Articles about Semiconductor

Google: We look forward to running non-Intel processors in our cloud

Google has gently increased pressure on Intel – its main source for data-center processors – by saying it is "looking forward" to using chips from IBM and other semiconductor rivals. The web advertising giant said it hopes to use a mix of "architectures within our cloud" in the future. Back in April, Google revealed it had …
Chris Williams, 15 Oct 2016

Pound falling, Marmite off the shelves – what the UK needs right now is ... an AI ethics board

Analysis The UK government has been urged to establish an AI ethics board to tackle the creeping influence of machine learning on society. The call comes from a Robotics and Artificial Intelligence report published yesterday by the the House of Commons science and technology select committee. It quotes experts who warned the panel that …
Katyanna Quach, 13 Oct 2016

SSDs in the enterprise: It's about more than just speed

Enterprise solid state drives are gaining traction, but their predominant focus is still performance. The need for speed has driven SSDs into applications where HDDs previously reigned, but for those of us who aren’t high-frequency traders, solid state will need to demonstrate some other benefits. What are they, and how …
Danny Bradbury, 11 Oct 2016

Boffins eschew silicon to build tiniest-ever transistor, just 1nm long

Boffins from the United States Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and beyond say they've cracked a new way to make very, very, small transistors. As explained in their Science paper MoS2 transistors with 1-nanometer gate lengths, the authors explain silicon is a lovely substance with …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Oct 2016
Zilog's IXRD1004 High Power Two-Phase Digital Power Factor Correction (PFC) reference design

Zilog reveals very, very distant heir to the Z80 empire

Mostly-forgotten silicon-maker Zilog is alive and has just released a new product that shares a little DNA with the Z80 CPU that powered many of the earliest mass-market microcomputers. The Z80 famously powered Sinclair's iconic ZX 80, ZX 81 and Spectrum computers. The CPU also made it into the Radio Shack TRS-80, the Osborne …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Oct 2016
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

Qualcomm eyes NXP lunch

California chip designer Qualcomm is considering buying Netherlands-based NXP for something like $30bn, allegedly. We're warned that the deal could fall through, and if it does happen, it could be done and dusted within the next two to three months. Qualcomm designs system-on-chips and modem components for smartphones and …
Chris Williams, 29 Sep 2016

New LITE working group takes up ARMs against the IoT

Linaro, the collaborative engineering effort focused around Linux for ARM-based devices, has spawned a new working group to develop open reference platforms for connected products, with an inevitable eye on the Internet of Things (IoT). Dubbed the Linaro IoT and Embedded (LITE) Segment Group, the new initiative is launching …
Dan Robinson, 27 Sep 2016

Zombie Moore's Law shows hardware is eating software

After being pronounced dead this past February - in Nature, no less - Moore’s Law seems to be having a very weird afterlife. Within the space of the last thirty days we've seen: Intel announce some next-generation CPUs that aren’t very much faster than the last generation of CPUs; Intel delay, again, the release of some of …
Mark Pesce, 22 Sep 2016

iPhone 7's Qualcomm, Intel soap opera dumps a carrier lock-out on us

Analysis Love rat Apple two-times its long-suffering squeeze Qualcomm with dishy Intel – and it's going to keep the baby but only let some of us see it. Over a cheap bottle of chardonnay one dark night in Cupertino, Intel wooed Apple with flimsy promises. The pair felt a connection (around the 1.9GHz mark) after the iPhone maker opened …
Chris Williams, 18 Sep 2016
dog noses around in fridge. photo by Shutterstock

Self-stocking internet fridge faces a delivery come down

Something for the Weekend, Sir? In the future, I will keep a vibrator in my shoes. This will allow me to walk down the street without having to hold it in my hands or stick it into my ear. My satnav smartphone, that is. With the help of Hi-Tec’s Navigator, vibrating pods in my footwear will guide me left and right along my walking route without recourse to …
Alistair Dabbs, 09 Sep 2016
Photo by drserg / Shutterstock

