semiconductors

  1. AlphaAtlas

    AMD Talks 3D Stacking at Rice Presentation

    AMD has talked up their "chiplet" based approach used in their upcoming products, and according to some reports, Marvell is already selling products based on the chiplet concept. But the next logical step from that approach is to move from 2D to 3D, where different dies are "stacked" on top of...
  2. AlphaAtlas

    TSMC's Profits are Expected to Decline

    The Taiwanese news outlet Digitimes seems to have many sources in the chipmaking industry, and according to their cited "market observers," Taiwain Semiconductor is expected to post their first annual profit drop in 8 years. For reference, both Nvidia and AMD manufacture their latest GPUs on...
  3. AlphaAtlas

    Researchers Develop RAM That Works at 300C

    A group of researchers claim to have developed gallium nitride memory devices that can work at temperatures over 300 degrees Celcius (or 572 Fahrenheit, which is coincidentally about 572 Kelvin as well). As any overclocker already knows, silicon-based transistors don't work particularly well...
  4. AlphaAtlas

    Intel Might Become the World's Top Chipmaker Again

    Many still think of Intel as the top semiconductor manufacturer in the world, but the chip giant actually lost the crown to Samsung back in 2017. The gap only widened in 2018, but, thanks to the cliff DRAM and flash prices are falling off of right now, IC Insights thinks that Chipzilla could...
  5. AlphaAtlas

    Researchers Create a Simpler Chip Fabrication Process

    Researchers from MIT and other institutions have reportedly come up with a new 2D circuit fabrication method that could be significantly cheaper than traditional chip making processes. Instead of progressively depositing multiple layers of different materials onto a disposable substrate, the...
  6. AlphaAtlas

    Intel Spotlights Quantum Computing Research

    At the American Physical Society meeting in Boston this year, Intel is highlighting several of the advances they've made in the field of quantum computing. Between Monday and Thursday this week, Intel will hold several talks on things ranging to 49-qubit processors, the testing of qubits on...
  7. AlphaAtlas

    Intel Uses Extreme Cooling for Their "Cryoprober"

    However impressive your phase change or LN2 setup may be, it looks like Intel has you beat. According to a recent press release from the chip giant, Intel is making extensive use of extreme cooling in their Cryogenic Wafer Probe, a contraption designed to analyze quantum bits on 300mm wafers at...
  8. AlphaAtlas

    AMD's Mark Papermaster Discusses 7nm Process Technology

    In case you missed the original presentation, AMD just uploaded the part of their Next Horizon event where they discussed the upcoming use of 7nm process technology. AMD has traditionally stuck with their former internal fab, GlobalFoundries, for most chip designs, and they're reportedly still...
  9. AlphaAtlas

    Intel's MESO Transistor Project Could See Results in Two to Five Years

    Late last year, Intel announced that they were working on a new type of transistor that could offer a massive performance leap over current CMOS chips. "MESO" transistors, as they call them, could operate at voltages as low as 100mV, but at the time, Intel said the technology was at least a...
  10. AlphaAtlas

    Intel Confirms that FinFET MRAM is Production Ready

    Late last year, EE Times published a report claiming that Intel was already shipping MRAM products to undisclosed customers. At the time, Intel only confirmed that their MRAM was "production ready" and didn't elaborate any further. But now, the news outlet says that Intel presented a paper on...
  11. AlphaAtlas

    Facebook Is Allegedly Working on Custom Machine Learning Hardware

    Nvidia GPUs are the undisputed king of the machine learning hardware market today, but more and more companies are throwing their hat into the AI ring. Google has already introduced their machine learning-focused TPU, and other giants like Amazon and Intel are reportedly following suit, while a...
  12. AlphaAtlas

    TSMC Puts a Price on Their Production Accident

    Earlier this year, substandard chemicals forced Taiwan Semiconductor's Nanke 14 factory to shut down production after the company reportedly lost "tens of thousands of wafers." The production of cutting edge 16nm/12nm NVIDIA, MediaTek, and Huawei chips were reportedly affected by the incident...
  13. AlphaAtlas

