New GPUs Showcased at Intel’s Innovation Developer Event

Intel announced the consumer GPU brand Arc last year, which the company now says will begin delivering in Q4. The Arc A770 Limited Edition desktop gaming card will be available October 12, starting at $329, “the sweet spot of desktop graphics,” according to CEO Pat Gelsinger, who said the GPU “delivers 65 percent better peak performance versus competition on ray tracing.” Intel says other new GPU models, including the Arc Pro A30M for mobile unveiled last month at SIGGRAPH, will also come to market by the end of the year. The new GPUs feature built-in ray tracing hardware, machine learning capabilities and industry-first AV1 hardware encoding acceleration. Continue reading New GPUs Showcased at Intel’s Innovation Developer Event

Nvidia, Intel and ARM Publish New FP8 AI Interchange Format

Nvidia, Intel and ARM have published a draft specification for a common AI interchange format aimed at faster and more efficient system development. The proposed “8-bit floating point” standard, known as FP8, will potentially accelerate both training and operating the systems by reducing memory usage and optimizing interconnect bandwidth. The lower precision number format is a key factor in driving efficiency. Transformer networks, in particular, benefit from an 8-bit floating point precision, and having a common interchange format should facilitate interoperability advances for both hardware and software platforms. Continue reading Nvidia, Intel and ARM Publish New FP8 AI Interchange Format

Microsoft Rolls Out Ampere-Powered ARM-Based Azure VMs

Microsoft’s new Azure Virtual Machines, featuring Ampere Altra ARM–based processors, will be generally available on September 1, debuting in 10 Azure regions and multiple availability zones worldwide. Microsoft says the VMs can also be included in Kubernetes clusters managed using Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Engineered to efficiently run scale-out, cloud-native workloads, Microsoft says that since the technology began previewing earlier this year hundreds of customers have tested the ARM-powered VMs “for web and application servers, open-source databases, microservices, Java and .NET applications, gaming, media servers and more.” Continue reading Microsoft Rolls Out Ampere-Powered ARM-Based Azure VMs

Biden Signs Bill to Boost Chip Production and Supply Chains

President Biden signed the expansive $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act into law yesterday. The legislation includes $52.7 billion in subsidies and tax credits to help strengthen U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, research and workforce development. In addition to revitalizing domestic manufacturing efforts, the package intends to “create good-paying American jobs, strengthen American supply chains, and accelerate the industries of the future,” explains the White House. The measure is also part of larger effort by the federal government to combat the growing influence of China, especially involving tech sectors and the potential impact to security and privacy. Continue reading Biden Signs Bill to Boost Chip Production and Supply Chains

vETC to Discuss Virtual Production During SIGGRAPH

The Entertainment Technology Center@USC will host its 6th vETC virtual conference at SIGGRAPH 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, August 9-11. During this year’s vETC at the Amazon Web Services booth (1039), speakers will present concepts, workflows, business models and case studies as they apply to virtual production. Many of the companies that worked on ETC’s latest R&D film project, “Fathead” will discuss their discoveries in sessions that will be recorded and posted on ETC’s YouTube channel. The 3-day program with list of speakers and gear to be demonstrated is available on the ETC site. Continue reading vETC to Discuss Virtual Production During SIGGRAPH

Taiwan’s Foxconn to Invest $800 Million in Chinese Chip Firm

China’s troubled Tsinghua Unigroup chip conglomerate is about to get an $800 million infusion from Taiwan’s Foxconn in the consumer electronics giant’s bid to expand its electric vehicle activity. Battery-powered cars generally require more semiconductors than those that run on gas, and analysts say Tsinghua Unigroup is attractive to Foxconn — which makes everything from iPhones to Xboxes — for its mobile chipset and memory expertise. In 2021, Foxconn secured a deal with U.S. automotive startup Fisker to jointly manufacture electric cars with automotive chips Foxconn plans to develop with Stellantis. Continue reading Taiwan’s Foxconn to Invest $800 Million in Chinese Chip Firm

Decline in Global PC Sales Expected to Impact Chip Demand

A slump in PC sales and crashing cryptocurrency markets appear to be tempering a demand for semiconductors spurred by COVID-19 era supply chain shortages. Inflation is another mitigating factor, as sales of laptops and high-end GPUs for gaming and cryptocurrency mining slacken. Research firm Gartner predicts global PC shipments will contract by 9.5 percent in 2022, with consumer demand projected to decline by 13.5 percent. Enterprise sales are also expected to drop, by 7.2 percent, according to Gartner. Those numbers align with the 10 percent PC sales decline Micron Technology has forecast. Continue reading Decline in Global PC Sales Expected to Impact Chip Demand

