Tag: capacity

Samsung spends $9.2 billion to increase fab capacity

SamsungSamsung Electronics has written a $9.2 billion to boost capacity at its new South Korean chip plant.

This represents a 64 percent increase over announced investment plans and is its biggest ever commitment to a single production facility.

It is being seen as a move to make semiconductors to offset slowing smartphone earnings.

The plant is scheduled to begin production in 2017 and will make DRAM memory chips and some mobile processors.

A Samsung spokeswoman said the firm has not decided on any additional investments or what products the new plant would make.

The new plant, which will be located in Pyeongtaek south of Seoul, has led to some worries about the industry’s medium-term outlook.

Samsung and SK Hynix have reported robust memory chip earnings in recent quarters, partly because careful capacity management across the industry.

Samsung has always said it will seek sustainable memory chip profit growth, suggesting that it will not initiate a price war.

But the investment does mean that it will be investing shedloads into expansion in what is likely to be DRAM.

Apple monopolises global touch panel market

Apple is playing the tough boy in the playground, taking nearly 60 percent of the global touch panel capacity and leaving its competitors to fight for the tight left over supply.

That’s according to Digitimes, which quotes sources from upstream component makers, which have said Apple’s dominance is as a result of an internal goal to ship 40 million iPad products in 2011.

But while it’s all well and good for Apple, tablet PC maker sources are grumbling that the  component shortage is causing a detrimental effect on their shipment volumes. They claim that they can’t keep up with orders to be unable to catch up with their orders, a problem experienced especially by second-tier players.

The sources also pointed out that touch panels are suffering the most serious shortage as a result of Apple hogging the supply from manufacturers such as Wintek and TPK.

It’s apparently taking the supplies away from companies including RIM, Motorola and Hewlett-Packard, which we imagine are none too pleased at Apple’s tactics.

Glass capacitive touch panels are the most difficult components to get hold of, but according to the sources they are trying to bridge the problems by using thin-film capacitive touch panels, which although work, have clear differences in terms of ruggedness and feel.  

Sources from iPad distributors told the DigiTimes that last year Apple pushed its OEM partners, giving our high orders and  and causing issues of low yields of touch panels. They added that this year Apple’s strategy of taking up most of the capacity should help the company quickly expand its sales.

Although this of course impacts on its competitors, they aren’t going to take the issue lying down, they’ve gone running to smaller touch screen suppliers such as Sintek Photronic, Egalax-empia Technology (EETI), AimCore Technology and J Touch.

Bob Raikes, Managing Director of European Display Research Specialist Meko, said  “Touch technology has been around for a long time but with more than twenty alternative technologies, every application seemed to need a different variation, depending, for example on stability, the use of a stylus and accuracy.

“Touch technology also tended to limit the visual quality of the display. That meant that it remained a niche, or a series of niches. Then Apple’s iPhone started to use projected capacitive touch technology. which didn’t degrade the image and allowed a new level of user experience. In the last year, there has been a huge swing to use projected capacitive technology in high volume portable devices, and the supply chain has been struggling to catch up.

“Some older LCD factories are being converted to make touch screens, but panel makers are also doing a lot to integrate this level of touch function directly into the display itself to reduce cost and further improve performance”.

Sino-American wants its sapphire-wafers to shine

Sino-American Silicon Products reckons its output of sapphire wafers will swell to 500,000 a month – or six million a year within three years, to make it the top dog manufacturer of the LED component in Taiwan.

Half a million is a far cry from the 60,000 wafers it managed over December 2010 utilising 10 factories. It thinks revenue will increase 25 percent sequentially and boost output to 180,000 a month by the year’s end. Silicon wafer manufacturing shot up by 60 percent over 2010 while sapphire-wafer manufacturing tripled year on year, according to Taiwan Economic News. Sino-American may have earned, say reports, $120 million in after-tax net income for 2010. 

The shiny blue light continues to steamroll: Sapphire wafer production gave Sino-American a revenue of $13 million in 2010, accounting for a two percent chunk of the overall $746 million, though it wants to hoist the mark up to the five percent figure by 2011’s end.

It is considering capacity expansion with a kitty of $166 million saved away – and is reportedly on the hunt for a hectare or three to bung new factories on. 

