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Samsung is currently producing Apple's next-gen A9 system-on-chips (SoC) at its Austin, Texas-based plant according to a report from Korean IT news site Electronic Times.
Considering TSMC built most of the A8 chips for Apple, this is a very big deal for Samsung - to lead production of the A9 processor for its biggest competitor. TSMC will still make some of Apple's A9 processors, but Samsung will be making the majority of them. Samsung is reportedly using their 14nm process to build Apple's A9 chip, as Samsung's Semiconductor Business President and General Manager, Dr. Kinam Kim, revealed the news in late October.
We don't know when Samsung will provide Apple with the first fresh out of the oven A9 processors to Apple, or when Apple will launch new products with the next-gen SoC. I think we'll see Apple announce a new iPhone earlier than normal, especially if Samsung is already making the A9 processor for the company.
China is a rising economic superpower that lacks one key ingredient to acquire their goal of complete self-sufficiency; the all-important processor. China has over 1.3 billion mobile phone users, but imports over 90% of their processors. This adds up to a whopping annual total of $232 billion in imported chips. China consumes over 45% of the worldwide chip production, and the lack of semiconductor technology is a huge strategic gap.
To that end, China has invested an unprecedented $5 billion in the last 18 months on procuring semiconductor-related companies, and that is just the beginning. These investments are largely funded by the Chinese government, and they have pledged to spend up to $163 billion over the next 5 to 10 years to reduce their reliance upon foreign chips. China is moving aggressively, and has plans to boost 2013 semiconductor revenue 40% by the end of next year.
Just nine years ago Intel was sitting at 65nm CPUs, reaching 22nm just three years ago now. We've been enjoying 14nm CPUs since last year, but now it's time to move onto 10nm, 7nm and beyond.
Broadwell arrived as the Core M processor, but for the 14nm desktop CPUs, we will be waiting until sometime in 2015. After the 14nm-based desktop Broadwell processors arrive, we have to look forward to 10nm sometime late next year or possibly 2016, while 7nm is planned for 2017 or so. The 10nm node is going to be an interesting transition, as the semiconductor industry will have to upgrade to EUVL technology.
While Intel edges closer to 14nm on the desktop, with 10nm now in its sights, what about AMD? AMD are currently using the 28nm process, which will be used throughout most of 2015, as they rely on fabrication plants like GlobalFoundries and TSMC do to their bidding. Intel could Tick-Tock ahead a few notches in that time, that's for sure.
AMD is hoping for some serious improvements in the energy efficiency of its APUs by 2020, where the chipmaker is aiming for a massive 25x improvement. In order to reach this goal, AMD will have to outpace historical energy efficiency by over 70%, but the company is optimistic that it can do this.
The company has goals in terms of energy efficiency, where it wants to have "more performance with less power", as well as "long battery life, sleek light weight form factors, cool and quiet computation" mixed with "lower energy consumption and utility bills, lower Total Cost of Ownership" and a "reduced environmental impact".
Using a comparison of a 35W notebook processor released this year, versus a 35W processor from two years ago, the new notebook processor is twice as fast. You can say that the energy efficiency has improved by 200% as well, but the older 35W processors no longer fit into notebooks. AMD needs to find a way to reduce power consumption, as well as increasing the performance of the processor. Up until now, we've seen Intel and AMD do one or the other, but not both to the extent of 200% leaps each time.
Intel's Retail Edge Program's end-of-year benefits have been released. If you're an employee of certain technology companies (mobile phones included), you can join up to this project and reap the sale rewards. This information has been provided through Chiphell's online forum.
There are two main deals on offer, seeing Intel clear out their Core i7-5930K 3.5 GHz processor's for as low as $159 US, alongside their Core i7-4790K 4.0 GHz for a crazy $79 US.
If you think you're eligible for this program, you can register through your employee's certification to the Intel sales network. Once tasks are completed, you add 'points' to your account, allowing you to reach certain levels of discounts ranging from Producer, to Rockstar and finally Rock Legend - providing the best pricing.
During the 2015 IEEE international Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in February 2015, Intel will reveal more technical details about its upcoming Haswell-EX processor. This processor will be the most complex CPU the company has ever made.