    TSMC is Allegedly Apple's Sole A13 Supplier

    A recent Digitimes report claims that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will be "the exclusive supplier of Apple's custom-designed chips dubbed the A13 that will power the 2019 series of iPhones." Apple sourced chips from multiple foundries in the past, which led to measurable power...
  14. AlphaAtlas

    Future Processors Could Circulate Coolant Between 3D Chip Stacks

    As we've noted in previous articles, manufacturers are quickly hitting the limits of chip shrinking, which means cutting edge processors will increasingly have to turn to advanced packaging solutions (like Intel's "Foveros" and EMIB designs or AMD's chiplet-based products) for performance gains...
  15. AlphaAtlas

    Intel Confirms Oregon Fab Plans

    About two weeks ago, Oregon Live published a report claiming that Intel is preparing to spend "billions" on a massive expansion to their D1X research factory. Yesterday, Intel confirmed the report, telling the 50 residents near the research facility's campus that it will "build a third phase,"...
  16. AlphaAtlas

    Researchers Develop Silicon Interconnect for GPUs

    IEEE Spectrum reports that Rakesh Kumar and his associates are working on a "wafer-scale" interconnect for GPUs. Instead of fabricating multiple GPUs on a massive silicon wafer, or using power hungry and slow traditional interconnects like existing supercomputers use, Kumar wants to use a...
  17. AlphaAtlas

    SemiWiki Compares TSMC's and Samsung's 7nm Processes

    Chip manufacturing processes play a critical role in the performance, and price, of CPUs and GPUs, but the chip making market is different than it was a few years ago. Globalfoundries dropped out of the bleeding edge process race, while rumors suggest that Intel's fabs aren't really a viable...
  18. AlphaAtlas

    The Future of Silicon Scaling

    As we've said before, squeezing more performance out of denser silicon chips every few years is becoming a more difficult endeavor. Intel's 10nm process has been nothing but trouble so far, Globalfoundries dropped 7nm because it was too expensive, and TSMC (who are reportedly making AMD's...
  19. AlphaAtlas

    Researchers Allegedly Break Write Speed Record With MRAM Test Chip

    Researchers from Tohoku University in Japan say they've developed a 128mb MRAM test chip that can achieve a write speed of 14 nanoseconds. The researchers say that's "currently the world's fastest write speed for embedded memory application with a density over 100Mb." The title of the associated...
  20. AlphaAtlas

    Foxconn Is Reportedly Building a $9 Billion Chip Fab

    Anonymous sources told Nikkei Asian Review that Foxconn, the largest manufacturer in the world, is getting into the chip making business. Foxconn, the Chinese city of Zhuhai, and other investors are reportedly dumping about $9 billion USD into a 300mm chip fab, and construction is set to start...
  21. AlphaAtlas

    Intel May Leave the Custom Foundry Business

    Following a update to their manufacturing plans earlier this week, rumors are swirling about Intel's future in the custom foundry business. As pointed out by SemiWiki, Intel pitched the idea of opening up their chip manufacturing business to other companies in 2014, but public info about that...
  22. AlphaAtlas

    Intel is Allegedly Shipping 14nm Products With MRAM

    Alternative non-volatile memory technologies like MRAM are a hot area of research, and some companies like Everspin are already producing MRAM products for niche use cases. However, a recent report by EE Times claims that Intel is shipping products made on a "22FFL" process with "the first...
  23. AlphaAtlas

    Researchers Fabricate 2.5 Nanometer Transistors

    Researchers from the University of Colorado and MIT claim to have fabricated the smallest 3D transistors ever. The engineers used a relatively new process called thermal atomic layer etching to create FinFET transistors on an indium gallium arsenide base. The researchers claim their transistors...
  24. AlphaAtlas

