Oversupply of NAND flash memory has pushed prices down
It's tough to get a pulse on the NAND flash memory market. On one hand, you have OCZ selling off all of its assets to Toshiba and filing for bankruptcy in part because a shortage of NAND chips put the company in a tough spot. Days later, we're finding out that NAND flash chip suppliers are stuck with an oversupply of parts and plan to cut production to try and stabilize prices.
Maybe PC component and mobile device prices won't rise, after all
News of a fire at SK Hynix's plant in China blazed across the Internet earlier this week, leading to speculation that prices for for devices like solid state drive (SSDs), tablets, and smartphones would all see a spike. Pictures showed black smoke billowing from the facility, and based on similar incidents to other memory makers in the 1990s, TrendForce surmised it might be six months or more before Hynix is fully operational.
In these lean economic times, a punch to the wallet hurts almost as much as a punch to the gut – and rising HDD prices have us all stumbling and woozy. Creative problem solvers with hefty mobos may have found their thoughts turning towards a mind-blowing RAM disk as one possible solution, given the rock-bottom prices of memory these days. Toss that out the window. Adata’s Chairman and CEO said that the DRAM production cutbacks that memory makers kicked in earlier in the year will take effect as early as January, which means – yep – you’ll be paying more for DRAM soon, too.
It’s a bad time to be one of the top two hard drive manufacturers in the world right now. Both Seagate and Western Digital maintain large manufacturing facilities in Thailand, which is currently battling extreme flooding that has sent people fleeing from their homes and devastated the nation’s infrastructure. Yesterday, Western Digital halted all production at its Bangkok-area facilities, and today, Seagate said that local supply chain issues caused by the flooding will probably affect its production schedule as well.
A massive explosion rocked the Foxconn's Chengdu manufacturing facility earlier this morning (about 7 P.M. their time). Reports say the explosion emanated from the A05 building, where Foxconn keeps the iPad 2 production line.
In a statement to Gizmodo, Foxconn representatives have confirmed two deaths and 16 injuries from the incident, with three of the injuries reported as serious. Although the situation is now said to be under control, it was bedlam earlier, with over 10 ambulances and 10 fire engines rushed to the scene.
To Geeks the floppy disk is more than just an old storage medium indicative of days gone past, but instead is an icon of an era when you really needed to know your stuff to operate a PC. Motherboards required jumpers, IRQ settings were still important, and the world was a magical place where an entire lifetime of important documents finally fit on a plastic disk that could slip easily into your pocket. If like me and you harbor a bit of nostalgia for the vintage 3.5-inch floppies, you might want to pickup a box now before they disappear completely.
According to Sony, who is the only remaining manufacturer of 3.5-inch floppies, production will end in March 2011 effectively killing off the technology once and for all. Inexpensive CDs, DVDs, and USB thumb drives are cited as key reasons why, but I'm sure everyone knew it was only a matter of time. Global disk sales have dropped from 47 million a year in 2002 to just 12 million in 2009 and the drive itself hasn't been standard on most PCs since around 2003. I'm sure decades from now you'll still be able to find the odd person still booting off one, but don't count on seeing them at your local retailer past mid next year.
Back before it was called the iPad, the Apple Tablet was delayed more times than Amy Winehouse has been in rehab. Are those days behind us? It all depends on who you ask.
According to Peter Misek, an analyst with Canaccord Adams, there's a "manufacturing bottleneck" that's throwing a wrench into production, and could ultimately delay the iPad's release.
"An unspecified production problem at the iPad’s manufacturer, Hon Hai Precision, will likely limit the launch region to the US and the number of units available to roughly 300K in the month of March," he writes, "far lower than the company’s initial estimate of 1,000K units. The delay in production ramp will likely impact Apple’s April unit estimate of 800K as well. It is also possible that, given the limited number of units available in March, the launch will be delayed for a month."
Misek's report has been receiving a ton of media attention, but according to Apple, it's all hogwash.
"The iPad will be available in late March," an Apple spokeswoman reiterated to Wired's Gadget Labs.
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, you have nothing to worry about if you're hoping to get your hands on an iPad this month. That's because Foxconn's component suppliers have said their supplies are right on schedule and that Foxcon (also known as Hon Hai Precision) will be able to ship 600,000 to 700,000 iPads in March, and up to one million units by April.
How many YouTube videos do you watch on a daily basis? Worse, how many YouTube videos do you send to your friends on a daily basis? If the answer is anywhere near "one or more," and I bet it is, then I've found the perfect Web app for you. Because one of the tough things about forwarding along a funny YouTube video is that you're forced to watch said person enjoy the experience at their leisure. You can't force them to click play, nor can you really appreciate their laughter and enjoyment as it happens in real-time: You don't know how far along they are in the video, after all.
To address this grave concern, some enterprising folk have come up with a Web App that's one part chat-room, two-parts edit bay. It's called Synchtube, and I bet you can guess exactly what it does by the name alone. Don't let that dissuade you from clicking the jump, however. I'll explore Synchtube's many (two) features and tell you exactly why this little Web app is the future of multi-person video viewing and hilarity preservation.
Designing and manufacturing a modern CPU is a huge project. It requires both backward compatibility and an understanding of where PC workloads are going in the future—a delicate balancing act made more difficult by the huge engineering staffs and massive dollar outlays involved. Let’s take a look at the steps needed to build a Core i7 or AMD Phenom II processor.
Before the manufacturing plant starts churning out chips, there are a few critical preliminary steps. Prior to the first circuit being laid out or the first simulation run, the designers need to know exactly what it is they’re designing. This phase takes input from many sources. Marketing gets involved, with predictions of what users will need when the CPU actually ships, usually two to four years in the future. Engineering and performance teams feed in billions of traces of actual applications being run on current-gen CPUs, so the designers can see how existing CPUs perform under real-world conditions.
Continue reading about the CPU production process after the jump.
Apple has cut their Q4 iPhone production proposal drastically from what they had originally planned, according to a report by Freidman Billings Ramsey analyst Craig Berger. Having originally set out for a 10 percent drop, recent data suggests that production could drop more than 40 percent.
This data however, doesn’t necessarily reflect a significantly slowing iPhone demand. While the production is slowing down, iPhone shipments won’t be 40 percent lower.
Lowered production numbers could have a lot to do with the hurting economy, and the fact that Apple deliberately produced an excess of iPhones in Q3 to help provide some excess supply.
According to Berger, “…iPhone production plans are being revised lower suggests that the global [macroeconomic] weakness is impacting even high-end consumers, those that are more likely to buy Apple's expensive gadgets, and that no market segment will be spared in this global downturn. This is a negative signal for global demand, in our view.”