Fujitsu's billion-dollar ARM supercomputer delayed by up to 2 years

Fujitsu's monster ARM-powered supercomputer, the Post-K, will miss its 2020 deadline. The $910m project has stalled because its engineers need more time to design, test and perfect the machine's processors, we can confirm. Fujitsu was hired by Japan's boffinry nerve-center RIKEN to produce a roughly 1,000 peta-FLOPS …
Chris Williams, 07 Sep 2016

Deep inside Nantero's non-volatile carbon nanotube RAM tech

Two Fujitsu semiconductor businesses are licensing Nantero NRAM technology with joint Nantero-Fujitsu development to produce chips in 2018. They will have several thousand times faster rewrites and many thousands of times more rewrite cycles than embedded flash memory. NRAM, non-volatile RAM, is based on carbon nanotube (CNT) …
Chris Mellor, 31 Aug 2016

'Neural network' spotted deep inside Samsung's Galaxy S7 silicon brain

Hot Chips Samsung has revealed the blueprints to its mystery M1 processor cores at the heart of its S7 and S7 Edge smartphones. International versions of the top-end Android mobiles, which went on sale in March, sport a 14nm FinFET Exynos 8890 system-on-chip that has four standard 1.6GHz ARM Cortex-A53 cores and four M1 cores running at …
Chris Williams, 22 Aug 2016

Intel fabs to churn out 10nm ARM chips for LG smartphones next year

IDF16 Intel's chip fabs will roll out 10nm ARM-compatible processors starting next year. The state-of-the-art factories will produce the mobile system-on-chips for LG Electronics using a 10nm process, with the door left wide open for other ARM licensees to jump in and use the assembly lines. At the heart of the collaboration deal …
Chris Williams, 16 Aug 2016
Smartphone showing Chinese flag

China forms 27-strong alliance to grow silicon standards

27 Chinese semiconductor companies have formed a “High End Chip Alliance” (HECA) aimed at creating a more integrated ecosystem across the Middle Kingdom and with an ambition to create new silicon standards. Some of the members don't have enormous profiles outside China – hands up if you're familiar with Tsinghua Unigroup, …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Aug 2016
Cat peeks outside cardboard box. Photo by shuttertsock

NVMe over Ethernet startup flashes 'system' as it preps for decloak

An NVMe over Ethernet storage startup is slowly emerging from stealth, exhibiting a system in Seagate’s booth at the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, August 8-11. This startup, Pavilion Data Systems, says it is innovating at the intersection of storage, memory and networking so as to offer breakthrough performance and …
Chris Mellor, 08 Aug 2016
Giant burger

Juniper Networks grabs silicon photonic developer Aurrion

Juniper Networks is jumping into the silicon photonics business, with the acquisition of fabless designer Aurrion. Founded back in 2008 by Intel/IBM alumnus Dr Alexander Fang, Aurrion has spent the last eight years developing and commercialising indium phosphide-based (InP) transceivers. Integrating InP into silicon …
Twisted light image - University of Rochester

Boffins shrink light-twister to silicon scale, multiply bandwidth 10x

We've known for some time that the orbital angular momentum (OAM) of light (colloquially known as “twisted light”) can be modulated to carry information, but until now, it's only been demonstrated on large-scale laboratory lasers. That's changed with work from the State University of New York at Buffalo and the Polytechnic …
Close up of etched silicon

Brit chip bods ARM quietly piling up cash. Softbank will be happy

Cambridge-based processor design business ARM has posted substantial revenue and profit increases for the months in the runup to the Brexit vote. The company being bought by Japanese megacorp Softbank for £24.3bn, though Softbank has promised that this will be a Brexit in ownership only. ARM will retain its "senior management …
Multi-level burger too big to eat. Photo by Shutterstock