    MRAM Found to Outperform SRAM Cache at 5nm

    As we've said before, Moore's law is slowing down and new nodes become less practical, so semiconductor companies and institutions are pouring more and more time and resources into alternative memory research. Magnetoresistive random access memory is one of the more promising alternatives, and...
  25. AlphaAtlas

    Intel Demonstrates MESO Logic Device as Alternative to CMOS

    Working with researchers at Berkeley, Intel has "invented" a magneto-electric spin-orbit device that could theoretically operate 10-30 times more efficiently than today's consumer electronics. While Intel doesn't directly comment on the rapidly approaching limits of CMOS scaling in their press...
  26. AlphaAtlas

    IBM Unveils Analog Chip with Phase Change Memory

    At the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting, IBM unveiled a 8-bit analog chip with phase change memory. Abu Sebastian, the lead researcher for the project, says that in-memory calculations are a key to the efficiency of the chip. Instead of storing a single bit of information like a...
  27. AlphaAtlas

    Qualcomm Abandons $44 Billion NXP Acquisition

    In what was reportedly set to be "the biggest semiconductor deal globally," Qualcomm announced plans to acquire NXP Semiconductor back in 2016. But, as U.S. and China relations deteriorated, the Chinese government later claimed they would block the deal, and Qualcomm announced that they were...
  28. AlphaAtlas

    Chiplet Based Designs are Gaining Momentum

    While AMD recently gained notoriety for using a "chiplet" based design in their EPYC CPUs, Semiconductor Engineering says that numerous other companies are working on chiplet-based products. The report claims that Marvell is actually the first, and only, company to deploy the chiplet concept...
  29. AlphaAtlas

    Alternative Memory Like MRAM Was a Focus at VLSI 2018

    Spinning platters aside, there are three major types of writable memory used inside modern computers: SRAM, DRAM, and NAND. A considerable amount of money has been spent optimizing all three over the years, which means most companies are hesitant to invest in new memory technologies. However...
  30. AlphaAtlas

    Researchers Develop Heat Sensing Transistors

    Heat is the enemy of high power electronics. As chips continue to shrink, power density has been steadily increasing, and it's becoming more and more difficult to effectively protect chips from heat damage. But researchers at Stanford university have come up with a solution can be baked into...
  31. AlphaAtlas

    MIT Researchers Make Spintronics Breakthrough

    As silicon microchip manufacturing becomes more difficult, and more expensive, manufacturers are increasingly looking for alternative methods the chip industry needs to sustain its growth. One promising area is the field of spintronics, which exploits an electron's spin in addition to its...
  32. AlphaAtlas

    GlobalFoundries Spins Off Custom ASIC Division

    Yesterday, GlobalFoundries announced the formation of Avera Semiconductor, made up of what used to be GlobalFoundries' Custom ASIC Business. Interestingly, the new company claims it will offer clients "access to alternate foundry processes at 7nm and beyond." In spite of previous promises that...
  33. AlphaAtlas

    Samsung Begins 7nm EUV Production

    Samsung announced their 7nm EUV process some time ago, and it looks like production came right on schedule. In a press release, Samsung announced that it finished development of its 7nm LPP EUV process, and is starting wafer production. The new process uses extreme ultraviolet radiation with a...
  34. AlphaAtlas

    Researchers Develop New Manufacturing Process for 2D Nanosheets

    Researchers from UCLA, UT Austin, and Hunan University developed a novel way for making semiconducting nanosheets. The approach involves "electrochemical intercalation of quaternary ammonium molecules into 2-D crystals, followed by a mild sonication and exfoliation process." Among other things...
  35. AlphaAtlas

    IBM Integrates Graphene Into Wafer Dies

    Graphene transistors are nothing new, in fact IBM has been working on them for quite some time. However, actually using graphene in large scale integrated circuits is a challenge. In an article published in Nature, IBM researchers claim they've successfully used graphene as a base to hold other...
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