Tag: xilinx

Qualcomm is testing its server chips

qualcomQualcomm has been explaining how it is going to get its chips into the server market and is apparently testing its Server Development Platform (SDP)

Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president of Qualcomm demoed its SDP and chatted about the company’s progress within the server market.

Apparently Qualcomm is sampling its chips into tier-one data centres using a pre-production 24-core SoC based on the ARMv8-A instruction set and built using advanced FinFet technology.

Qualcomm claims that the use of its chips in server set ups can reduce costs by more than 40 percent.

Qualcomm is “partnering” with Xilinx to create heterogeneous computing solutions for data centres using Qualcomm’s server processor and Xilinx FPGAs;

Another of its chums is Mellanox which is designing cost effective platforms for servers and storage using interconnect for data transfer and analysis with Qualcomm’s server CPU and Mellanox’s Ethernet and InfiniBand interconnect;

Chandrasekher said the release of Qualcomm’s evaluation system is a milestone.

“As data centres evolve to support the exponential growth and innovation in data, connectivity and cloud services, Qualcomm Technologies is creating an ecosystem to meet the needs of these next-generation data centres with Qualcomm-based server technologies,” he said.

Customers were testing the Server Development Platform and porting their software. Qualcomm was incorporating their feedback into the product offering with the goal of ensuring system and software readiness by the time we are in full production.


Chipmaker Xilinx reports flat sales

Chipmaker Xilinx has predicted current-quarter revenue below what the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street have predicted.

The reason is because sales to its aerospace, defence and wired telecom customers were flat and Xilinx said it expected first-quarter revenue to stay flat or rise up to 4 percent sequentially.

This means that the company will make $617.8 million-$642.5 million for the quarter ending June. Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $638.4 million.

The company, which gets nearly half its revenue from telecom customers, expects fourth-quarter gross margins of about 68 percent.

Xilinx’s chips are used by the US Air Force and the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), as well as by Wall Street investors.

Xilinx’s net income rose to $156 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $130.6 million a year earlier.

The company has Ericsson and ZTE among its major customers, said revenue rose 16 percent $617.8 million.

Xilinx expects revenue from its wired communications business, part of its largest end market to be flat in the current quarter due to declining orders from a couple of large customers.

Sales at Xilinx’s industrial, aerospace and defence business decreased three percent from the previous quarter. 

Micron shows off the first working RLDRAM 3 hardware

Top American memory maker Micron and FPGA maestro Xilinx have publicly demoed the first working RLDRAM 3 and memory controller setup, allowing logic-board manufacturers to begin implementing the memory standard.

The demo involved a Xilinx Virtex 7 FPGA interfacing with Micron’s RLDRAM 3 module array. The test system delivered 60 percent higher throughput on networking applications – over previous generation tech – and operates at speeds of up to 800 MHz (1.6 Mbps). It also offers a lower power envelope and more flexible memory configurations.

Micron developed RLDRAM together with the now-defunct memory division of Infineon, almost 13 years ago. Its main purpose was to create a memory with faster response times in random access, something standard DRAM has evolved very little over the course of the years.

RLDRAM 3 has the advantage of being six times faster than standard DDR3 SDRAM in terms of random access reads and is in itself all about low latencies, fast turn-around and cache speed to improve overall system responsiveness.

RLDRAM 3 is expertly positioned into the whole ‘caching’ business, which allows for all sorts of performance enhancements in just about any processing background. While this may seem a small demonstration for the duo, the fact remains that this is one of those ‘enabler’ technologies that will allow deep-pocket companies to invest heavily with a quick return on their investment. It is seen as a must-have technology for upcoming 40Gb and 100Gb networks. In this particular case, Micron and Xilinx have already signed-up Alcatel-Lucent who will use the tech as the foundation for their future 400Gb infrastructure.

RLDRAM 3 has numerous practical applications other than networking. According to Micron, just about any system can benefit from caching data, ie: CPU to high-performance graphics products that require speedy random access to largish texture data.

The joint Micron-Xilinx tech will benefit telecom carriers the most, who are pushing infrastructure bandwidth capacity hard before everything goes IP. Let’s face it, bandwidth is a measure of just how strong your business is.

Other partners include some high-fliers like Altera, Broadcom, Cavium, LSI Logic – which should provide an interesting complement for its newly bought SandForce controllers – and Tilera, the developers of the famous 64- and 100- core CPU.