Get yer gnashers round 64-layer 3D NAND, beam WDC and Toshiba

Western Digital, via its acquired firm SanDisk, along with Toshiba, has started pilot production of 64-layer 3D NAND. These third generation BiCS3 chips are being fabbed at the Yokkaichi, Japan facilities, operated in a joint venture between WDC and Toshiba. Currently Samsung is shipping 48-layer 3D V-NAND chips. 64 layers is …
Chris Mellor, 27 Jul 2016
A plate of horderves

Cavium revenue, losses rise

Networking semiconductor outfit Cavium has reported rising revenue for Q2 2016, but its losses are widening. Its revenue for the quarter was US$107.2 million, up 2.1 per cent on the same period last year and up 5.2 per cent from Q1 2016. However, losses are up. The company announced GAPP net loss of $7.4 million, up from $3.8 …

By 2040, computers will need more electricity than the world can generate

Without much fanfare, the Semiconductor Industry Association earlier this month published a somewhat-bleak assessment of the future of Moore's Law – and at the same time, called “last drinks” on its decades-old International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS). The industry's been putting together the roadmap every …

Intel and pals chuck money at another Fibre Channel killer

+Comment Kazan Networks just got $4.5m A-round funding from Intel, Samsung Ventures and Western Digital Corp for its storage array access acceleration technology. So what? So Fibre Channel and iSCSI external array access are poised to be devastated by NVME over Fabrics (NVMeF) and Kazan is developing a hot little ASIC number that it …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jul 2016

Official: AMD now stands for Avoiding Miserable Death

AMD fans are over the moon today as their favorite processor designer has sold more chips than expected in the three months to June 25. The Sunnyvale, California, biz beat analysts' estimates on revenue and earnings per share in a billion-dollar quarter that ended in the black rather than the usual red: the Radeon maker banked …
Chris Williams, 21 Jul 2016

Semiconductor $s to fall

Worldwide semiconductor spending is forecast to shrink by 0.7 per cent to $64.3bn, according to the data druids at Gartner. Economic instability, inventory excess, and crappy demand for PCs, tablets and mobile phones over the past three years have taken a toll on growth prospects. ® Newsroom
Paul Kunert, 21 Jul 2016
Woman at gym lifts weights with arms. Photo by Shutterstock

Softbank promises stronger ARM: Greater overseas reach and double the UK jobs

Brit-tech success poster child ARM holdings is to be acquired by Japanese telecom multinational Softbank. ARM, whose chip designs drive the majority of the world’s smartphones, is under offer for a remarkable £24.3bn - a premium of 43 per cent over current stock price. Softbank, whose last yearly revenue totalled 19.5 …
Gavin Clarke, 18 Jul 2016

Brit chip biz ARM legs it to Softbank for $32bn

Updated British semiconductor designer ARM is about to be acquired by Japan's SoftBank. The New York Times reports the deal is imminent. The FT has put a value on the deal: US$32.4bn. That's a premium of about $10bn over ARM's market capitalisation. SoftBank is a sprawling company that operates a telco in its Japanese home but is …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jul 2016
China keyboard, image via Shutterstock

Qualcomm's China JV licences ARMv8-A for server CPUs

Huaxintong Semiconductor Technology, the joint venture between Qualcomm and China's Guizhou Province, has advanced its ambition to build ARM-based server silicon by licensing the ARMv-8-A architecture. Guizhou province has set itself up as a centre of excellence for big data and internet infrastructure. Top-tier Chinese telcos …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Jul 2016

Much more Moore's Law: Wonder-stuff graphene transistor trickery

Scientists have developed a way to “chemically grow” transistors that are only a few atoms thick in a bid to give poor old battered Moore's Law another reprieve, according to new research published in Nature Nanotechnology. Packing more transistors on a microchip becomes increasingly difficult as shortening the distance …
Katyanna Quach, 11 Jul 2016

