TSMC's 2012 chip sales were nearly four times higher than that of Globalfoundries.
Remember M.C. Hammer? Someone press play on "Can't Touch This," which should be the theme song for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the top contract chip supplier in 2012. Barring something extraordinary, TSMC will probably lead 2013 sales too, considering its nearest competitor, Globalfoundries, raked in almost four times less cash last year.
We've been pretty critical over Intel's decision to delay the adoption of USB 3.0, thus ensuring another generation of USB 2.0 products before we step forward to the faster the spec. Unfortunately, Intel's move appears contagious and we've received word that several IC makers are delaying the rollout of USB 3.0 chips too.
These include Taiwan-based IC design houses ASMedia Technology (a subsidiary of Asus), VIA Labs (a subsidiary of VIA), and Etron Technology, plus one U.S.-based firm, Fresco Logic. All four design houses had grand plans of implementing USB 3.0 chips onto motherboards by the end of 2010, but none of them have yet passed certification by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF).
According to some Taiwan-based motherboard makers, IC design houses have been sending out buggy USB 3.0 samples that are basically unusable. The challenge for these chip makers comes not only in terms of hardware, but in developing their own software since Windows 7 doesn't natively support USB 3.0.
It's not all bad news, though. NEC continues to supply USB 3.0 parts, like the ones found on boards built around AMD's 890FX chipset, and Intel is reportedly slapping the SuperSpeed spec onto its upcoming Cougar Point chipset for desktops using Sandy Bridge CPUs. These could ship as soon as November.
Hynix today announced what it claims are the industry's first 2Gb (gigabit) GDDR5 chips using the 40nm manufacturing process. Boasting 7Gb/s of bandwidth and processing power of up to 28GB/s with a 32-bit I/O, these rank as the highest density graphics memory available.
But it's not all about sheer speed. Hynix says its new 2Gb chips also impress on the power consumption front. With an operation voltage of 1.35V, energy consumption drops down by 20 percent over previous parts built on 50nm technology, the company claims.
Hynix will begin mass producing the new chips in the second half of next year to coincide with increased demand for high-performance graphics memory.
Despite the recent push towards going green, power management on the PC has a long ways to go, but a new breakthrough could shakes things up in a big way. Both Rohm Co Ltd and NEC of Japan are working on what's called zero-standby-dissipation IC technology, which is an integrated circuit that waits in Off mode for an input before instantly turning itself on, and then turning right back off.
Already in prototype form and expected to ship in quantity before 2010, the innovative chips are made from nonvolatile logic and merged memory. By making the entire chip nonvolatile, the integrated circuits consume no power when in standby mode, only turning themselves on when power is needed. And because of the logic circuit, the chips do not need data retention, which means power to the entire chip can be cut in standby.
"This technology has enormous potential in applications such as games, where the system is usually sitting and waiting for player input," says an un-named source at Rohm.