Chip Industry Week In Review

TSMC delays equipment buys; Cadence’s new AI-powered tools; iPhone 12 radiation woes; fab equipment spending; Arm’s IPO; Vietnam-U.S. partnership; Intel sells stake in mask writing biz to TSMC; new EV battery charges 80% in 10 mins.


By Gregory Haley, Jesse Allen, and Liz Allan

TSMC told equipment vendors to delay deliveries of the most advanced tools due to uncertain demand, according to Reuters. The news drove down stock prices of all the major equipment providers. On the other hand, TSMC said advanced packaging shortages will constrain AI chip shipments for the next 18 months, according to NikkeiAsia.

The United States and Vietnam signed a memorandum of cooperation “to expand the capacity of the semiconductor ecosystem in Vietnam, in support of U.S. industry” as part of a broad strategic partnership. Top U.S. chip companies, including Intel and GlobalFoundries, attended a meeting in Vietnam to forge ties during President Biden’s visit.

Arm began offering 95.5 million shares on Nasdaq at $51.00 per share in a much-anticipated IPO, valuing the company at around $54.5 billion. SoftBank will retain an approximately 90% stake. Find the current price here.

In a series of announcements, Cadence unveiled its next-generation AI IP and software tools, including highly scalable neural processing units (NPUs) delivering a wide range of AI performance in a low-energy footprint for on-device and edge AI processing, along with the NeuroWeave software development kit (SDK) for no-code AI development across Cadence AI and Tensilica IP products. Cadence also introduced the cloud-enabled OrCAD X platform with AI-powered placement automation technology, and debuted a proof of concept for using an LLM chatbot in chip design to interrogate and review a draft HDL description in natural language.

At its iPhone event, Apple announced its latest devices feature USB‐C charging capabilities following an E.U. requirement and revealed:

  • iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max powered by an A17 Pro, the industry’s first 3nm chip, and a neural engine up to 2X faster for features like autocorrect and Personal Voice in iOS 17.
  • iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus powered by the A16 Bionic chip with two high-performance cores using 20% less power and four high-efficiency cores, and
  • Ultra 2 and Series 9 watches powered by custom Apple silicon in an S9 system-in-package, and AirPods Pro 2 powered by the H2 chip.

 Investors funneled $4.2 billion into chip startups with AI hardware and automotive drawing the most attention.

Quick links to more news:

Design and Power
Manufacturing and Test
Automotive and Batteries
Pervasive Computing
Further Reading And Newsletters

Design and Power

AI is becoming more than a talking point for chip and system design, taking on increasingly complex tasks that are now competitive requirements in many markets.

Quantum computing has yet to show an advantage over conventional computing, but huge sums of money are betting it will. So far that hasn’t happened.

Quadric added support for the Llama2 large language model (LLM) to its Chimera general purpose neural processing unit (GPNPU) IP targeted at on-device AI. The support was added through a software port with no hardware changes, enabling existing designs to run the model.

Flex Logix upgraded its emulation models for EFLX eFPGA for both Cadence Palladium and Siemens Veloce. The new models can emulate all aspects of the eFPGA, including run-time operation, configuration, readback, DFT, and wrappers.

Alchip will offer Arteris’ interconnect IP solutions through its advanced semiconductor design and manufacturing platform.

Keysight introduced a series of hardware-accelerated oscilloscopes with built-in automated debug tools, such as zone triggering, fault detection, real-time spectrum analysis, and a 50 MHz waveform generator.

Bluespec debuted its Accelerate-HLS tool that provides high-level synthesis designs with direct access to high-performance memory management and other complex functionality that RISC-V processors can more effectively implement. It supports Siemens’ Catapult software for HLS.

Intel expanded its FPGA portfolio. The company also announced Thunderbolt 5, which will deliver 80 Gbps of bi-directional bandwidth.

Industry experts discussed voltage droop and why higher current densities set against lower power envelopes make meeting specs more challenging, especially at advanced nodes.

A group of semiconductor companies joined forces to create Flanders Semiconductors, a non-profit organization to represent Flemish and European companies in the semiconductor value chain, including design and development of ICs, design tools, materials supply, equipment supply, and testing facilities.

MLCommons announced new results from two MLPerf benchmark suites covering machine learning (ML) inference systems and performance of storage systems in the context of ML training workloads. The 26 submitters included Google, Intel, NVIDIA, and Qualcomm.

Manufacturing and Test

Global fab equipment spending for front-end facilities is expected to rebound with a 15% YoY increase to $97 billion in 2024 following a 15% decrease in 2023 from the record high of $99.5 billion in 2022, according to SEMI.

Intel is selling a 10% stake in its IMS Nanofabrication multi-beam mask writing business to TSMC.

GlobalFoundries opened a $4 billion manufacturing plant in Singapore with plans to increase its production of 300mm wafers by 450,000 per year.

Fab and field data are transforming semiconductor manufacturing processes. Data from on-chip monitors can help predict and prevent failures, as well as improve design, manufacturing, and testing processes.

Manufacturers are customizing IC test to improve yield and reliability. Identifying chip performance specs earlier can shorten the time it takes for processes to mature and lower overall test costs in manufacturing.

Tracing device quality throughout a chip’s expected lifetime can improve reliability.

NAND flash prices are expected to stabilize sometime next quarter, with a likely 0% to 5% price bump. NAND flash revenue increased 7.4% QoQ in the second quarter of 2023, with 3% growth expected for the third quarter, according to TrendForce.

Brewer Science released its Impact Report 2023, detailing the company’s efforts in sustainability, social responsibility, and governance.

