Items tagged with semiconductors

One might assume that chip makers are taking a beating in revenue because of the global shortage of silicon, but that is not the case. Semiconductors are selling as fast as manufacturers like TSMC can make them. It's the reason why AMD and Intel both recently posted strong earnings, and looking at the semiconductor business as a whole, market research firm IDC predicts it will reach $522 billion this year. That is not an outrageous prediction by any stretch. According to IDC, worldwide semiconductor revenue grew to $464 billion in 2020, a gain of 10.8 percent compared to 2019, despite the impact of COVID-19. If it reaches $522 billion this year, as the research firm believes it will, then it... Read more...
IBM is laying claim to the first chip manufactured on a 2-nanometer manufacturing node, calling it a breakthrough in semiconductor design. To put that into perspective, 2nm is smaller than the width of a single strand of human DNA. Meanwhile, the chip itself is about the size of a human fingernail and is crammed with 50 billion transistors. "The IBM innovation reflected in this new 2nm chip is essential to the entire semiconductor and IT industry," said Darío Gil, SVP and Director of IBM Research. "It is the product of IBM's approach of taking on hard tech challenges and a demonstration of how breakthroughs can result from sustained investments and a collaborative R&D ecosystem approach."... Read more...
In an effort to bring more chip manufacturing into the United States and address the global shortage of silicon, Intel today will announce a $3.5 billion investment aimed at upgrading its manufacturing facility in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. This is in addition to the $20 billion Intel is pouring into fabrication plant expansions in Arizona. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger made the $3.5 billion revelation during a must-watch interview 60 Minutes interview, in which he discussed a range of topics related to chip manufacturing, including when he believes Intel will catch up to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the most advanced chip manufacturer in the world. During the interview, journalist... Read more...
As part of an effort to accelerate its investments in the United States, Apple announced it is committing more than $430 billion over the next five years towards different projects across the country, including a new high-tech campus being built in North Carolina. According to Apple, these investments will lead to the creation of 20,000 jobs across the country. It is a massive commitment of funds for sure, though Apple is in position to do it. At the end of December, Apple posted record revenue of a little over $111.4 billion, resulting in a profit of $28.7 billion for the quarter. And at present, the company's market capitalization sits at $2.25 trillion, based on its current share price of... Read more...
Intel has closed the books on what it called a "strong first-quarter," during which it generated $19.7 billion in revenue. That's actually down 1 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago, or flat if going by the non-GAAP total ($18.6 billion). However, its first-quarter revenue exceeded January guidance by a hefty $1.1 billion, bolstered by strong PC demand. In a statement on the latest earnings report, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said this is a "pivotal year" for the company, while noting a positive response to its new IDM (Integrated Device Manufacturing) 2.0 strategy. What exactly is that? In short, IDM 2.0 is a three-pronged strategy consisting of expanding its internal network of chip... Read more...
A global shortage of semiconductors used to power a range of electronics, including PCs and game consoles, could not only linger for the rest of 2021, but throughout all of next year and perhaps even part of 2023, TSMC boss Dr. C.C. Wei warned. That's a bummer for consumers, though if putting a positive spin on things, it means technology in general is still trending in the right direction (up and to the right, folks). Be that as it may, Dr. Wei's recent comments are a tough pill to swallow. Several of the products we cover here at HotHardware, like the newest generation graphics cards from AMD (RDNA 2) and NVIDIA (Ampere), as well as high-end processors and game systems like the PlayStation... Read more...
Anyone who has had aspirations of building a new PC in recent weeks and months has felt the sting of an industry wide silicon shortage. The most desirable CPUs and GPUs have been frustratingly out of stock, as have been the latest game consoles from Microsoft and Sony (built around those same parts). Relief might not be coming in the immediate future, but looking longer term, both Intel and TSMC are making big investments into expanding their chip making capabilities. TSMC in particular says it plans to invest a whopping $100 billion to bolster its chip fabrication capacity. The announcement comes barely a week after Intel said it was pouring $20 billion into its own advanced manufacturing capabilities.... Read more...
