Items tagged with semiconductors

It's a pretty remarkable thing that, for the most part, Moore's Law has been accurate for over 50 years, helping to set the pace for processor design for several decades. However, Moore's Law is in serious trouble of being broken if, as a group of researchers predict, transistors stop shrinking within the next five years. The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) recently put the final touches on its 2015 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), a collaborative report that surveys the technological hurdles and opportunities for the semiconductor industry through 2030. In it... Read more...
Samsung could use a financial boost after a decline in mobile profit led to the company posting an overall loss last year. It has a new boss in charge of mobile, and to keep the cash flowing (and investors happy), Samsung will produce 14nm CPU and GPU semiconductors for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) starting in 2016.AMD currently has all its chips in one basket, so to speak, that basket being GlobalFoundries. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) also used to build chips for AMD, though yield and supply woes forced AMD to look elsewhere for help, and right now it's looking in the direction... Read more...
Samsung's been in somewhat of a sales funk ever since the launch of its Galaxy S5. Consumers had grown bored with the recycled design of the Galaxy series, and though the premium overhaul of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge sparked renewed interest in the company's flagship phone line, manufacturing troubles prevented Samsung from selling as many devices as it could have. Despite it all, however, Samsung managed to increase its operating profit last quarter, much to the delight of investors.Consolidated sales are expected to reach 51 trillion Korean won (around $44.37 billion in U.S. currency) for the... Read more...
IBM Research on Thursday announced that it has produced the semiconductor industry's first 7-nanometer node test chips with functioning transistors. The accomplishment was a joint effort with partners GlobalFoundries, Samsung, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute's Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. It's also an important milestone in IBM's $3 billion research initiative announced last year. The initiative is a five-year plan that calls for IBM to heavily invest in a pair of broad research and early stage development programs to push the limits of chip technology. Getting to 7nm was one of... Read more...
Three atoms thick. According to a paper published this week in the science journal Nature by a group of researchers from Cornell University, that is the breadth of the transistors that can now be produced using an experimental — and highly conductive — material called transition metal dichalcogenide (also called a TMD). We aren't talking five atoms thick, or even four (because any schmoe with a hobbyist chemistry set can do that), but transistors rendered at a thickness of just three atoms. As it applies to theoretical science and human achievement, the harnessing of TMD for practical use is quite... Read more...
Intel is reportedly attempting to negotiate a deal to acquire Altera, an American company that designs and manufacturers FPGAs, or field-programmable gate arrays. The figure that's out there is $10 billion, and if it happens, it would be Intel's largest acquisition ever. It would also help Intel expand its presence in other marketsAltera's chips are often found in cellphone towers, along with military and industrial applications. These are all areas where Intel could make a ton of money, which also buys the company insurance against a changing landscape that's see the personal computer market lose... Read more...
It was a mixed set of announcements from AMD last night, with some positive news for the chip manufacturer, but some long-term projections that sent investors skittering. This was Lisa Su's first quarterly announcement after taking over the CEO position barely a week ago, and she opened with good news -- not only did AMD turn a small profit on the quarter -- $17M net income ($63M operating income) on revenue of $1.43B -- it's secured two new semi-custom deals expected to provide roughly $1B in revenue over the next three years. That works out to around $84M per quarter -- not an enormous amount,... Read more...
The transistor is one of the most profound innovations in all of human existence. First discovered in 1947, it has scaled like no advance in human history; we can pack billions of transistors into complicated processors smaller than your thumbnail. After decades of innovation, however, the transistor has faltered. Clock speeds stalled in 2005 and the 20nm process node is set to be more expensive than the 28nm node was for the first time ever. Now, researchers at NASA believe they may have discovered a way to kickstart transistors again -- by using technology from the earliest days of computing: ... Read more...
The big news of the day, based on a leaked Intel roadmap, is that Broadwell won't launch in 2014. Instead, we'll see a Haswell refresh with unknown performance characteristics (slightly higher clocks are the best bet) and, late in the year, a "Haswell-E" server part on the X99 chipset. Ivy Bridge-E, the six-core LGA2011 CPU, is still set for later this year, on the X79 chipset. The big assumption coming out of this is that Intel has delayed 14nm production and that Broadwell wont' ship at all in 2014. Based on sources we've spoken to, this isn't accurate. The flaw in the current story is that it... Read more...
Global semiconductor revenue saw a downswing in 2012 compared to one year prior, dropping 3 percent to $298 billion, according to preliminary results by market research firm Gartner. The top 25 players were collectively hit the hardest, as their revenue dropped 4.2 percent, surpassing the industry average and accounting for a smaller portion of the industry's total revenue. "Uncertainty about the state of the macroeconomy, coupled with ongoing inventory overhang, sent ripples through the semiconductor industry," said Steve Ohr, research director at Gartner. "The hardest hit areas include the PC... Read more...
You can certainly make the argument that tablets didn't catch AMD or Intel "flat-footed" (and we in fact did make that argument), but at the same time, you have to give companies like Qualcomm credit for being well prepared for the mobile boom that we now find ourselves in. To wit, Qualcomm is now the world's third largest semiconductor player, behind only Samsung (another mobile player) and Intel. According to IHS iSuppli, it was an overall miserable year for semiconductors with seven of the world's top 10 semiconductor suppliers seeing a decline in revenue. Qualcomm bucked that trend, and did... Read more...
Samsung, the world's most active memory chip maker, announced today that it's begun constructing a new facility in Xi'an, China that will make use of advanced 10-nanometer class technology in producing NAND flash memory chips. The South Korean company said it's investing $2.3 billion in the new fab, marking the single largest investment by Samsung in China with a phased total investment of $7 billion. "It is a great honor to announce our groundbreaking at Xi'an, a city of tremendous historic and academic significance, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and... Read more...
Texas Instruments, maker of the popular OMAP processor line and those pricey calculators high school math teachers insist their students bring to class, announced fourth quarter revenue of $3.42 billion, net income of $298 billion, and earnings per share of 25 cents, all of which exceeded the company's expectations. "Revenue in the fourth quarter was higher than expected across all our major product lines, reinforcing our belief that we're at the bottom of this downturn. I'm pleased to say that despite the downturn and the lower factory utilization that came with it, cash flow from operations was... Read more...