Intel is cutting its shipments of desktop processors to PC do-it-yourself distributors during Q4 to increase production capacity for notebook and server processors, industry sources say. In reducing its desktop PC chip shipments from about 8 million units to 6 million units, Intel may cause a drop of 10% to 20% in shipments by Taiwan-based motherboard manufacturers, those sources note.
Dialog Semiconductor told investors that it has not experienced any lessening demand for its chips from Apple, its primary customer, although other suppliers have warned about their profits due to slowness in iPhone sales. "We are not so specific to the 3D phone or camera, we are across all the products," Dialog CEO Jalal Bagherli said.
Intel brought out the Neural Compute Stick 2, a $99 thumb drive based on the Myriad X Vision Processing Unit, a chip fabricated with a 16-nanometer FinFET process. The faster chip is suitable for use in drones, industrial robots, smart cameras and smart home devices, and it can prototype artificial intelligence algorithms, such as those in convolutional neural networks for image recognition.
SK Hynix introduced a 16-gigabit DDR5 DRAM chip, meant for applications in artificial intelligence, big data analytics and machine learning. The chipmaker said the new memory device uses 30% less power than its preceding DDR4 DRAM, while increasing data transmission speed to 5.2 gigabits per second, compared with the DDR4 DRAM's 3.2Gbps.
Chipmakers that are producing ICs with 7-nanometer features are confronting costs much higher than previous process nodes, a development that caused GlobalFoundries and United Microelectronics Corp. to stick with 14nm FinFET processes, at least for now, this analysis notes. Also complicating the industry transition is the greater emphasis on safety-critical applications, such as automotive and industrial use cases, and the advent of advanced packaging technologies.
STMicroelectronics CEO Jean-Marc Chery is aware that his company faces "very intense" competition in supplying semiconductors for advanced automotive electronics, and in addressing the China market. The chipmaker collaborates with Mobileye for chips going into advanced driver-assistance systems, he notes, adding, "Mobileye designs complex [vision, safety] software, but Mobileye needs a strong semiconductor company like ST."
While digital circuit design is mostly automated, with extensive reuse of IC building blocks, the same cannot be said for analog design, this analysis notes. "Analog automation will never be at the same level of digital, and that is OK," says Magdy Abadir of Helic.
Yangtze Memory Technology is sampling its 64-layer 3D NAND flash memory devices, scheduling volume production of the chips for the third quarter of next year, industry sources say. The Chinese chipmaker will move on to 128-layer 3D NAND flash with volume production in 2020, skipping over 96-layer flash memory chips, those sources note.
GlobalFoundries is fabricating custom microcontrollers designed by indie Semiconductor with its 55-nanometer Low Power Extended platform, qualified for automotive electronics. The chips are based on Arm's Cortex-M4 MCU cores and are in volume production at the foundry's 300-millimeter wafer fabrication line in Singapore.
The Audi A8 next year will feature six cameras, five radar devices, one lidar chip and a dozen ultrasonic sensors, providing the vehicle with Level 3 autonomy. The complexity of automated driving presents a number of challenges in design and testing advanced automotive electronic systems, this analysis notes.
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