Intel's Xeon E7 v3 "Haswell-EX" processor will work in motherboards with up to eight sockets, packing 18 cores (and 18 Hyper-Threaded cores) for a total of 36 threads per CPU. We will also have 45MB of last-level cache (LLC), quad-channel DDR4 support, PCI Express 3.0 and much more. The new Intel Xeon E7 platform will usher in new reliability, availability, scalability (RAS) capabilities, something that will bring Intel closer to the older Itanium-based servers.
The Haswell-EX processor will be using Intel's 22nm Tri-Gate technology, packing in an insane 5.56 billion transistors, making it one of the most complex x86-based processors ever made.
As a result of a class-action lawsuit against HP and Intel, the chipmaker will have to give $15 to those who have purchased an Intel Pentium 4 processor about 15 years ago.
As of now, this applies to those who are residing in the United States and have purchased computers for personal/general use with Intel Pentium 4 processors between November 20, 2000 and June 30, 2002. The lawsuit points out that Intel and HP have deliberately manipulated benchmark scores for the Intel Pentium 4 processors at the time it was facing tough rivalry from AMD. There were also allegations that Intel Pentium III and AMD Athlon line ups at the time performed better in comparison to Pentium 4 line ups.
The lawsuit states that Intel secretly wrote benchmarks which would favour Pentium 4 processors. The company also paid software companies to make changes to favour Pentium 4's performance scores for third-party benchmark software, so that it will stand out against AMD. The benchmarks that were in question were WebMark2001 and SysMark 2001. Both companies have denied these allegations but said that they were willing to settle the matter via compensation. You do not require to show a purchase invoice that you've bought a Pentium 4 powered PC during that time frame, but you will need to present some proof such as the retailer's details and date of purchase.
Intel may have just launched its Haswell-E and X99 platform, but that doesn't stop the chipmaker from teasing its upcoming HEDT (high-end desktop) processor train from slowing down. We're now hearing about the next-gen HEDT tech, Broadwell-E, which will be based on Intel's 14nm technology, using the same LGA2011v3 package.
The new CPU will not be an architectural change, but it will provide smaller changes over what we have with the current Haswell-E processors. The new Core i7 Broadwell-E will be built on Intel's 14nm process, and will feature between 6 and 8 cores based on their, you guessed it, Broadwell microarchitecture. These cores will feature up to 20MB of L3 cache, and is pin-compatible with current Haswell-E, meaning we have quad-channel DDR4, too.
Intel could provide the full 40-lane PCIe interface, instead of the cut down 28-lane PCIe interface that the entry-level HEDT currently has. We should expect a 140W TDP, even with the die shrink, when the Broadwell-E processors launch in 2016.
AMD would be announcing its next generation notebook APU Carrizo-L in December. The processor is based on a 28nm quad-core architecture based on their Excavator core.
The notebook APU will have support for 2133MHz DDR3 memory. The news reported pointed out that Carrizo-L will succeed AMD's Beem and Mullins APU which is currently positioned for entry-level notebooks and tablets. It was also pointed out that this will also be 'officially' compatible with Windows 10. The rest of the operating systems, such as Windows 8.1, Ubuntu and SLED operating systems were added on the list.
The APU is designed for entry-level notebooks and will be placed to compete against Intel Pentium and Celeron series processors. But as far as mainstream segment is concerned, AMD would not be releasing the full-fledged Carrizo APU before March 2015 which will be succeeding after the long running Kaveri APUs. According to another report, Carrizo will be supporting both DDR3 and DDR4 along with an on-package memory die. It is also speculated that Carrizo series will have a desktop APU variant, which will be using the existing FM2+ socket motherboards. The expected timeframe for the desktop variant is also assumed for March 2015 launch.
Intel is forging ahead with its plans to reach 10nm, investing a massive $6 billion in upgrading its Fab 28 chip manufacturing plant in Kiryat Gat, Israel. This investment will support the manufacturing of the 10nm process node.
As it stands, Intel is standing on 14nm, which caused the company to experience unforeseen delays as the shrunken node provided more challenges than the company expected. 10nm is the next step for the company, with Israel's finance minister Yair Lapid claiming that Intel has settled on its facility in Kiryat Gat, with it being the first to push forward with 10nm.
This is thanks to the massive $6 billion investment, and a $300 million government grant as well as a ten-year reduction in corporate tax payments. Lapid says: "Intel's investment is a strategic asset for Israel's industry. This is the biggest investment by a foreign company ever in Israel and is further proof that Israel is at the forefront of technology and innovation".