The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Fab and test equipment The wafer inspection market is heating up. For example, Applied Materials announced its new e-beam inspection system for use in foundry, logic, DRAM and 3D NAND applications. In addition, KLA-Tencor introduced six wafer defect inspection and review systems for leading-edge IC device manufacturing. National Instruments has rolled out a second-generation vector sig... » read more

The Mightier Microcontroller

Microcontrollers are becoming more complex, more powerful, and significantly more useful, but those improvements come with strings attached. While it's relatively straightforward to develop multi-core microcontroller (MCU) hardware with advanced power management features, it's much more difficult to write software for these chips because memory is limited. CPUs can use on-chip memory such as... » read more

Ray Zinn Reflects On 37 Years As CEO Of Micrel

Believed to be the longest serving CEO of any company to have existed in Silicon Valley, Ray Zinn does more in retirement than many people would accomplish as full time employees. While his name may not be at the top of most influential people in the valley, the industry may not be the same today had it not been for his contributions. Semiconductor Engineering spoke with him about his past, the... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Samsung Electronics announced that it has begun producing the industry’s first 4-gigabyte DRAM package based on the second-generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2) interface. The 4GB HBM2 package is created by stacking a buffer die at the bottom and four 8-gigabit core dies on top. These are then vertically interconnected by TSV holes and microbumps. A single 8Gb HBM2 die contains over 5,000 T... » read more

Rethinking Differentiation

Differentiation is becoming more difficult, more time-consuming, and in some cases much more expensive for chipmakers. The traditional metrics of faster performance, lower power and less area/cost, which are leftovers from the PC era, no longer are a guarantee of success despite the fact that they are still baseline metrics for many designs. Even new metrics such as ecosystem completeness, w... » read more

5 Things To Know About The IoT

The IoT means many things to many people. While the numbers and projections are all very large, the views of what it actually means are vastly different because it can include anything from a sensor in a car or an ingestible medical device to a data center full of servers and the connectivity in between. But there are some interesting shifts under way, both driving the [getkc id="76" comment... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Investment firm TIG Advisors, a stockholder of Altera, has urged stockholders to vote against Altera’s lead independent director to the board. TIG also contends that Altera has failed stockholders by rejecting a recent acquisition bid from Intel. Altera’s 14nm foundry partner is Intel, while TSMC handles the 20nm and above foundry work. Soon, Altera will choose a 10nm foundry partner. “Sh... » read more

Full Steam Ahead For IoT

Criticism is rampant about the [getkc id="76" comment="Internet of Things"] being partially baked, ill-defined, or just a rehash of old ideas that never got off the drawing board. While there is some basis for that criticism, it really doesn't seem to matter. The semiconductor industry is in full pursuit of what many perceive to be the largest opportunity since the invention of the PC, the pub... » read more

More Things Are Critical Systems

Defining a critical system used to be pretty obvious. It was something that could affect the health and safety of people, such as the chip inside a pacemaker or insulin pump, a car's braking system or an airplane's guidance system. But as more devices are connected together, that definition is changing and expanding. More devices are now considered critical, such as a connected baby monitor ... » read more

Another Inventory Glut?

For nearly a year, Semico’s IPI index has been indicating that the fundamental demand in the second half of 2014 would be seasonally weak. Back in early 2013, our initial view for 2014 was a 10% market growth. However, as the IPI declined in the second half of 2013 we revised our semiconductor revenue forecast down to 7.3% heeding the warning that was projected by the Semico IPI index. This w... » read more

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