Kingston launches HyperX MAX USB 3.0 SSD

Kingston has launched the HyperX MAX 3.0 external storage device, expanding its solid state drive offering with transfer speeds of “up to ten times faster” than USB 2.0.

The drive, which comes in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacity versions, is the latest addition to Kingston’s HyperX range and is targeted at the enthusiast and professional market or anyone looking for storage that can be written to or accessed at extremely fast speeds.

The SSD has a read speed of 195MB/s and a write speed of 160MB/s when connected with a USB 3.0 compatible device. It is also backwards compatible with USB 2.0, but speeds will obviously drop when running through a USB 2.0 port.

To demonstrate the superior speeds of the device, Kingston did some internal testing, which showed a transfer time of only 1 minute and 12 seconds for a 10GB movie file. Tests using USB 2.0 showed the time increase dramatically to 5 minutes and 52 seconds.

The SSD measures 2.89-inches by 4.67-inches by 0.47-inches. It consumes 4.5 Watts of power, has an operating temperature of 0 to 60 degrees Celsius, a storage temperature of -20 to 85 degrees Celsius, and is USB-IF SuperSpeed certified. It also features a three-year warranty.

The HyperX MAX 3.0 will be available in December. Prices will be £106.55 ($170), £188.05 ($300), and £376.05 ($600) respectively for the 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB models.

Intel's third generation 25nm SSDs spotted

Intel’s third generation SSDs, which use 25 nanometer memory, have arrived, many months before their rumoured launch date in 2011.

A Chinese auction site called Taobao, which is similar to eBay, sold a number of Intel X25-M SSD G3’s according to Dutch-language Tweakers.net. The X25-M SSD G3 utilises 25 nanometer MLC flash memory, which Intel developed with Micron earlier this year.

Three different capacities were available on Taobao, the 160GB, 300GB, and 600GB models. There is also an 80GB model planned, but that was not for sale.

Intel has already released the specifications for the SSDs, but initial tests on those acquired through Taobao show that they are not quite as advertised. 

On the 300GB model a seqential read speed of 250MB/s is supplied by Intel, but on benchmarking tests with HD Tune it came in slightly under par at 218MB/s. 

It had an advertised write speed of 170MB/s, but tests showed this also slightly less at 167.4MB/s. The difference in this instance, however, is minimal and would hardly be noticed.

The 160GB version has a retail price of around €260 ($360), with the larger 600GB one going for a wallet-eating €865 ($1,200), continuing the trend of significantly overpriced solid state drives.

There is no word yet on when these SSDs will be available for the rest of the world, but rumours suggest a February 2011 launch.

Toshiba makes hard drive capacity breakthrough

Toshiba is to make an announcement later today about a data storage breakthrough, which is set to give users significantly higher capacity hard drives.

The company has apparently made significant headway with research of magnetic storage bit-patterened media, which is set to be the technology behind the hard drives of the future, making up for the limitations of current hard drives, which use dated technology that has reached its limit for capacity growth.

Current hard drives use magnetic material spread across the disk surface, with data stored over a large area. Bit-patterned technology, however, allows for storage of data within a single magnetic bit – and there can be thousands of them upon a single disk.

Toshiba said that it has managed to produce a sample which organises the bits in a pattern of rows, which is vital for identifying the location of specific data. Without this ability the technology might have greater capacity, but it would be impossible to sort through.

While the technology is still in the development stage, it should increase hard drive space by roughly 400 percent. Current technology has a density of 541 gigabits per square inch, but the bit-patterned media has a density of around 2.5 terabits per square inch, according to InfoWorld.

Toshiba is set to formally announce the breakthrough today at the Magnetic Recording Conference in San Diego. It expects the first hard drives to use the technology will be out by 2013.

Nokia Siemens doubles GSM network capacity

Nokia Siemens Networks has announced that it has doubled the capacity of the GSM network within existing spectrum, giving GSM operators across the globe more network to offer, as well as better quality.

Nokia Siemens achieved this upgrade to capacity via its Dynamic Frequency and Channel Allocation (DFCA) feature, which supports additional network growth while not impacting upon service quality or even control costs.

It was revealed that emerging markets see millions of additional GSM subscribers every month, but spectrum limitations have hampered this growth and required the building of more base station sites, which simply increases costs across the board. With DFCA, however, these problems are significantly eased.

