Advanced Micro Devices beat quarterly revenue estimates and forecast strong 2021 sales on rising in demand of chips used in PCs, data centres and gaming consoles from firms and individual adapting to WFH. AMD projected Q1 revenue to be about $3.2 bn, plus or minus $100 mn, compared to analysts’ average estimate of $2.74 bn, according to Refinitiv. AMD forecast 2021 sales of $13.37 bn, is also above analysts’ estimates of $12.28 bn.
Samsung to build a plant in Texas, the USA with an investment of $10 bn to manufacture a new logic chip of 3nm processor by using ultraviolet lithography tech. The company might invest $116 bn in the next 10 years into non-memory chips. It’s semiconductor business invested $26 bn in 2020 into memory business which is lower than its rival company TSMC, which invested $28 bn in 2020. Samsung might face massive competition from TSMC.
Intel said that it would ramp up the production of a new data centre chip in the Q1 and a new generation of chipmaking tech would become a key part of its output this year. “Ice Lake” server chips made on the 10-nanometer process would start ramping up production this quarter with the introduction of 50 new processor designs for PCs, 30 of those using the new 10-nanometer tech. It would also work on a lidar sensor, a laser-based device for vehicles to obtain a 3D view of the road.
Former Intel, Tesla chip executive Jim Keller had joined start-up Tenstorrent to create an AI chip. Keller would join a team competing against rivals such as Nvidia and Amazon in the AI market. Tenstorrent’s chips are designed to ignore redundant information and operate on the assumption that future software will involve programmers giving high-level directions while AI computers write much of the nitty-gritty code required to implement those human ideas.
Nvidia Corp is planning to create data centres chips with more functions than its rival Intel Corp. Nvidia, whose chips have been primarily used for video game graphics, is grabbing more tasks with the new chips that’ll combine expertise from its recent acquisitions. The chips could detect hackers trying to break into data centres; review network traffic for unusual pattern and block them proactively. Previously, this would have required a combination of chips.
Nvidia said it’s acquiring chipmaker Arm from SoftBank for $40B. Arm will operate as Nvidia’s division and will continue to operate its open licencing model. But the deal is likely to face intense regulatory scrutiny. Arm will be headquartered in Cambridge, UK where Nvidia will build a new AI research centre. Both companies see this as growth opportunities in enabling AI software that can run on Arm’s chips from those on tiny smartphones to huge servers.
Trump administration, according to a Pentagon official, is considering to blacklist China’s top chipmaker SMIC from trading with US companies. This would force US suppliers to obtain a special license before shipping to the company. While Pentagon official did not outline the reasons for the action, SMIC’s relationship to the Chinese military is under scrutiny. Recently the administration has been focussed on Chinese firms that bolster Beijing’s military.
Huawei says it’s running out of processor chips because of US sanctions against the company. Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business unit said that by next month, they won’t be able to make its own Kirin chipsets due to the ongoing economic pressure from the US. The Trump administration barred the US firms and manufacturers from selling technology to Huawei unless approved by the govt. Despite the ban, Huawei outpaced Samsung in Q2 smartphone shipments.