Items tagged with 28nm

Intel has announced a new partnership with mobile SoC developer Rockchip, with plans to bring new Android products to China beginning in the first half of 2015. The partnership will use Intel's SoFIA platform with an integrated 3G radio and Atom processor initially, though Intel does plan to deliver a follow-up version of that platform with LTE connectivity later next year. The idea behind the partnership, according to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, is to leverage Rockchip's market penetration and channel sales and combine them with Intel's own CPU technology. When asked, Krzanich indicated that Rockchip would provide certain supplementary technology, possibly including the GPU, and said that Intel... Read more...
AMD's next-generation Radeon is set to debut later this fall and rumors about the upcoming chip have begun to leak out into the wild. While unconfirmed, the specs are in line with our expectations and what AMD has previously said about the chip. Hawaii won't be a fundamentally new architecture, but a refined approach to the technology already baked into Graphics Core Next (GCN). Specifically, the new chip is supposedly built to GCN 2.0 standards with support for DX 11.2 (this may already be present in current Radeon hardware), four raster engines (up from two), a maximum of 2,816 shader cores, a 900MHz clock speed, temperature-based Turbo modes rather than a current-based model, and a 430mm sq.... Read more...
One of the greatest obstacles standing between chip manufacturers and the pursuit of smaller, faster, processors is the lack of a proper light source. Current chips are etched using a deep ultraviolet wavelength of 193nm, but at a 28nm semiconductor process geometry, we've reached the limits of what a 193nm wavelength is small enough to etch, even when using immersion lithography (in which the chip is immersed in water). Extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) has been pegged as the most likely replacement for current 193nm technology, but repeated problems with ramping EUV have left it stalled on the runway. Now, for the first time, foundry technology developer ASML, which made headlines last... Read more...
Late last month, the Wall Street Journal leaked news of a partnership with TSMC, in an agreement that put a formal signature on what sources have previously implied was years of behind-the-scenes collaboration. Apple has explored its options with foundry partners that aren't Samsung for several years as its relationship with that company has grown sour. Last year, Apple reportedly attempted to buy a significant stake in a particular fab for a billion dollars, but CEO Morris Chang rebuffed the idea (or at least, the price tag), saying that TSMC preferred to retain flexibility and control of its own technology roadmap. Now there are reports that Apple is considering a similar alliance with GlobalFoundries,... Read more...
Last week, we paid a visit to ARM's headquarters in Cambridge, England and sat down with the company for multiple deep dives into its structure, processor architecture, and the future of its product design. The semiconductor market for mobile and hand-held devices has changed dramatically in the past six years and ARM has had to evolve alongside it. This is the first in a series of articles designed to profile different aspects of the company and its competition with Intel... ARMs Race: Licensing vs. Manufacturing In Mobile... Read more...
Last week, we paid a visit to ARM's headquarters in Cambridge, England and sat down with the company for multiple deep dives into its structure, processor architecture, and the future of its product design. The semiconductor market for mobile and hand-held devices has changed dramatically in the past six years and ARM has had to evolve along side it. This is the first in a series of articles designed to profile different aspects of the company and its competition with Intel.   ARM's Licensing and Design Model Most readers are aware that ARM has a very different business model than Intel. Specifically, ARM licenses a wide range of technologies in a vast number of markets. The majority of... Read more...
Nvidia announced today that Phil Carmack, the head of Tegra development since the project's inception, has left Team Green to take a position as CEO "of one of our [Nvidia's] partner companies." He'll be succeeded by Deepu Talla. Talla joined Nvidia earlier this year, after more than a decade at Texas Instruments, as general manager of its OMAP product line. TI effectively pulled the plug on OMAP last year and has been winding down the business unit. OMAP 5 products exist, technically, but none have shipped and no handhelds are currently expected to come to market. Talla's greatest challenge will be continuing the strong momentum of Tegra 2 and Tegra 3. Earlier this year, Nvidia was rumored to... Read more...
AMD's upcoming Kabini SoC sits at the heart of the PlayStation 4, the next-generation Xbox 720 (unofficially), and is central to the company's tablet and laptop plans for 2013. It's also a key component of Sunnyvale's new embedded strategy, which is part of what makes the new crop of embedded products AMD announced today rather interesting. The new SoCs run the gamut from 9W - 25W and the majority are quad core. The new embedded chips are as follows: GX-420CA (quad-core, 2.0GHz, Radeon 8400E @ 600MHz, 25W TDP) GX-415GA (quad-core, 1.5GHz, Radeon 8330E @ 500MHz, 15W TDP) GX-217GA (dual-core, 1.65GHz, Radeon 8280E @ 450MHz, 15W TDP) GX-210HA (dual-core, 1.0GHz, Radeon 8210E @ 300MHz, 9W TDP) GX-416RA... Read more...
The last thing Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) needs right now is to have to deal with continued supplier issues as the year reboots. It's been a tumultuous year for the Sunnyvale chip designer, and to ensure things on the supply side run smoothly, AMD has reportedly tapped Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to build its upcoming 28nm Temash and Kabini APUs that were unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this week. It's another big win for TSMC, which reportedly scored a contract to build A6X chips for Apple just last week. AMD will still lean on Globalfoundries as well, but will no longer put all its chips in one bag, so to speak. According to Fudzilla, Globalfoundries... Read more...