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is rumored to be hiking up prices of its 300mm (12-inch) wafers, which in turn could lead to higher prices for certain consumer electronics. If the report is accurate, TSMC will be charging 25 percent more for its 300mm wafers, compared to pricing from a year ago. That amounts to a $400 increase, at least at the high end. And if it comes to pass, it will reportedly be a record high, though official pricing information from TSMC is not available (and varies by customer). Or in the semiconductor maker's own words, "TSMC is committed to providing customer value and does not comment on price issues." Be that as it may, United News says that the continuous... Read more...
Are you frustrated by the silicon shortage that is contributing to the near-constant out-of-stock status of the latest hardware, from standalone CPUs and GPUs, to the newest game consoles? We feel your pain. Good news, though—Taiwain Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is rumored to be opening up half a dozen factories in the US, which could go a long way towards alleviating strained output in the future. There are many reasons why it is difficult to find an Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, or some of the latest PC hardware in stock and priced at (or close) to MSRP. Cryptocurrency mining and scalpers armed with scripted bots are contributing to the situation. But the root cause is that... Read more...
It seems Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is right on schedule to begin mass producing silicon based on its 3-nanometer process next year, which will pack 1.7 times the logic density of its 5nm node. Barring any snags, TSMC expects to churn out 30,000 wafers in the latter half of this year, as 3nm production enters the risk production phase. The foundry is highly motivated to stay on schedule—previous reports have suggested Apple will tap into a very large part of TSMC's 3nm capacity for its future iPhone, iPad, and Mac products. Bear in mind we are talking about future models slated to arrive in 2023, which presumably rules out the iPhone 13 (though not necessarily). Incidentally,... Read more...
Since the launch of new CPUs, GPUs, and consoles late last year, chip supply has certainly struggled to keep up with demand. This supply issue is due in part to an ongoing semiconductor shortage which is not showing signs of stopping any time soon. To look for solutions, President Joe Biden is stepping in to review the semiconductor supply chain ecosystem and hopefully fund increased manufacturing capacity in the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic has ultimately wreaked havoc across many industries, leading to a trickle-down effect of shortages and delays in production. Subsequently, there has been pressure on the Biden administration, from both the GOP and other organizations, to take a look... Read more...
Intel has not been shy about the fact that it is considering its options, as it applies to chip manufacturing. Pretty much everything is on the table: forging ahead in the same manner as things have gone, tapping n outside foundry to produce some of its main CPU products, and/or licensing a foundry's process node to use within its own fabs. What will Intel ultimately do? Time will tell, but there is a persistent rumor going around that Intel has inked a deal with TSMC to produce processors on a 3-nanometer node. If true, this would be a major development for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it could potentially thrust Intel onto even ground or even ahead of AMD in process technology,... Read more...
TSMC is celebrating the production of 1 billion defect-free chips manufactured on its 7-nanometer technology, or put another way, 1 billion functional 7nm chips. If laid out on the ground, that would be enough to cover 13 Manhattan city blocks, the semiconductor fab says. It also equates to over 1 quintillion transistors. "A remarkable achievement for a technology that entered volume production in April 2018. Since then, we have manufactured 7nm chips for well over 100 products from dozens of customers...TSMC’s large-scale, efficient manufacturing means more than just producing a lot of chips quickly. It is critical to improving quality and reliability, and the learning enables technology... Read more...
Seemingly out of left field, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) revealed it is planning to crank out chips based on a 4-nanometer manufacturing process. Described as an "evolution" from its 5nm node, TSMC says it is currently in discussions with potential customers about leveraging the node, which fills the gap between 5nm and 3nm. There is not a whole lot of information available yet. That is because the folks at EE Times caught wind of the previously unannounced node ahead of an official unveling, and TSMC chairman Mark Liu subsequently confirmed to the outlet that 4nm is indeed in the works. However, he stopped well short of discussing the technology in detail. We assume a formal... Read more...
The rumblings turned out to be true—Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has confirmed plans to build and operate another chip manufacturing plant in the United States, and specifically in Arizona. TSMC said it the made the decision with the understanding that it would receive support from the US government and Arizona officials. "TSMC welcomes continued strong partnership with the U.S. administration and the State of Arizona on this project. This project will require significant capital and technology investments from TSMC. The strong investment climate in the United States, and its talented workforce make this and future investments in the U.S. attractive to TSMC," the chip... Read more...
