Articles about Semiconductor

Burned chips. pic by shutterstock

We burned chips in 2016... but then semiconductor sales got healthy again. Whew

Global semiconductor revenue is set to rise 7.2 per cent over 2016 because of ramping demand for DRAM and app-specific standard products for the IoT and allied markets, according to Gartner's digital witch-doctors. ASSPs (app-specific standard products) are like ASICs but for general customers, not individual ones. "After a …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jan 2017

Can all-flash arrays, spinning disks and hybrid really live together?

Conventional wisdom says that for performance-sensitive applications, you want all-flash arrays (AFAs), while for less-critical applications and bulk storage, disk is better. How can you use them in conjunction with each other? What would a joint AFA/hybrid/disk environment look like? Broadly speaking, there are two types of …
Danny Bradbury, 19 Jan 2017
axe_648

Toshiba may sell silicon biz to contain fallout of nuke plant problems

A troubled nuclear power station strategy in the USA has Toshiba considering the partial sale of its Japanese semiconductor business. Nikkei (in Japanese) names Western Digital as a potential buyer, along with several investment funds. The company hopes to get between $1.77bn and $2.65bn for a 20 per cent stake in the …
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Qualcomm/NXP, Nvidia and Intel: The race to define the car platform

CES 2017 So the stakes are high, and many companies are already playing hard. There were important announcements from two of the most established chip suppliers in the auto sector, NXP and Nvidia – the former particularly closely watched because it will soon be part of Qualcomm. Its launches reminded the industry how strategic an …
Wireless Watch, 12 Jan 2017

What's that surging down the Yangtze? It's a 3D NAND flash flood

China's Yangtze River Storage Technology (YMTC) has started building a 3D NAND flash plant. YMTC, through its ownership of contract chip manufacturer XMC, has started building a memory semiconductor fab on a 13-hectare site at the Donghu New Technology Development Zone in Wuhan. Tsinghua Unigroup, which owns 51.04 per cent of …
Chris Mellor, 03 Jan 2017
frpom chris mellor pic https://regmedia.co.uk/2016/12/22/sk_hynix_facility.jpg

Rising flash demand looks non-volatile. Time to build a fab

+Comment SK Hynix, the world's second largest DRAM and NAND fab company, is going to build a new flash foundry in South Korea. The facility will be constructed in the Cheongju Technopolis site, with design starting in January 2017, and construction of the shell and clean room from August 2017 through to June 2019. The estimated cost is …
Chris Mellor, 22 Dec 2016

Mangstor discreetly appoints ex-pet supplies shipper as its CEO

+Comment Mangstor quietly changed its CEO and no one noticed. This NVMe-over-fabrics accessed, NVMe drive array startup is now run by president and CEO Craig Gilmore, who lists no previous professional involvement with storage array and server-storage access technology in his LinkedIn CV whatsoever. Get this – Mangstor’s announcement …
Chris Mellor, 20 Dec 2016
Matthew with the magic spheres

Bluetooth: Remember us? Internet of Things before it was a Thing?

Analysis Bluetooth 5 has finally been unveiled, with headline claims of 200-metre range (quadrupling that of Bluetooth 4) and doubled bandwidth (now 2Mbps). There is a clear focus on Internet of Things devices and applications, but no sign of the proposed mesh protocol, which would do even more to improve the spec’s capabilities. The …
Wireless Watch, 14 Dec 2016
Nantero NRAM chip

Someone just chucked another $21 million at carbon nanotube memory techies

Nantero’s 16-year march to carbon nanotube memory products just got another slug of cash to help it on its way, over $21m, to be specific. NRAM (non-volatile RAM) is a DRAM replacement and not a DRAM-flash gap-filler, like, for example, Intel and Micron’s 3D XPoint. The firm was founded in 2000 and its technology involves a …
Chris Mellor, 12 Dec 2016

Chip biz Aixtron begs for help: Just let the Chinese eat me!

With its proposed acquisition by a Chinese investment group now having been shot down in two hemispheres, Aixtron is looking for government help to get another deal through. The German semiconductor manufacturer is reportedly hoping to work with regulators in Germany on a plan that would allow it to go forward with its sale to …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Dec 2016

What can we use to hit Intel between the eyes, thinks Qualcomm – a 10nm ARM server chip

Qualcomm says it has started shipping to customers samples of the Centriq 2400, its 10nm 64-bit ARMv8-A general-purpose server-grade system-on-chip. The mobile chip designer, based in San Diego, California, has recruited engineers from AMD, Intel and Broadcom, as well as tapped its internal pool of techies, to work on the …
Chris Williams, 07 Dec 2016

China and Russia aren't ready to go it alone on tech, but their threats are worryingly plausible

Feature China and Russia are populous, wealthy nations that the technology industry has long-regarded as exceptional growth prospects. And then along came Edward Snowden, whose suggestions that American vendors were complicit in the United States' surveillance efforts gave governments everywhere a reason to re-think their relationship …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Dec 2016

Broadcom quietly dismantles its 'Vulcan' ARM server chip project

Broadcom is shutting down efforts to develop its own server-class 64-bit ARM system-on-chip, multiple sources within the semiconductor industry have told The Register. It appears the secretive project, codenamed Vulcan, did not survive Broadcom's acquisition by Avago and is gradually being wound down. Engineering resources …
Chris Williams, 07 Dec 2016

US axes $722m takeover of chip biz by Chinese investors. Thanks, Obama!

