Items tagged with 20nm

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, no, but a nice feather in AMD's overall business cap. AMD expects to ship this hardware for revenue... Read more...
Today, Apple unveiled the upcoming iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, ending months of speculation over whether or not the company would ever move to larger screens or higher PPI. The answer, it turns out, is yes -- the iPhone 6 will pack a 4.7-inch screen while the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen. Resolution on the iPhone 6 is 1134x750 (326 PPI) while the iPhone 6 Plus hits 1920x1080 and 401 PPI. These figures aren't as high as some Android phones, but we've already hit the point of diminishing marginal returns since the original iPhone 4 launched the concept of a Retina Display. Unless you have better than 20/20 vision, a display is always Retina at a certain distance -- and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will... Read more...
This week, Broadcom announced that it would exit the LTE modem market and shut down its LTE research division. The move comes less than a year after Broadcom bought Renesas' (formerly known as NEC) LTE modem -- and that purchase was supposed to give Broadcom a leg up in modem design after its own in-house LTE product had failed to ship. With Broadcom gone, Qualcomm is, for all intents and purposes, the Emperor of LTE mountain. The market shift has happened quickly -- look at where revenue share sat in 2009, when 4G was still on the horizon and 3G modems were the norm.   Qualcomm is still the leading provider, no question, but ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments, MediaTek, and Infineon all have... Read more...
Despite being limited by the capabilities of the SATA interface, many solid state drive manufacturers continue to innovate and introduce new products that improve on their elder siblings. For example, Micron recently released its M550 series of drives, which was an evolution of the previously released M500 series, but built around newer, 20nm NAND flash memory and featuring enhanced/updated firmware. The M550 proved to be an excellent all around performer, outpacing many competing products in a number of tests, but again, operating within the limitations of its SATA interface. Today, Micron is at it again, though the drives we’ll be showing you here are targeted at a different audience.... Read more...
Despite being limited by the capabilities of the SATA interface, many solid state drive manufacturers continue to innovate and introduce new products that improve on previous generation products. For example, Micron recently released its M550 series of drives, which was an evolution of the previously released M500 series, but built around newer, 20nm NAND flash memory and featuring enhanced/updated firmware. The M550 proved to be an excellent all around performer, outpacing many competing products in a number of tests, but again, operating within the limitations of its SATA interface. Today, Micron is at it again, though the drives we’ll be showing you here are targeted at a different... Read more...
Samsung on Tuesday announced that it is now mass producing what it considers the most advanced 4Gb (Gigabit) DDR3 memory based on a new 20nm manufacturing process technology. Using Samsung's innovations in manufacturing, the South Korean chip maker says it's been able to improve yields by more than 30 percent compared to 25nm DDR3, and more than double that of 30nm-class DDR3. As Samsung explains it, the process of scaling DRAM memory where each cell consists of a capacitor and a transistor linked to one another has become significantly more difficult than NAND flash memory where cells don't require a capacitor. To overcome this hurdle, Samsung tweaked its design and manufacturing technology... Read more...
A leaked Intel roadmap for solid state technology suggests the company is pushing ahead with its plans to introduce new high-end drives based on cutting-edge NAND flash. It's significant for Intel to be adopting 20nm NAND in its highest-end data center products, because of the challenges smaller NAND nodes present in terms of data retention and reliability. Intel introduced 20nm NAND lower in the product stack over a year ago, but apparently has waited till now to bring 20nm to the highest end.  Next year, Intel will debut three new drive families -- the SSD Pro 2500 Series (codenamed Temple Star), the DC P3500 Series (Pleasantdale) and the DC P3700 Series (Fultondale). The Temple Star family... 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 implicitly assumes that desktop is the focus of Intel's business and that the company would naturally... Read more...
Last month, TSMC's CEO Morris Chang made waves when he suggested that it could make sense for the company to dedicate fabs to particular customers. Fresh reports today, however, suggest that both Apple and TSMC made major bids for exclusivity on future TSMC production facilities, and both were rejected. Does this mean Chang's earlier comments were misinterpreted? No -- but it does demonstrate the difference between what Chang/TSMC is willing to contemplate and what companies like Qualcomm and Apple want. TSMC may be willing to commit full fabs to customer-specific production, but the company isn't going to sign a piece of paper that gives a customer direct control over what happens to those fabs... Read more...
Trusted sources we've spoken to in the semiconductor industry have implied that TSMC is considering a partnership with Apple that would realign the manufacturer's technology roadmap and fundamentally alter the balance of power between the foundry and its other customers. Morris Chang, TSMC's CEO, spoke about the possibility of closer collaboration with its customers in general terms last Friday, but at the time we thought the likelihood of an Apple alliance was unlikely. We've since been given reason to think otherwise. A dedicated alliance with Apple that gives the company first access to 20nm production and/or a dedicated fab could fundamentally redefine the foundry-customer relationship and... Read more...
