Nvidia Introduces AI-Powered GPUs and Cloud LLM Services

“Computing is advancing at incredible speeds. Acceleration is propelling this rocket, and it’s fuel is AI,” Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang said in his 2022 GTC conference keynote, announcing two new AI services: the Nvidia NeMo large language model service, which helps customize LLMs, and the Nvidia BioNeMo LLM service, aimed at bio researchers. Nvidia also unveiled its GeForce RTX 40 Series GPUs, shipping Q4. Powered by the company’s new architecture, Ada Lovelace, the two new models — GeForce RTX 4090 and GeForce RTX 4080 — offer better ray tracing performance and AI-based neural graphics. Continue reading Nvidia Introduces AI-Powered GPUs and Cloud LLM Services

Apple Unveils New iPhone Line, Watch Ultra and AirPods Pro

Apple revealed its highly anticipated 5G-capable phones this week during its annual September product event. While all four models — including the iPhone 14 and larger iPhone 14 Plus — offer improved cameras and new safety features, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are the first to utilize Apple’s new A16 Bionic chip, built on the new 4-nanometer process. Apple calls it “the fastest chip in a smartphone.” All four models have satellite connectivity to send emergency messages in areas without cell coverage. The company also debuted the Apple Watch Ultra, aimed at high-performance athletes, and the AirPods Pro. Continue reading Apple Unveils New iPhone Line, Watch Ultra and AirPods Pro

Replenished GPU Inventory Results in Return to MSRP Pricing

The graphics processor unit drought may be over as retailers report inventory is plentiful with prices returning to pre-scarcity norms. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti’s that were marked up to nearly double the MSRP on sites like eBay are now available for approximately their intended $2,300 price. “GPU prices continue to drop on a monthly basis,” reports Tom’s Hardware, attributing the favorable conditions in part to the cryptocurrency crash, which has “resulted in more mining firms shutting down,” selling off hardware and not competing for new units. The easing of COVID-19 supply chain bottlenecks is another mitigating factor. Continue reading Replenished GPU Inventory Results in Return to MSRP Pricing

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

Chip Manufacturing Delays Threaten Next-Gen Smartphones

The global semiconductor shortage that has plagued the supply chain for the past two years is threatening to affect advanced chips for next-generation smartphones as well as impacting the data centers critical to powering their apps. High-performance chips with tiny transistors had to a large extent sidestepped the scarcities that impacted the auto industry, appliances and basic consumer electronics. Now everything from production volume to manufacturing equipment has analysts worried about whether the world’s top smart chip manufacturers — TSMC and Samsung Electronics — will be able to keep up with customer demand. Continue reading Chip Manufacturing Delays Threaten Next-Gen Smartphones

Biden Visits a Samsung Semiconductor Plant in South Korea

President Biden kicked-off his three-day visit to South Korea with a trip to a Samsung Electronics semiconductor plant, emphasizing an interest in strengthening supply chains and boosting competition with China in the technology sector. Biden remarked that the U.S. wants to shore-up business ties with allies including South Korea to offset the influence of  “countries that don’t share our values.” Located in Pyeongtaek, the plant churns out some of Samsung’s most advanced memory chips and is the largest semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was present, marking the pair’s first in-person visit. Continue reading Biden Visits a Samsung Semiconductor Plant in South Korea

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

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

Nvidia Introduces New Architecture to Power AI Data Centers

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang announced a host of new AI tech geared toward data centers at the GTC 2022 conference this week. Available in Q3, the H100 Tensor Core GPUs are built on the company’s new Hopper GPU architecture. Huang described the H100 as the next “engine of the world’s AI infrastructures.” Hopper debuts in Nvidia DGX H100 systems designed for enterprise. With data centers, “companies are manufacturing intelligence and operating giant AI factories,” Huang said, speaking from a real-time virtual environment in the firm’s Omniverse 3D simulation platform. Continue reading Nvidia Introduces New Architecture to Power AI Data Centers

Pandemic Prepared Chipmakers for New Scarcity Due to War

Two years of global chip shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have left the semiconductor industry better prepared for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war has created turmoil in two countries that supply neon gas and palladium, essential ingredients to create processors. One estimate puts the countries’ combined output of semiconductor-grade neon at anywhere from one-quarter to half, while positing Russia has in the past originated as much as a third of the metal palladium. Potential shortages of both materials has raised concern in an industry already struggling to meet demand. Continue reading Pandemic Prepared Chipmakers for New Scarcity Due to War

Intel to Acquire Israel’s Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 Billion

Intel announced it will purchase Israeli chipmaker Tower Semiconductor in a deal valued at $5.4 billion. Tower — which specializes in analog semiconductor solutions for high-growth markets including mobile, automotive, medical devices and power management — will make Intel instantly more competitive in sectors dominated by Taiwan’s TSMC. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger cited “Tower’s specialty technology portfolio, geographic reach [and] deep customer relationships” among the assets that will help scale Intel to “a globally diverse end-to-end foundry” to help meet growing chip demands across the nearly $100 billion addressable foundry market. Continue reading Intel to Acquire Israel’s Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 Billion

Commerce Secretary Sounds Alarm on Global Chip Shortage

U.S. demand for semiconductors was as much as 17 percent higher in 2021 than it was in 2019, yet there hasn’t been a commensurate increase in the available supply, with median inventory falling to less than five days in 2021, from 40 days in 2019, according to a Commerce Department report. “If a COVID outbreak, a natural disaster, or political instability disrupts a foreign semiconductor facility for even just a few weeks, it has the potential to shut down a manufacturing facility in the U.S.” that makes anything from medical devices to automobiles to computers, the report concludes. Continue reading Commerce Secretary Sounds Alarm on Global Chip Shortage

TSMC Earmarks Up to $44 Billion in Competitive Chip Sector

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) says it will increase production capacity by up to 47 percent for 2022 as demand continues to surge amid a global chip shortage. To support the increase and technology upgrades, the world’s largest contract chipmaker plans to set a company record for capital expenditure in 2022, with spending at $40-44 billion (compared to $30 billion in 2021). Speaking at an investor conference, company CFO Wendell Huang said about 70-80 percent of the 2022 capex will fund development of advanced 2nm, 3nm, 5nm and 7nm processors as TSMC fights to maintain its dominant market share while rivals step up. Continue reading TSMC Earmarks Up to $44 Billion in Competitive Chip Sector

CES: CTA’s Research VP Steve Koenig on ‘Trends to Watch’

According to CTA vice president of research Steve Koenig’s “Tech Trends to Watch” presentation at CES in Las Vegas, developments in 2022 will emerge from the transportation, space tech, sustainable technology and digital health sectors. Innovations will include electric vehicles, micro-mobility solutions and space tourism as well as alternative power sources, smart cities and homes and, in digital health, an increased use of wearables as well as an emphasis on solutions for mental health. Last year also saw historic highs of consumer demand in a wide variety of sectors. Continue reading CES: CTA’s Research VP Steve Koenig on ‘Trends to Watch’

Samsung Merges Mobile and Consumer Electronics Divisions

Samsung Electronics Co. is streamlining its corporate structure, merging its mobile and consumer electronics units and paring down to two CEOs to simplify its structure and focus on the logic chip business. Promoted to vice chairman and CEO, TV research and development expert Jong-Hee (“JH”) Han will continue to head Visual Display while also leading the merged SET Division, combining mobile and consumer electronics. Kye-Hyun Kyung has also been named CEO, running Device Solutions, a B-to-B components division led by chips. The former head of Samsung Electro-Mechanics brings experience in flash memory and processor design. Continue reading Samsung Merges Mobile and Consumer Electronics Divisions