Substrate Shortage Is Adding to Problem of Producing Chips

The chip shortage has highlighted the role of substrates that connect chips to circuit boards and the companies that make them. Substrate manufacturing offers low profit margins, so investment in this sector has also been low. Now, the lack of substrates has added to the problems of churning out enough chips to serve the global market. Substrates — panels of resin embedded with wiring onto which chips are affixed — connects the die at the heart of a chip to the motherboard, delivering power and data. Continue reading Substrate Shortage Is Adding to Problem of Producing Chips

Western Digital and Kioxia Merger Could Impact Chip Market

California-based data technology company Western Digital is purportedly in “advanced merger talks” with Japan’s computer memory firm Kioxia Holdings, according to sources who added that a deal could be inked as soon as mid-September. Western Digital’s shares rose 8 percent in reaction to the Wednesday news and continued to rise on Thursday. Sources said Western Digital would complete the deal with stock and that its chief executive David Goeckeler would run the combined company. According to Barron’s, the deal would be valued at about $20 billion. Continue reading Western Digital and Kioxia Merger Could Impact Chip Market

SIGGRAPH 2021: AWS on Next Steps for Content Production

At this week’s SIGGRAPH 2021, Amazon Web Services (AWS) chief technology officer for media & entertainment Eric Iverson spoke with some top technologists and artists about future trends in content production. With COVID-19, the media industry was forced to find ways to work remotely, which jumpstarted the move to the cloud for production and CG pipelines. Now, he said, “we’re seeing three big trends: the rise of remote production, the acceleration of production pipelines and the need to keep costs under control.” Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2021: AWS on Next Steps for Content Production

Intel Chief Warns the Chip Shortage Could Last Through 2023

Experts have warned that the semiconductor shortage will endure, and now Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger has added his voice with the prediction that the shortage could stretch into 2023. Volkswagen also cautioned that the shortage may get worse in the next six months. The chip shortage is not only causing production delays in the auto industry but raising prices for consumer electronics. Gelsinger said it could take one or two years to achieve a “reasonable supply-and-demand balance.” “We have a long way to go yet,” he suggested. Continue reading Intel Chief Warns the Chip Shortage Could Last Through 2023

Valve to Launch Steam Deck Handheld Device for PC Games

This December, Washington-based game company Valve will debut its long-anticipated Steam Deck, a handheld device for PC gaming with models priced at $399 with 64GB of eMMC storage, $529 with 256GB of NVMe SSD, and the top-of-the-line $649 version with 512GB of high-speed NVMe SSD storage. Steam Deck is additionally being promoted as a handheld PC, allowing users to install and operate web browsers, other game stores (including Epic Games Store) and other video streaming services. It can also be connected to a keyboard and mouse and offers a cloud saving feature. Continue reading Valve to Launch Steam Deck Handheld Device for PC Games

Chip Shortage Continues to Have an Impact Across Industries

Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger revealed it may take two years to ramp up chip production, while Advanced Micro Devices chief executive Lisa Su noted that her company is prioritizing high-end chips found in a PlayStation 5 game console or Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card over “lower-powered parts.” The auto manufacturing sector has been hit hard by the semiconductor shortage — with some indicating no end in sight. At John Deere, chief technology officer Jahmy Hindman said that he expects “we’re into this for the next 12 to 18 months.”  Continue reading Chip Shortage Continues to Have an Impact Across Industries

Laptops Embrace Smartphone Tech in Wake of the Pandemic

According to IDC, although computer sales have been decreasing for the past decade, during the COVID-19 pandemic PC sales shot up 50 percent or more per quarter compared with the previous year. As a result, laptop manufacturers are now integrating technologies once reserved for smartphones, including powerful processors, higher-resolution displays, and increased battery life. New designs such as tablets that snap onto keyboards (detachables) and thin laptops with 360-degree hinges that fold into tablet form are also emerging. Continue reading Laptops Embrace Smartphone Tech in Wake of the Pandemic

HTC Vive Targeting Enterprise Market with New VR Headsets

At ViveCon 2021, HTC debuted two new Vive virtual reality headsets, the HTC Vive Pro 2, which connects to the PC, and the standalone HTC Vive Focus 3. The company, which teamed with Valve to make its first Vive headset in 2015, has seen the VR business explode in numerous markets served by its Vive Pro and Vive Focus, aimed at enterprise markets and debuting in 2018.  The new headsets feature 5K resolution, a 120-degree field of view and RGB sub-pixels. The Vive Pro 2 will go on sale June 4 and Vive Focus 3 on June 27. Continue reading HTC Vive Targeting Enterprise Market with New VR Headsets

