcams, Laptops and Technology Sales Surge in Response to Physical Distancing

If there is one thing that the internet has done well, and well indeed, is bridging gaps in geography. That globalization is a well-studied phenomenon is a lapalissian truth; however, as humans, we sometimes tend to take what achievements have been made through technology for granted. Whether to bridge social distancing between parents or lovers through this quarantine, or enabling companies to remain with a semblance of (and sometimes higher than before) productivity, technology has once again come to the rescue. Physical distancing and seclusion does not equate to social distancing, after all.

This has been evidenced by the most recent market studies conducted by both the NPD and IDC, where sales of technologies such as webcams, headsets, mics, and other camera-integrated products have seen a steep rise. Webcams, for one, have increased their sales by 179%; laptops and desktops have seen 40% increases; headsets tip the scales once again at 134% and a 138% increase in PC monitors. I wager many people (some of our readers included) may have even removed the post-it or electrical tape from their laptop webcams. When physical presence isn't possible, technologies can render distances slightly smaller.

Intel Xe Graphics to Feature MCM-like Configurations, up to 512 EU on 500 W TDP

A reportedly leaked Intel slide via DigitalTrends has given us a load of information on Intel's upcoming take on the high performance graphics accelerators market - whether in its server or consumer iterations. Intel's Xe has already been cause for much discussion in a market that has only really seen two real competitors for ages now - the coming of a third player with muscles and brawl such as Intel against the already-established players NVIDIA and AMD would surely spark competition in the segment - and competition is the lifeblood of advancement, as we've recently seen with AMD's Ryzen CPU line.

The leaked slide reveals that Intel will be looking to employ a Multi-Chip-Module (MCM) approach to its high performance "Arctic Sound" graphics architecture. The GPUs will be available in up to 4-tile configuration (the name Intel is giving each module), which will then be joined via Foveros 3D stacking (first employed in Intel Lakefield. This leaked slide shows Intel's approach starting with a 1-tile GPU (with only 96 of its 128 total EUs active) for the entry level market (at 75 W TDP) a-la DG1 SDV (Software Development Vehicle).

EVGA Bundles in "Deliver Us The Moon" with Select RTX 20 Series Graphics Cards

In case you missed the giant banners on the website, EVGA shared news with us that they are bundling in a free game with their GeForce RTX 20 series graphics cards, and this includes the EVGA GeForce RTX ️ 2080 Ti, 2080/2070/2060 SUPER, and 2080/2070/2060. The promotion is not from NVIDIA, and this is not the first time EVGA have gone the extra step to sweeten the deal towards consumers buying their cards as opposed to other add-in card partner solutions. Deliver Us The Moon is a weird little sci-fi thriller game with puzzle mechanics and rudimentary flight systems that yours truly found interesting for the few hours played thus far, and is well worth checking into- especially as a freebie on top of your GPU purchase. There is also NVIDIA RTX support to use with your new graphics card, and the ambient lighting in the game does benefit from it, especially when flying in space. For more information on this promo, click here.

Intel Could Unveil First Discrete 10 nm GPUs in mid-2020

According to the sources close to DigiTimes, Intel will unveil its first discrete 10 nm graphics cards named "Xe" very soon, with the first wave of Xe GPUs expected to arrive some time in 2020. Said to launch mid year, around July or August, Intel will start selling initial Xe GPU models of the long awaited product to consumers, in hope of gaining a share in the massive market using GPU for acceleration of all kinds of tasks.

Perhaps one of the most interesting notes DigiTimes reported is that "... Intel's GPUs have already received support from the upstream supply chain and has already been integrated into Intel's CPUs to be used in the datacenter and AI fields.", meaning that AIB partners already have access to first 10 nm graphics chips that are ready for system integration. First generation of Xe graphics cards will cover almost whole GPU market, including PC, datacenter, and AI applications where NVIDIA currently holds the top spot.

A Reprieve: Select PC Hardware Exempt of Tariffs on Chinese Imports to the US

The US Trade Representative on Friday granted a reprieve to the increased tariffs being levied at China-imported electronic goods. The exemption, valid for one year until 20th August 2020, includes some products that will be welcome to PC hardware enthusiasts, including motherboards, graphics cards, desktop cases, "mouse input devices" valued over $70, "trackpad input units" valued at over $100, and power supply units that output more than 500 W.

The exempts have come as fruits of requests from US stakeholders in the hardware space; should imports be available only from China (meaning there are no alternate sources of said materials) or if the tariff could cause "severe economic harm", a temporary reprieve on the levies could be sought. And so the exempts were requested, and now granted. Prices paid before the announcement of the reprieve that included the added tax penalties are final; the exemption is only valid for orders after September 20th. This means the 25% increased rates (itself an increase on the initial 10%) on the tax basis are now frozen when it comes to the aforementioned hardware. This means companies no longer have to scramble to source their manufacturing to countries other than China, and that prices increased for end consumers on the basis of the tax increase are now meritless.
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