Tag: Nvidia

Chip revenues down

arm_chipRevenues for the global semiconductor market dropped two percent year on year to $295 billion in 2012, IDC’s latest semiconductor application forecast reports.

Consumer spending slumped in the second half of the year which had a significant impact, but this was also combined with a slowing down in industrial and other market segments too. Europe’s economic crisis leaned on the PC market and China, too, was not spending as much as had been hoped. IDC notes the “lackluster” Windows 8 launch did not prove to be the boon for PC sales manufacturers were praying for.

Cheaper Chinese suppliers pressured average selling prices and dragged down overall revenues.

Just 17 companies with revenues of a billion or more, of the 120 that IDC tracks, managed growth of over five percent for 2012. Most saw declining revenues, including the majority in the top ten. Qualcomm, Broadcom, NXP, Nvidia, MediaTek, Apple and Sharp were the few in the 25 largest companies that registered positive growth.

Intel, IDC points out, saw revenues plunge $50 billion for the year, a drop of three percent, attributed mainly to weak PC demand and failing to make significant inroads into the tablet and smartphones market. Samsung saw revenues fall six percent. Texas Instruments , at number four, saw a decline of six percent.

Qualcomm, however, was a winner – ranking third in 2012 and growing revenues 34 percent to reach $13.2 billion. IDC states that this is largely due to Snapdragon and its prevalance in modem technology.

Altogether, the top ten vendors – including Broadcom, Renesas, Hynix, STMicro and Micron, held 52 percent of global semiconductor revenues, seeing a three percent decline compared to the previous year. The top 25 companies overall declined three percent, bringing in revenue of $206 billion.

Semiconductor device types were a mixed bag. Fastest growing were sensors and actuators, but these made up just two percent of overall revenues. ASSPs represented 32 percent of overall revenues and grow four percent thanks to media, graphics, and application processors, as well as RF and mixed signal ASSPs. Optoelectronics made up six percent of the revenues, growing five person on the back of image sensors and LEDs. Microcomponents declined five percent, while memory declined ten percent, holding 17 percent of all industry revenues. Analogue declined by seven percent to account for seven percent of all revenues.

IDC’s semiconductors research manager Michael J Palma said in a statement that the challenge is to “zero in on their key value propositions”.

“Whether that is in modem or connectivity technologies, sensors, mixed-signal processing or power management, there are areas of the market showing strong potential,” Palma said. “However, competing in crowded segments with little differentiation has contributed to the slowdown in semiconductor revenues”.

Dell says small is beautiful

Dell logoHardware company Dell has introduced two server products that  it claims are best of class.

It has introduced the Precision T1700 tower workstation which it is says is the smallest and lightest compared to the competition. The Intel based machines come with Nvidia or AMD graphics and has PCI x16 Gen 3 slots.  The T1700 SFF (small form factor) also has two front USB 3.0 ports.

In addition, Dell announced upgrades to its rack family – the Precision R6710 is suitable for datacenters.  It can support up to four single wide graphics card and can also support Nvidia Grid for virtualized graphics.

The R760 has 16DIMM slots, a 6GB/s LSI2308 SATA/SAS controller and uses dual Intel E5-2687W 160 watt eight core processors.

The R7610 workstation starts at $2,179, but Dell has still to price up the two T1700 workstations, available from June 4.

AMD makes pre-emptive strike against Nvidia

AMD, SunnyvaleDistributor sources close to AMD Germany say that the company will launch a new graphics product next month.

Codenamed Bonaire and with a part number of 7790 it is expected to cost around $155.  Performance is likely to be about 3,000 3D Mark Fire Strike.

Nvidia is preparing a a part to ompete with it, codenamed 650Ti Boost.  The unit is a 192 bit version of the 650Ti, but distributors are unhappy because it will interfere with 650Ti inventories.  It is likely to cost $180 or so and also scores about 3,000 3D Mark Fire Strike.

Pre-orders for channel partners for the Bonaire part are expected to be available towards the end of March.

Nvidia reportedly working on phone and tablet reference designs

nvidia-gangnam-style-330pxNvidia has been frantically trying to carve out a foothold in the mobile SoC market over the past couple of years and with every new Tegra generation it saw its number of design wins double.

However, that doesn’t seem to be enough for CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. According to Mobile Review, the chipmaker is planning to kick things up a notch, by directly entering the smartphone and tablet business with a bit of help from its partners.

Nvidia is said to be working on reference smartphone and tablet designs. The designs will be built by contract manufacturers, under Nvidia’s direct control. The partners are apparently small regional players, basically retail chains who already offered cheap Chinese tablets under their brands. It is unclear whether traditional Nvidia AIBs will also join the effort, but it seems more than likely, as some of them have already started making inroads in the tablet space, without Nvidia’s support.

The idea seems to hold water. Nvidia could control the feature sets and performance of reference designs, while regional players could take care of distribution and retail. Nvidia partners could end up with cheap, yet competitive devices capable of taking on first-tier devices with fancier brands. The drive is said to be scheduled for May and June, roughly Computex time, and Mobile Review’s Eldar Murtazin believes tens of 7- and 10-inch tablets based on Nvidia’s reference design could show up.

Nvidia already has extensive reference design experience and plenty of partners in the graphics market, so such an approach would be nothing new for the company. However, last year Nvidia also offered Kai, a reference tablet design based on the Tegra 3 SoC. It did not find many takers. Back at CES, Nvidia unveiled Project Shield, a Tegra 4 gaming console built under its own brand, but we haven’t seen any Tegra 4 design wins yet. The chip is apparently a couple of months behind schedule, due to some technical issues which necessitated a re-spin.

We should see more Tegra 4 gear at the Mobile World Congress and Nvidia is also expected to launch a cheaper, A9-based quad-core SoC in the latter half of the year. The reference design approach could help Nvidia gain quite a bit more design wins this time around, provided it doesn’t flop like Kai.