China really wants to get its hands on Idaho's 3D NAND tech

China is looking to license 3D NAND technology from Micron. Beijing wants to free itself of dependence on US, Korean and Japanese memory technologies by building its own, indigenous capability. A report in Chinese-language publication Commercial Times, referenced by DigiTimes, says Tsinghua Unigroup is allying with Wuhan …
Chris Mellor, 11 Jul 2016

Etch a stretch: 3D NAND layer cake flop leads to 'string stacking'

Backgrounder Adding 3D NAND layers is butting up against aspect ratio limitations in the chip production process, which will limit the number of layers. String stacking is a technology that could provide an escape from this aspect ratio trap. Samsung is shipping 48-layer 3D NAND, its third generation product; that’s the equivalent of 48 …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jul 2016

Boffins slap quantum dots on diamonds to create mutant nanomaterials

Researchers have found a new way to speed up the process of doping nanomaterials by adding quantum dots to tiny diamonds, which could advance electronics and quantum computing in the future, according to a paper published in Nature Communications. Nanomaterials have properties that are useful in electronics. Electrons travel …
Katyanna Quach, 09 Jun 2016

Marvell's fave vendors sniff latest pair of SoCs

Marvell Semiconductor is sampling its Armada 7000 and Armada 8000 system-on-chips (SoCs), based on the ARM Cortex-A72 architecture. Marvell reckons the SoCs are good for appliances from SOHO up to data centres, with dual- and quad-core versions, and are in the hands of "tier 1" vendors' design teams. The centrepiece of the …

German boffins smash records with 37km wireless spurt at 6Gbps

A team of German scientists has managed to establish a 6Gbps wireless link over a distance of 37 kilometers using newly developed antennas and receivers. The Advanced E Band Satellite Link Studies team established a connection between a base station and the town of Wachtberg using hardware with monolithically integrated …
Iain Thomson, 25 May 2016

Seagate ready for the HAMR blow: First drives out in 2017

Seagate is reducing its manufacturing capacity while still focusing on high-capacity disk drives for cloud and hyper-scale storage of unstructured data. This means it needs higher capacity drives, requiring new read-write head technology. It is a high-technology, nano-scale, clean room manufacturing process, and drive read- …
Chris Mellor, 12 May 2016

Boffins flip the unflippable: Meet the latest storage extender contender

A team of international researchers from the University of Nottingham has found a new material – copper manganese arsenide – which could be the future of computer storage, according to a study published in Science. Using a semiconductor as a template, a thin film of CuMnAs(copper manganese arsenide) crystals was grown on the …
Katyanna Quach, 12 May 2016

Cavium snubs MIPS, picks 64-bit ARM for next-gen network SoCs

Cavium – the brains behind the chips in big-brand networking products – has plumped for the ARM architecture over MIPS in its next-generation network processors. It's a sign that more and more serious networking gear is likely to be ARM powered rather than MIPS in future. The Octeon-TX family of system-on-chips, announced …
Chris Williams, 02 May 2016
hands waving dollar bills in the air

If the Internet of Things will be SOOO BIG why did Broadcom just quit the market?

Cypress Semiconductor has made Broadcom an offer too good to refuse: US$550 million in cash for its wireless Internet of Things business unit. The deal covers the whole kit-and-kaboodle: Broadcom's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee Internet of Things product lines, its WICED brand and developer community, and the relevant …

Intel loses its ARM wrestling match, kicks out Atom mobe chips

Intel has thrown in the towel on smartphone processors after losing round after round against the ARM architecture – the dominant brains of the mobile world. Intel today scrapped the development of its Atom processor codenamed Broxton, which was aimed at powering high-end smartphones and tablets. Broxton was expected to …
Chris Williams, 30 Apr 2016

D-Link gets new chair

A new chairman will soon lead D-Link as Roger Kao steps down. John Hsuan has over 20 years experience in the sector and is an honorary deputy chairman at Taiwan’s first semiconductor company, UMC. ® shutterstock_225964027-pizz
Katyanna Quach, 28 Apr 2016
AMD CEO Lisa Su speaking at the firm's 2015 financial analyst day