In a potential move that could shake things up in the mobile space, Google might be taking a page from Apple by designing its own system-on-chip (SoC) hardware for future Pixel smartphones and lower end Chromebook devices. If that turns out to be the case, it would be disappointing news for Qualcomm, and good news for Samsung. Google has traditionally leaned on Qualcomm to power its smartphones. For example, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL wield a Snapdragon 855 processor, while the previous generation Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL both touted a Snapdragon 845 SoC. The same is true of the upcoming Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a XL—they are rumored to run on a Snapdragon 730 chip. By shifting design chores in-house,... Read more...
A chip design startup founded by a trio of former Apple semiconductor architects just raised $53 million in funding. The company is called NUVIA and it hopes to make a splash in the data center by "reimagining chip design to deliver industry-leading performance and energy efficiency." Should Intel and AMD be worried? That remains to be seen, and will depend on NUVIA's ability to execute its vision. The data center is where the big money in chip design is at, though, and it is currently dominated by Intel's Xeon processors. Meanwhile, AMD is making a spirited run with its latest generation EPYC processors, and NVIDIA has a stake as well, with its GPU accelerators. Competing with established heavyweights... Read more...
There is reason to be optimistic AMD will deliver its next-generation Zen 3 processors on schedule. AMD's manufacturing partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), says it has begun mass producing chips based on its 7-nanometer plus (7nm+) Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology. TSMC did not mention AMD by name, only that it is "delivering customer products to market in high volume." However, AMD has already confirmed its Zen 3 processors will be manufactured on a 7nm+ node, and said it August the design phase had been completed. At the time, AMD also stated the anticipated roll out of Zen 3 processors next year is "right on track." For TSMC, this 7nm+ node is its first... Read more...
Samsung today said it has developed the industry's first 12-layer 3D-TSV (Through Silicon Via) chip packaging technology, calling it "one of the most challenging packaging technologies for mass production of high performance chips." And that is precisely what it will be used for—it will enable Samsung to mass produce 24GB high bandwidth memory (HBM) sooner than later. What makes this chip packaging technology so challenging is the pinpoint accuracy it requires in order to vertically attach a dozen DRAM chips in a tiny three-dimensional configuration. These configurations consist of 60,000 TSV holes, each of which is just one-twentieth the width of a single strand of human hair. "The thickness... Read more...
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is countersuing rival semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries, alleging several instances of patent infringement related to the company's 40-nanometer, 28-nanometer, 22-nanometer, 14-nanometer, and 12-nanometer process nodes. As part of the lawsuit, TSMC is seeking "substantial monetary damages." The lawsuit appears to be in retaliation to multiple lawsuits GlobalFoundries filed in the US and Germany back on August 26. In its complaints, GlobalFoundries accused TSMC of infringing on 16 of its patents related to its 28nm, 16nm, 12nm, 10nm, and its most recent 7nm production lines. GlobalFoundries asked for an injunction on certain products that... Read more...
TSMC generated $7.75 billion in revenue during the second quarter of 2019, which is down 1.4 percent year-over-year but up 9.2 percent from the previous quarter. In a subsequent conference call with investors, TSMC talked about powering through softening economic conditions, and what the future holds in regards to 5-nanometer (nm) and 3nm process nodes. Referred to by TSMC as N5 and N3, the company is currently busy churning out N7 (or 7nm) silicon, as featured in AMD's third-generation Ryzen processors. AMD has also moved to a 7nm node for its newest generation Navi GPUs and is doing rather well for itself, with a gigantic assist from TSMC on the manufacturing front. Looking ahead, TSMC anticipates... Read more...
In just a few weeks, AMD is expected to roll out its new Ryzen 3000 series of CPUs based on its Zen 2 architecture. These new parts are being built by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) on a 7-nanometer node. Looking ahead, however, TSMC is already talking about 6nm and even 5nm, the latter of which will bring improved logic density by 1.8X over 7nm, the company says. TSMC talked a little bit about its 5nm manufacturing process during a recent earnings call with investors. The company said its 5nm development is "well on track," having entered a phase called "risk production" in the first quarter. It expects a "tape out" in the first half of 2020. That is when designs by clients... Read more...
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