Automotive and Batteries

In China, 2023 battery electric vehicle (BEV) unit sales grew 37% year over year, lower than the global average of 50%, according to Counterpoint. Many Chinese OEMs are looking for growth in markets like Western Europe, where they fill a gap in the affordable segment because regional carmakers are struggling to supply consumers with EVs in the $20,000 to $40,000 range.

The President of the European Union Commission announced an anti-subsidy investigation into EVs from China. “Europe is open for competition, not for a race to the bottom. We must defend ourselves against unfair practices. But equally, it is vital to keep open lines of communication.”

Renesas and Inventec will jointly design automotive-grade gateway solutions for the electric vehicle market, targeting Tier-1 automotive suppliers and OEMs and developing a proof of concept for connected gateways based on Renesas’ R-Car system-on-chip (SoC).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalled certain models of 2023 Audi and Porsche because their high-voltage battery may have insufficient sealant, allowing liquid to accumulate in the battery.

A hand-built electric racing car accelerated from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 0.956 seconds over 12.3 meters (40 feet). The car was built by students from ETH Zurich and Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

In Italy, Stellantis opened its €40 million (US$42.5M) Battery Technology Center, enabling in-house testing and development of EV battery packs, modules, high-voltage cells, and software.

A new ML “computer vision” method suggested a way to make the billions of nanoparticles in a lithium-ion battery electrode store and release charge more efficiently, according to researchers from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, MIT, and Toyota Research Institute.

A new lithium-ion battery material recharges 80% of its capacity in 10 minutes and keeps that ability for 1,500 charging cycles, according to battery scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

China-based Gotion High-tech selected Siemens’ Xcelerator software to build an intelligent battery manufacturing platform and explore the application of digital twins and battery-specific digital threads in product R&D, manufacturing, and technical services.

Infineon launched a SP49 tire pressure monitoring sensor, integrating MEMS sensors with an ASIC. The device is based on a 32-bit Arm M0+ core, a large flash memory, RAM, low power monitoring, and optimized fast acceleration sensing.

General Motors (GM), Ford, and Stellantis workers went on strike after contract terms weren’t met by midnight Thursday. The United Auto Workers (UAW)  president had said earlier: “The EV transition must be a just transition that ensures auto workers have a place in the new economy.”


A complete formal verification of a low-trust Sequestered Encryption architecture shows the design is secure against direct data disclosures and digital side channels for all possible programs, according to researchers from Princeton University, University of Michigan, and Lafayette College.

Part 2 of a six-part tutorial series on hardware security became available. In Part 1, University of Michigan Prof. Todd Austin explained why computer security and privacy should be a concern for hardware designers. Part 2 digs into cryptography, hashing, and signatures.

MITRE Engenuity’s Center for Threat-Informed Defense announced a new method to evaluate analytics relative to the adversary’s cost to evade, created approaches and tips for defenders to make their analytics less evadable, and demonstrated the methodology with a core set of analytics.

Honeywell integrated quantum-computing-hardened encryption keys into smart utility meters for gas, water, and electricity, helping protect end-user data from advanced cybersecurity threats.

MGM’s corporate email, restaurant reservation, hotel booking systems, and digital room keys went offline for at least three days as a result of a cyberattack. A post on X (formerly Twitter) said: “All ALPHV ransomware group did to compromise MGM Resorts was hop on LinkedIn, find an employee, then call the Help Desk. A company valued at $33,900,000,000 was defeated by a 10-minute conversation.”

The National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released an information sheet to provide an overview of synthetic media threats, techniques, and trends.

CISA published an Open Source Software Security Roadmap and issued numerous alerts, including known vulnerabilities concerning Android, Cisco, and Google Chrome, and security updates for Mozilla, Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe. Microsoft’s alerts impacted elevation of privilege and information disclosure.

DARPA asked for submissions to provide tech solutions for a program to enable a drone to autonomously continue its predefined mission when connection to the operator is lost.

Pervasive Computing

Qualcomm will supply Apple with 5G Modem‑RF Systems for smartphone launches from 2024 to 2026.

France’s National Frequencies Agency (ANFR) said radiation tests on the iPhone 12 had come back higher than allowed, a finding that may halt sales there, according to BBC News. ANFR gave Apple two weeks to respond. Other European countries, including Belgium, also took action.

Verizon unveiled its 5G computing trailer, delivering a private network, private mobile edge compute (MEC), SD-WAN, and satellite connectivity, with its first deployment at Lockheed Martin‘s site in Waterton, Colorado.

NVIDIA partnered with India’s Reliance and Tata to create an AI computing infrastructure and platforms for developing AI solutions, based on NVIDIA’s GH200 Grace Hopper Superchip and DGX Cloud.


Find upcoming chip industry events here, including:

  • In-Vehicle Networking Seminar, Sept 19, Santa Clara, CA
  • SNUG Singapore, Sept 22, Singapore
  • Laser Focus World PhotonicsNXT, Sept 28 – 29
  • CHIPS R&D Standards Summit, Sept 26 – 27, Washington D.C. and virtual
  • SPIE Photomask Technology + EUV Lithography, Oct 1 – 5, Monterey, CA
  • Strategic Materials Conference—SMC 2023, Oct 2 – 4, San Jose, CA
  • IMAPS Symposium 2023: International Symposium on Microelectronics, Oct 3 – 5, San Diego, CA
  • International Test Conference, Oct 8 – 13, Anaheim, CA
  • WISH 2023: Women in Semiconductor Hardware, Oct 12, San Jose, CA
  • OktoberTech Asia-Pacific 2023, Oct 13, Singapore

Upcoming webinars are here.

Further Reading and Newsletters

Read the latest special reports and top stories, or check out the latest newsletters.

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