“DFCA has immense potential to help operators address the challenge of ever increasing voice and data traffic,” said Prashant Agnihotri, head of GSM/EDGE product management at Nokia Siemens. “It helps operators squeeze voice calls into less bandwidth, so it can be alternatively used for data, either through Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) or by re-farming the spectrum to Wideband Code Division Multiple Access/Long Term Evolution (WCDMA/LTE). It brings a substantial increase for operators in terms of potential earnings per base station site.”

The new DFCA feature also has the potential to improve the overall network quality, which means that existing customers on the GSM network may also benefit from this technology. If that were not enough, the feature also lowers energy costs per subscriber, which means that almost overnight GSM will become larger, have better quality, and will be more energy efficient.

Sharp announces 100GB Blu-ray BDXL disc

Sharp has announcedBlu-ray disc that meets BDXL specifications and can store up to 100GB of data.

The disc, called VR-100BR1, is a triple-layer single-write Blu-ray disc which conforms with the BDXL format specifications defined by the Blu-ray Disc Association for high-capacity Blu-ray discs.

Current Blu-ray discs can store up to 50GB of data, so this latest product from Sharp doubles current capacity to allow recording of up to 12 hours of terrestrial digital TV.

The new discs also include a “hard coat” protective coating, which helps protect from scratches, dirt and fingerprints, which may damage the disc and lead to errors.

Other companies have been working on developing 100GB Blu-ray discs for some time, with Sony even developing an eight-layer 200GB disc, but none of them have managed to actually get them into production. Now that Sharp has started the ball rolling, however, we hope to see others joining in.

Sharp has not revealed pricing, but rumours suggest a hefty price tag of $60 (£40) which could drop as other companies develop the technology and help drive prices down.

The new discs will be in available in Japan from July 30 with an international release date yet to be decided.

Blu-ray

Samsung produces 32GB server module

Korean semi giant Samsung Electronics said it has made what it claims is the first 32GB load reduced, dual inline memory module (LrDIMM) aimed at the server market.

The module uses 40 nanometre four gigabit DDR3 processors, and will go into mass production in the second half of this year.

The prototype that Samsung has sampled include 72 four gigabit DDR3 chips plus an extra memory buffer chip. The company said that reduces the load on the memory subsystem and claimed that the load reduction can be as much as 75 percent.

The introduction of the 32GB module means that machines can support up to 384GB per CPU. Two way servers can support up to 768GB.

Samsung also claimed that servers kitted out with LRDIMMs will process data at 1,333 megabits per second.

AU Optronics forecasts 100 percent capacity utilisation in Q3

AU Optonics has announced that it thinks it will have 100 percent capacity utilisation by the third quarter of this year, according to Chinese-language Economic Daily News via Taiwan Economic News.

AU Optronics is currently operating at 90 percent capacity utilisation, but its vice-chairman, H.B. Chen, claims that the company can now gain the remaining 10 percent over the next quarter. 

He also forecast that the figures for the second quarter of this year should reveal a 10 percent quarter-on-quarter growth, suggesting that the TFT-LCD display company has been making good progress this year so far.

The reason for the growth is attributed to strong inventory and the active involvement and investment of major brands, putting AU Optronics in a good position in the growing display market.

A price hike is expected in the second half of this year due to growing demand for TFT-LCD panels, despite the fact that the second quarter of this year has seen prices falling. Chen attributed much of the demand to the Chinese, U.S., and Southeast Asian markets. Europe, on the other hand, has presented a much more unstable market due to national debt and a weak Euro.

TechEye spoke to Bob Raike at Meko, a market research consultancy specialising in displays. He told us that 100 percent utilisation is easily feasible for AU Optronics because the third quarter will be the peak period for making panels that will be used for TVs going on sale in the fourth quarter, which is the peak season for TV sales.

He said that this means AU Optronics is making everything it can, with “no dead time”, and added that the company is around fourth in the league table of LCD makers.

We asked what the effect would be for consumers and he told us that the only effect is that there might be less shortages of products, and prices would tend not to follow long-term decline. He qualified this by saying that pricing is also partially decided by the TV manufacturers themselves.

Raike said that the TV market was “almost impervious” to the recession, while notebooks also did well. Monitors, on the other hand, have been on the decline in recent years.

As for the rumoured price hike, Raike believed that prices could rise “a little” in the fourth quarter of the year, but that would have no impact on European customers, who are still faced with a weak Euro.