President Obama has issued an executive order to kill the proposed acquisition of semiconductor specialist Aixtron by Chinese investors. The White House on Friday put out the presidential order citing national security concerns in denying the $722m buyout by Aixtron SE by Grand Chip Investment GMBH. The order suggests that …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Dec 2016

Why your gigabit broadband lags like hell – blame Intel's chipset

Intel's Puma 6 chipset, used in gigabit broadband modems around the world, suffers from latency jitter so bad it ruins online gaming and other real-time connections. The semiconductor giant is preparing a firmware update to correct spikes of lag and bouts of packet loss that repeatedly flare up in home internet hubs in America …
Chris Williams, 03 Dec 2016
Vintage BBC experimental colour transmission testcard section

Samsung fires $70m at quantum televisions

Samsung's beefing up one of the divisions that hasn't been burned by its Galaxy Note 7 disaster, acquiring a US company that specialises in quantum dots for displays. Under its previous name Color IQ, the takeover target QD Vision was already licensing technology to TV makers like Philips, LG, Sony, and TCL Group in China. “ …
Fibre, image via Shutterstock

It's a nice day for a Net wedding: Macom buys Applied Micro Circuits

Connectivity collaborators Macom and Applied Micro Circuits have decided to tie the knot, with Macom laying out US$770 million in cash and shares to seal the deal. In September, the two companies got together with BrPhotonics to show off a 100 Gbps pulse amplitude modulation (PAM4) module running on a single wavelength. Macom …

Intel lays out its AI strategy until 2020

Intel has flexed its AI muscles and beefed up its services with a bunch of new products and collaborations, in an effort to adapt to the technological upheaval of intelligent software. At Intel’s first “AI Day” in San Francisco, Brian Krzanich, CEO, said the company is “continuing to evolve” and working to provide an “end-to- …
Katyanna Quach, 18 Nov 2016
Sad Android

Security bods find Android phoning home. Home being China

Security researchers have uncovered a secret backdoor in Android phones that sends almost all personally identifiable information to servers based in China. The firmware is managed by Shanghai Adups Technology, and according to the company, is contained on over 700 million phones worldwide, including phones available in the …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Nov 2016
The Starship Enterprise

Rolling out flash in the enterprise? It's a matter of application

Flash SSD is changing the way that we store data. Vendors would like you to use it for all of your applications – and you probably will at some point – but which applications does it make most sense for today, and which might you have to work a little harder on to justify its use? Some rarified high-performance applications …
Danny Bradbury, 10 Nov 2016
A man handcuffed to a briefcase

Chinese chap in the clink for trying to swap US Navy FPGAs with fakes to beat export ban

A Chinese national starts a 15-month stretch behind bars for trying to swap reprogrammable chips destined for the US Navy with fakes, and smuggle the real gear out of the country. Xianfeng Zuo, 38, was sentenced on Friday in Connecticut after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods. Zuo, of Shenzhen, …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Nov 2016

Str-NAND-ed: Flash chip drought hits tech world

A biting shortage of NAND flash has upended the storage chip supply chain, forcing vendors to quote customers elongated lead times – in some extreme cases by more than four months. Semiconductor marketplace DRAMeXchange warned weeks ago the component shortfall that surfaced in 2016's third quarter was likely to worsen in the …
Paul Kunert, 02 Nov 2016

Qualcomm agrees to acquire semiconductor biz NXP for $47bn

Chip designer Qualcomm has agreed to purchase Dutch rival NXP Semiconductors for $47bn. As rumoured, the San Diego-based business and its Eindhoven-based target announced on Thursday that they had come to a definitive agreement to see Qualcomm acquire NXP in an all-cash deal worth $47bn, including debt. NXP Semiconductors is …

ARM: Hold my beer, we'll install patches for your crappy IoT gear for you

ARM TechCon Processor designer ARM will squirt security fixes directly into internet-connected gadgets to hopefully keep them defended from hackers. Manufacturers of Internet-of-Things gizmos and other embedded products have complained that updating gear in the field is too much hard work. That means devices are rarely patched when …
Chris Williams, 25 Oct 2016
Cast of '90s show ER, from L to R: Julianna Margulies, Eriq La Salle, George Clooney, Anthony Edwards, Sherry Stringfield and Noah Wyle. Credits, images, characters and others all belong to Constant c Productions, NBC Universal, Amblin Television and Warner Bros. Television.

Paging 1994: Crap encryption still rife in devices

Pager communications in industrial environments often run over unencrypted channels, creating a hacker risk in the process. Industries such as energy, manufacturing, and transportation still make extensive use of pager technologies that have been superseded in other sectors of the economy. Researchers at Trend Micro warn that …
John Leyden, 25 Oct 2016

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
1nm_transistor

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
Nantero_CNT_tube

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
Newsroom

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