Hands up, who prayed for AMD? Well, it worked

About a year ago, we asked you to pray for AMD. It's working. AMD has announced a joint venture with a Chinese manufacturer that will churn out server processors using mini-Chipzilla's technologies in the Middle Kingdom. It also said it will bank about $1.5bn from three new games console chips over the next three or four years …
Chris Williams, 22 Apr 2016
Close up of etched silicon

ARM Holdings gives the thumbs-up, reports revenue and licensing uptick

Chip designer ARM has reported revenue and profit increases in Q1, with its shares trading up despite a moody FTSE 100 this morning. Q1 2016 saw a year-on-year dollar revenue rise for ARM at 14 per cent (22 per cent in £) when its results were posted today. Pre-tax profits of £137.5m are an increase of 14 per cent year-on-year …
Sony's Xperia Z5

Killer Japan quake jolts Sony factories to a halt

Sony says that it will be resuming production at several of its largest Japan manufacturing facilities following a series of devastating earthquakes in the region, though some other factories remain offline. The Japanese electronics giant said that its Kumamoto Technology Center semiconductor manufacturing plant has been …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Apr 2016
Micro:Bit photo

Hands on with the BBC's Micro:Bit computer. You know, for kids

First look The BBC Micro:Bit will start rolling out to all year-seven pupils in the UK from this morning. What the kids will receive is a matchbox-sized single-board computer with 256KB of flash and 16KB of RAM, manufactured by element14. Yes, you read that right, the same amount of RAM as the Acorn-designed BBC Micro Model A of 35 …
Dominic Connor, 22 Mar 2016

Former Intel CEO Andy Grove dies, aged 79

Former Intel CEO Andrew Grove has died, aged 79. Grove's story is in many ways an American classic. Born András István Gróf in Hungary in 1936, Grove was Jewish. He and his mother survived World War Two by hiding under assumed identities. His family then fled the failed Hungarian revolution of 1956, which saw the Soviet Union …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Mar 2016

Hand in hand, TSMC, ARM head to 7nm server chip land

ARM and TSMC today announced they are working together to make chips featuring 7nm FinFETs a reality. This follows on from their work on 16nm and 10nm FinFETs. Taiwan-based TSMC describes itself as "the world’s largest dedicated semiconductor foundry," and it churns out chips for the likes of Nvidia, AMD, Qualcomm, Apple, …
Chris Williams, 15 Mar 2016
A Chinese laundry on the back streets of Shanghai

SEC: Qualcomm hired relatives of Chinese officials to seal biz deals

Qualcomm has coughed up some cash after it was accused of bribing Chinese officials by giving their relatives plum jobs. The California chip designer today settled out of court with US financial watchdog the SEC for $7.5m. The deal ends an embarrassing investigation into claims the company broke the Foreign Corrupt Practices …
Chris Williams, 02 Mar 2016
Network Functions Virtualisation

NFV players push their wares to mobile operators at MWC

MWC16 Among the new phones, chargers, VR headsets and big-booth-photo-shoots* that dominated the Mobile World Congress media agenda this week, there's also been a slew of network function virtualisation (NFV) announcements. Cisco's hopped on board, announcing an NFV solution built out of Cisco UCS Servers, Nexus switches, and a " …

Hijack wireless mice, keyboards, with $15 of kit and 15 lines of code

Fake wireless computer mice and keyboards can be used to compromise laptops from up to 100 metres away using the portable peripherals from at least seven big vendors including Logitech, Microsoft, and Amazon, software engineer Marc Newlin says. The attacks target the typically cleartext and insecure communications between a …
Darren Pauli, 24 Feb 2016
Graphene on glass schematic

A glass of soda-and-lime is the straight dope for graphene

Researchers from the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in the United States have turned up an unexpected property of common glass: it makes a good substrate for graphene-based electronics in applications like solar cells and touch-screens. While graphene has had “wonder-material” status for a few years now, it's difficult …