IBM Research Showcases Its New Groundbreaking 2nm Chip

IBM Research is using a semiconductor manufacturing technology featuring nanosheet components that has helped it create what it claims is the world’s first 2nm chips. The company says the chips are expected to arrive in 2024 or 2025. With 50 billion transistors on a single chip, the new processors will increase performance by 45 percent or reduce power consumption by 75 percent compared with the current technology used to make IBM server chips and Apple’s iPhone chips. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing makes today’s most advanced chips, which are 5nm. Continue reading IBM Research Showcases Its New Groundbreaking 2nm Chip

Google’s Ad Sales Shatter Records as Brands Shift to Digital

The pandemic-driven stay-at-home year supercharged Alphabet’s digital ad sales in Q1 to $55.31 billion, 34 percent up from a year earlier. Advertising sales via signature products such as Search, Google Maps and Gmail rose 30 percent to $31.88 billion as brands transitioned ad spending from print, TV and in-store promotions to Google services. Profit also more than doubled and per-share earnings were higher than expected. YouTube earned $6 billion, a 49 percent increase from last year, and total profit soared 162 percent from the previous year to almost $18 billion. Continue reading Google’s Ad Sales Shatter Records as Brands Shift to Digital

Nvidia to Power Giant AI Computing with Its Arm-Based CPU

Nvidia debuted its Arm-based Grace CPU for giant artificial intelligence and high-performance computing applications, the company’s first such data center CPU. At Nvidia’s GTC 2021 conference, chief executive Jensen Huang said Grace, which offers 10 times the performance using energy-efficient Arm cores, will first be used by the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The CPU, named for U.S. Navy rear admiral and computer programming pioneer Grace Hopper, is slated for availability in early 2023. Continue reading Nvidia to Power Giant AI Computing with Its Arm-Based CPU

Intel to Spend $20B on New Chipmaking Factories in Arizona

Intel’s new chief executive Patrick Gelsinger committed $20 billion to build two new semiconductor manufacturing plants in Arizona. Over the years, Intel has failed to keep up with the miniaturization of transistors, giving Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Samsung Electronics the lead. These two companies now make chips for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Amazon, Apple, and Nvidia but Gelsinger — who hopes for federal incentives — vowed to regain enough ground with the new factories to rival them. Continue reading Intel to Spend $20B on New Chipmaking Factories in Arizona

Biden Administration to Review Semiconductor Supply Chain

President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order for a 100-day review by the National Economic Council and National Security Council on the manufacturing and packaging of semiconductor chips, with a focus on supply chain blockages that have created shortages. The government review will also examine supply chain issues for other critical goods including minerals, medical supplies and high-capacity batteries. Later this year, supply chain assessments for other critical products will be conducted. Continue reading Biden Administration to Review Semiconductor Supply Chain

Samsung Looking to Launch Chip Manufacturing Plant in U.S.

Samsung Electronics may build an up-to-$17 billion chip manufacturing plant in Arizona, Texas or New York, according to sources, and is reportedly scouting two locations in the Phoenix area, two locations in the Austin vicinity and an industrial campus in New York’s Genesee County. The decision to build in the U.S. hinges on the availability of federal government incentives to balance out cheaper costs and government incentives elsewhere. Samsung’s plant would employ up to 1,900 people and open by October 2022. Continue reading Samsung Looking to Launch Chip Manufacturing Plant in U.S.

CES: Keynotes Address 5G, AI, Robotics, Pandemic, Security

CES 2021 was the first-ever all-digital version of the annual confab produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). This year’s show featured nearly 2,000 companies and more than 100 hours of conference programming. Despite its new virtual format, CES offered compelling keynote addresses by top executives from major companies such as AMD, Best Buy, General Motors, Microsoft, Verizon and Walmart who discussed plans for new products, services and business models, in addition to an array of changes underway designed to address a world facing a pandemic. Continue reading CES: Keynotes Address 5G, AI, Robotics, Pandemic, Security

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