Xilinx releases FGPA with record 8.6 billion transistors

Logic device maker Xilinx has announced a world record, high capacity FGPA – cramming in 6.8 billion transistors and doubling the capacity of competing devices.

The makers of Field Programmable Gate Arrays have given its customers access to 2 million logic cells, the equivalent to 20 million ASICs gates, with its Virtex-7 2000T.  Xilinx even reckons that its high capacity FGPA is way ahead of what would be expected by Moore’s Law at the 28 nanometre process level.

Xilinx says that its customers are now using the Virtex-7 2000T to replace large capacity application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), reaching the same cost in a third of the time.

It is also able to reduce power by getting rid of I/O interconnects, and Xilinx says it will increase system bandwidth and accelerate prototyping and emulation of advanced ASICs systems.

According to Xilinx’s senior vice president Victor Peng, the Stacked Silicon Interconnect used in the Virtex-7 2000T offers capacities that are not usually available until “at least another process generation”. 

ARM is one of the firms that will be using the Virtex-7 2000T in future, with Xilinx making noise about its ability to lower bill of materials costs as well as developmental costs.

The Virtex-7 2000T is built along using TSMC’s 28nm HPL (low power with HKMG) process.

November chip sales turn out to be OK

Carnegie Securities Research has revealed that worldwide chip sales in November, while not phenomenal, were above forecasts at $26 billion. They were down slightly from October at $26.2 billion. 

It proves, says Carnegie, that inventory correction in the chips sector is “mild” – and since Q2 2010 sales have been “moving sideways,” citing Korean inventories peaking in September and experiencing a modest drop since then. Despite warnings from subsuppliers such as National Semi, Xilinx and Micron, sales were better than expected.

Handset chips performed well considering the soft sales and inventory that were forecast. The usual suspects kept them afloat with the iPhone, Nokia N8 and HTC models. In fact – while National Semiconductor warned the market for mobile phone chips was slowing, the shipments of the three most used chips found their strongest level of 2010 in November. Demand for smartphones and tablet PCs meant audio/video logic chips also saw a high in November.

The more niche insulated-gate bipolar transistor, or IGBT semiconductors, saw a record high thanks to strong spending on energy efficiency in both lighting and cars. However, solar inverters dropped after a “strong run”.

Other analysts agree, and Carnegie confirms that the LCD TV market took a hit following the world cup. 

The relationship between Apple and Samsung in NAND, the former being the biggest buyer while the latter the biggest seller, strengthened in November as well. PC memory chips weakened, thanks to selling computers with less memory – and partly, says Carnegie, due to the new capacity starting. There was a “modest” improvement for processor chips from the likes of Intel and AMD though it was the corporate market that kept shipments going rather than consumer buys. Demand for computers in the US slipped in October, following record highs at the end of the third quarter. 

Meanwhile, in Japan, Carnegie suggests that sales are on the up and up. Chip production is “rebounding modestly” and electronic parts production is expected to rise. Outfits like Murata, Kyocera and Rohm have strong production penned in for December and January, which should “ease tightness in passive components like capacitors.”

Korea has seen a cut-off point for excessive inventories, including chipmakers and producers of mobile phones. Its chip exports will stabilise in December while it keeps a “high share of commodity semiconductors” thanks to DRAM and NAND.

Carnegie still expects chip sales to rise five percent in 2011.

Chip sales in March likely blossomed

The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) are shortly to be released and the indications are looking good.

According to Bruce Diesen, from Carnegie Securities Research, he expects 2010 chip sales to rise by 15 percent. He thinks PC, memory and auto chips are likely to see the most growth, while handset chips are flatter.

He said that because of tight capacity, memory chip prices are strong, boosted by increased sales of smartphones and Windows 7.

March saw a jump in car production and more chips are used in Europe per car than elsewhere.

Chinese PC production was strong in March, and handset exports rose strongly during the month, with Mediatek indicating that there will be 450 million or more handsets using its technology this year.

Defence spending was also strong in March, and this is a growing area for semiconductor sales. Most tech companies think there will be shortages of components in Q2 than in calendar Q1, said Diesen.

TSMC is already at 100 percent capacity and it’s expected that UMC will go from 88 percent in Q1 to the high 90s this quarter. That will affect a number of companies including Xilinx, Altera, Qualcomm and Mediatek.