Earlier this summer, AMD launched its HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) foundation with a number of core partners. Now Samsung has joined the collaborative effort as well. This could be the beginning of an unprecedented level of cooperation between the APU designer and massive smartphone/tablet developer. The two companies already share certain technologies; Samsung and GlobalFoundries, AMD's chief manufacturing partner, are members of IBM's Common Platform Alliance. The HSA Foundation is a non-profit established to promote "an open, standards-based approach to heterogeneous computing that will provide a common hardware specification and broad support ecosystem to make it easier for software... 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...
If you're one of the many people stuck in a smartphone holding pattern as you wait for Apple to announce (and launch) its upcoming iPhone 5 model, go ahead and get cozy. Reports out of China suggest Apple may delay the iPhone 5 as a result of a shortage of 28 nanometer chips. This isn't the first time such rumors have manifested, so take it with a grain of salt. That said, the current concern is that Qualcomm, which is Apple's largest chip supplier, is trying to get a handle on 28nm chip production and won't have the shortage resolved until the end of the year. If that's the case, it could put a damper in Apple's ability to launch the iPhone 5 in September or October. What's bad news for Apple... 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...
Earlier today, Vijay Rakesh, an analyst with Sterne Agee, cut his rating on AMD to Neutral from Buy, based on suggestions that PC manufacturers were being generally cautious about sales over the next couple of quarters. Rakesh notes that Trinity is tracking far more design wins than Llano did at this point last year, but believes sales will slow ahead of the Windows 8 launch, writing that "OEMs cautious on back to school. We believe overall SepQ builds could be lighter than the seasonal 10-15% q/q, with a pickup late in the quarter for Win8." Digging into this a bit more, there's evidence of a bit of a battle between analysts as far as AMD is concerned. Cody Acree, of Williams Financial Group,... Read more...
For over 10 years, the desktop and mobile graphics space has been dominated by two players: Nvidia and AMD/ATI. After 3dfx collapsed, there was a brief period of time when it looked as though Imagination Technologies might establish itself as a third option. Ultimately, that didn't happen -- the company's tile-based rendering solution, Kyro, failed to gain much mass-market support and faded after two generations. Now, there's a flurry of evidence to suggest that Imagination Technologies plans to re-enter PC market, but from the opposite direction. Rather than building expensive discrete solutions, IT is focused on deploying GPUs that can challenge Nvidia and AMD solutions in tablets, mobile phones,... 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...
At GTC 2012 today, Nvidia disclosed some details on its upcoming GPU, GK110 -- the beast that will power the GK20 Tesla chip and possibly an option or two at the very highest end of the consumer market. A new white paper published by Moore Insights & Strategy also disclosed some facts on the company's cloud gaming strategy in a more coherent fashion than the game demo we saw yesterday. Let's start with GK110; courtesy of PC Perspective. There's some very useful information on this slide, starting with the transistor count. 7.1B transistors is a huge figure -- fully twice the number of transistors in GK104. The slide strongly suggests that Nvidia is taking a page out of GF100's book and launching... Read more...
Inside sources have leaked information to the press claiming that the CPU in the next-generation PS4 (codenamed Orbis) is an AMD Llano A8-3850. The chip will supposedly be paired with an AMD Radeon 7670 GPU with 1GB of integrated VRAM. With all due respect to IGN, this is the sort of report that deserves a considerably better review than they apparently gave it. Sony may well be working with that level of AMD hardware, but that's not the same as shipping said configurations. Let's start with the APU. The A8-3850 was one of AMD's earliest Llano chips; a 100W 2.9GHz quad-core with an integrated Radeon 6550D. It didn't ship in high quantity -- AMD chose to emphasize shipping out mobile Llano's rather... Read more...
Intel made headlines last year when it announced that it would fab 22nm products for FPGA designer Achronix. This week, the company has unveiled an additional 22nm partner. Santa Clara will also be building parts for Tabula and will build that company's new Spacetime microprocessors. Tabula claims that its new chip "uses time as a third dimension to deliver unmatched capability and affordability. Tabula achieves this breakthrough by combining the Spacetime hardware that dynamically reconfigures logic, memory, and interconnect at multi-GHz rates with the Spacetime compiler that manages this ultra-rapid reconfiguration transparently." That's so meaningless it hurts. It's a reconfigurable FPGA that... Read more...
AMD's initial layoff announcement yesterday implied that the dismissals would occur across the company's global sales force. While that may still be true, it has become clear that AMD has slashed its PR and marketing departments in particular. The New Product Review Program* (NPRP) has lost most of its staff and Director of Product Planning, Carell Killebrew, who played an integral role in rescuing AMD's GPU division after the disaster of R600, also got the axe. Key members of the FirePro product team are also gone. None of the staff had any idea that the cuts were coming, or that they'd focus so particularly in certain areas. An email, purportedly from CEO Rory Read, sheds additional light on... Read more...
Reports from multiple foundries suggest that the industry has had trouble ramping 28nm production, despite early bullish promises and repeated assurances. The situation is something of a high-tech 'I told you so.' As we've previously covered, each new process node has been an increasingly difficult shift as manufacturers have had to ramp new production technologies to build smaller parts. After TSMC's well-publicized problems ramping 40nm, it seemed unlikely that any foundry would be able to painlessly shift down to the 28nm node. Both GlobalFoundries and TSMC countered these rumors by detailing aggressive product ramps and, in TSMC's case, a separate 28nm process built using traditional SiON... Read more...
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