GlobalWafers Ties Proposal for Texas Foundry to CHIPS Act

Taiwanese semiconductor giant GlobalWafers wants to invest $5 billion to construct a state-of-the-art 300-millimeter silicon wafer factory in Sherman, Texas, but only if Congress can fund the CHIPS for America Act, which passed in January 2021 and has been promised $52 billion but sits with an empty purse. The new GlobalWafers factory would be the first of its kind in the U.S. in 20 years and is expected to create 1,500 jobs. GlobalWafers president Mark England says if government incentives are not unleashed soon the company will “pivot to South Korea.” Continue reading GlobalWafers Ties Proposal for Texas Foundry to CHIPS Act

Adobe Debuts ‘Content Credentials’ to Battle Misinformation

Adobe is releasing an open source developer toolkit that aims to prevent the spread of visual misinformation by including additional metadata that Adobe calls Content Credentials. The system is also designed to help content creators indelibly tag authorship to their work. Announced in 2019, the Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) project has released a whitepaper introducing the system, which is integrated into Adobe software. The CAI has teamed with hardware manufacturers and newsrooms to help ubiquitize its vision. The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have signed aboard. Continue reading Adobe Debuts ‘Content Credentials’ to Battle Misinformation

Nvidia Touts New H100 GPU and Grace CPU Superchip for AI

Nvidia has begun previewing its latest H100 Tensor Core GPU, promising “an order-of-magnitude performance leap for large-scale AI and HPC” over previous iterations, according to the company. Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang announced the Hopper earlier this year, and IT professionals’ website ServeTheHome recently had a chance to see a H100 SXM5 module demonstrated. Consuming up to 700W in an effort to deliver 60 FP64 Tensor teraflops, the module — which features 80 billion transistors and has 8448/16896 FP64/FP32 cores in addition to 538 Tensor cores — is described as “monstrous” in the best way. Continue reading Nvidia Touts New H100 GPU and Grace CPU Superchip for AI

Apple Eyes the Modem Chip Market Dominated by Qualcomm

Apple is reportedly poised to compete in the modem market. The company is said to be laying the groundwork to create chips that control the Internet connectivity of its mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. In theory, the move paves the way for an always-on future where smart glasses and augmented reality achieve ubiquity, and iPhones and other Apple mobile devices have faster download and streaming speeds. Observers say Cupertino’s high bar to entry means creating a chip that outperforms those made by Qualcomm, current manufacturer of Apple’s connectivity chips. Continue reading Apple Eyes the Modem Chip Market Dominated by Qualcomm

TSMC Posts Record Q1 Profits Despite Continuing Shortages

TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is reporting first quarter 2022 revenue between $17.6 billion and $18.2 billion, a 35.5 percent increase year-over-year. Compared to Q4 2021, the first quarter results represent a 12.1 percent revenue uptick and 22 percent growth in net income. This, despite ongoing fallout from supply chain shortages that company CEO C.C. Wei says he expects will continue triggering production constraints. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, where the company has a plant, were cited as the most significant stressors to the company’s semiconductor output. Continue reading TSMC Posts Record Q1 Profits Despite Continuing Shortages

Nikon Offsets Shrinking Camera Sales with Tech Components

Nikon Corp. is restyling itself from a company that primarily manufactures cameras to one that supplies components to other businesses. Its consumer market share eroded by smartphone image systems, the Japanese company’s revenue also plunged, dropping by about 50 percent since its 2013 peak of $8 billion. In February, Nikon upped its revenue forecast for the year ended March 31 to $4.35 billion, more than $370 million of it projected as operating profit, thanks in large part to components, which is expected to earn more profit than any other division, nosing past imaging. Continue reading Nikon Offsets Shrinking Camera Sales with Tech Components

Intel Vies for Lead in an Increasingly Complex Chip Business

The competition for global computer chip dominance depends largely on who can create the smallest components with the most advanced capabilities. So far, Taiwan-based TSMC leads, and the nation accounts for more than 90 percent of global production of advanced chips. By comparison, the U.S. claims about a 12 percent share, prompting the government to cite reliance on foreign-made processors as a cause of inflation and a national security threat. California-based Intel is heeding the challenge, spending billions on initiatives for AI computing, a high-end microprocessor plant expansion in Arizona and new plant in Ohio. Continue reading Intel Vies for Lead in an Increasingly Complex Chip Business

Twitter Rallies Midsize Tech Around the Open Internet Alliance

Twitter has used its Spaces platform to opine on rapidly developing EU digital regulations, an effort that after two years has become formalized as a policy advocacy group known as the Open Internet Alliance. Vimeo, Automattic, Czech search engine firm Seznam and German social network Jodel have joined Twitter as founding members. The company’s mission statement is twofold: protecting competition to “avoid entrenching the dominance of the biggest players,” and focusing more on “how content is discovered and amplified.” The group aims “to strengthen the advocacy voice of medium-sized companies that promote the Open Internet.” Continue reading Twitter Rallies Midsize Tech Around the Open Internet Alliance