Trusted sources we've spoken to in the semiconductor industry have implied that TSMC is considering a partnership with Apple that would realign the manufacturer's technology roadmap and fundamentally alter the balance of power between the foundry and its other customers. Morris Chang, TSMC's CEO, spoke about the possibility of closer collaboration with its customers in general terms last Friday, but at the time we thought the likelihood of an Apple alliance was unlikely. We've since been given reason to think otherwise. A dedicated alliance with Apple that gives the company first access to 20nm production and/or a dedicated fab could fundamentally redefine the foundry-customer relationship... Read more...
Computex is a major trade show where companies of all sorts show off their upcoming products and discuss manufacturing trends. It's a great place to get a feel for what's going to be hot in the second half of the year, but it also lends itself to a type of exuberant prediction. In this case, Simon Segars, head of ARM's processor division, told reporters that we could see 20nm devices shipping as soon as the end of 2013. "The whole industry is focused on moving to the next generation as soon as it's economically viable and technologically achievable," Segars told the group. According to CIO, analyst Dan Nystedt, of TriOrient Investments, chimed in with his view that TSMC's 28nm troubles don't... Read more...
NAND Flash and SSDs have become the darling of enthusiasts in recent years, thanks to a potent combination of improved read/write performance, virtually no latency, and lower power consumption compared to hard drives. A new report from the University of California San Diego, however, casts doubt on the long-term scalability of the format. The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS)' most recent report backs up such statements. Flash's fundamental problem is that the same technological innovations that are improving performance, power consumption, and cutting costs are also biting into its durability. The problem is illustrated in the graph below. Note that the best results,... Read more...
Both TSMC and GlobalFoundries have released new information on their respective plans for the next few years. TSMC has announced its intention to double its 2011 R&D capital expenditure to $700 million, while it simultaneously spends $7.8B over the next year in order to increase its manufacturing capacity by approximately 20 percent. This is presumedly over and above what the company has spent thus far on constructing its new "gigafab" foundry, Fab 15. TSMC began work on Fab 15 last summer, but the plant isn't scheduled to come online until 2012; TSMC is most likely building out capacity at an already established plant. TSMC's production growth over the past few years. Information provided... Read more...
At yesterday's Common Platform technology day, IBM and the other members of the Common Platform Initiative made a major announcement. While plans to use gate-first technology at the 32nm/28nm node remain unchanged, the coalition will move to gate-last technology when it makes the jump to 20nm production. As semiconductor manufacturing has moved to ever-smaller process nodes, the difficulty of managing each transition has increased markedly. As a result, the major foundries have adopted divers methods of improving product yields and minimizing gate leakage. Examples of these methods include AMD's adoption of immersion lithography at 45nm, Intel's simultaneous decision to use double-patterning... Read more...
Marketing's a funny thing. Take for example Samsung's announcement that it's now producing 20nm-class, 64-gigabit 3-bit NAND flash memory. Sounds extraordinary, doesn't it? But there's a caveat in small print, and it reads like this: "20nm-class means a process technology node somewhere between 20 and 29 nanometers and 30nm-class means a process technology node somewhere between 30 and 39 nanometers." In other words, it's safe to say these aren't actual 20nm parts Samsung is shipping out, but probably something larger than Intel's and Micron's 25nm chips. Caveat aside, Samsung says it's 64Gb 3-bit NAND has a 60 percent higher productivity level than 30nm-class, 32Gb 3-bit NAND, which should help... Read more...
On September 1, GlobalFoundries played host to the first annual Global Technology Conference (GTC for short). While there were a fair number of partner presentations on display, the conference was primarily driven by GlobalFoundries executives and announcements. When we spoke to GlobalFoundries in March we remarked on the company's aggressive roadmap; we were curious to see if the company would still be on track six months later... GlobalFoundries Details Plans For 2011 And Beyond... Read more...
On September 1, GlobalFoundries played host to the first annual Global Technology Conference (GTC for short). While there were a fair number of partner presentations on display, the conference was primarily driven by GlobalFoundries executives and announcements. When we spoke to GlobalFoundries in March we remarked on the company's aggressive roadmap; we were curious to see if the company would still be on track six months later. Based on comments made by company CEO Doug Grose, GlobalFoundries is on track to realize some $4 billion in revenue for the year 2010 and plans to double its size within two years (it's unclear if this refers to revenue, wafer starts, or customer base). The company's... Read more...
Hard drive capacities keep getting larger, processors keep getting faster, and memory process  keep getting smaller. These are all facts of life in the consumer electronics industry, and while talking about nanometers doesn't interest the average consumer, telling them that next month's memory cards will be bigger and cheaper just might get them to stop and listen. Samsung has been on a rampage of late, pressing to get process technology sizes smaller and smaller in order to cram more memory onto form factors that we already rely on. Basically, 32nm memory can only squeeze so much onto a Secure Digital card; make that memory at 20nm, and suddenly you can fit more onto the same size card.... Read more...