Items tagged with semiconductors

There are many factors that play into the chip shortage that continues to affect the market for all kinds of various electronics, from graphics cards and game consoles, to certain smart automobile features and everything in between. Some of the reasons include rabid demand for cutting edge hardware, manufacturing challenges spurred by the pandemic, and cryptocurrency mining (as it relates to GPUs). According to TSMC, you can also add chip hoarding to the pile. It may seem unfathomable that companies would be able to hoard chips when there is a shortage, but let us offer you this context. Remember when the pandemic first began and toilet paper was as valuable as gold? Part of the reason toilet... Read more...
In case you haven't heard, China is trying to puzzle out its pollution problem, and one way it's doing that is by rationing power. The Chinese government has started selectively requiring energy producers to cool off in an effort to reduce emissions, although those organizations are also dealing with rising coal and natural gas prices, too—all amid ever-increasing energy demands. Unsurprisingly, this has had an effect on the semiconductor industry. Reports from Reuters, AP, and Nikkei Asia all indicate that factories in no less than five provinces have had to shut down due to exceeding local energy use quotas. These quotas were put in place by the Chinese government to stifle smog and preserve... Read more...
While we are over here complaining about the lack of graphics cards and, at times, out-of-stock CPUs (AMD's Ryzen 9 5950X and Ryzen 9 5900 were difficult to obtain for a period of time), the auto industry is facing related challenges of its own. As in, automakers could miss out on a whopping $210 billion in revenues this year, due in large part to the lingering chip shortage. It makes sense, considering today's vehicles are much more than just a bucket of bolts and steel slapped together. Automakers employ advanced electronics across their fleet—infotainment systems, electronic displays, and intelligent technologies like adaptive cruise control and of course self-driving capabilities are... Read more...
It could still be a bit before the industry-wide shortage of silicon eases up and dissipates completely. While it is difficult to precisely anticipate exactly when the situation will improve, there are signs that indicate it could be another long year for consumers and manufacturers alike. Such as the rising costs of wafers produced by TSMC. TSMC is one of the biggest players in the semiconductor space. All of the major players source at least some of their silicon from TSMC, both fab and fabless outfits, including Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA, to name just a few of its clients. So any pricing and supply data related to TSMC is relevant to the industry as a whole. Keeping that in mind, TSMC has apparently... Read more...
Frustrated by the global shortage of silicon that is causing cutting edge electronics to almost always be out of stock? You know, things like the latest game consoles (PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S) and discrete graphics cards for gaming. Well, not only could the chip shortage linger through all of next year, but now there's a rumor TSMC is raising prices of its silicon. If TSMC does actually increase the price of its wafers, you can bet those costs would be passed on to the consumer. After all, it's not like companies are keen to absorb higher manufacturing costs out of the goodness of their hearts—they are in this to make money for their owners and shareholders, obviously. These are... Read more...
Some of the world's leading chip makers have warned that the global shortage of silicon could linger into next year and perhaps even beyond, as unprecedented demand and disruptions in production from the pandemic (and other factors) have put the industry in a unique situation. Despite the warnings, at least one analyst firm is cautiously optimistic that the alarming semiconductor shortage could ease a lot sooner. How much sooner? The second half of this year, according to Goldman Sachs. If the prediction holds true, then technically we should see better supply (relative to demand) starting next month, which quite frankly is difficult to fathom at the moment. Call use jaded, but we don't see things... Read more...
Even though there is a shortage of silicon (relative to rabid demand), the pace of technology has now slowed. Just ask Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), one of the biggest players in the semiconductor space with clients such as Apple, AMD, Intel, and others. It's been producing 5-nanometer chips in volume since last year (and is building an advanced 5nm chip fab in Arizona), and is on track to enter the volume production phase for 3nm in the second half of 2022. The funny thing about nanometer designations is that smaller nodes and how a company goes about labeling them are the not the end-all-be-all in semiconductors. Intel, for example, would argue that its 10nm node is roughly... Read more...
It times of crisis, it is often said that things will get worse before they get better. That does not always hold true, but it sure seems to apply to the global chip shortage, which may not see a full recovery for years. While there is light way at the end of the tunnel, lead times on chip orders have been increasing to concerning levels. The lead times are not just increasing in one or two chip categories, either, but on all the major ones, according to Susquehanna Financial Group. The outfit began tracking this kind of data four years ago, and says the current lead times are it the longest they has been. Described as now being in the "danger zone," the firm says lead chip lead times jumped... Read more...
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...
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