Advanced Micro Devices said it plans to lay off about 5% of its global workforce, about 470 positions, as it struggles with business conditions. The chip company said it likely will take a charge against earnings of $42 million.
TUV SUD certifies that Freescale Semiconductor's analog MC33907 and MC33908 system basis chips meet the ISO 26262 functional safety standard up to the ASIL D level. The two chips are part of Freescale's SafeAssure program.
Huawei Technologies and MediaTek are seeking to challenge Marvell Technology Group, Phison Electronics and Silicon Motion Technology in the solid-state driver controller market, industry sources say. Huawei has begun internal development of SSD controller chips, according to those sources, while MediaTek may try to acquire PMC-Sierra, rumors indicate.
IBM Research reports addressing the resistance issue in shrinking the contacts of silicon-based transistors by using tiny carbon nanotubes for those contacts. "You really don't want the contact resistance to dominate in the device," said Wilfried Haensch of IBM. "If resistance gets higher and higher, it doesn't matter what happens in the device because it's limited by resistance."
Purchasers of system-on-a-chip devices would do well to use processor cores provided by ARM Holdings and other vendors of semiconductor intellectual property, avoiding the proprietary architectures of some SoC suppliers, Marco Jacobs of videantis writes. "Demand that your SoC vendor adopt a licensable architecture and you’ll reduce your risk and cost, as well as increase your future options," he writes.
Open-Silicon says it has addressed the memory bandwidth issues of application-specific integrated circuits by developing high-bandwidth memory chips that can be stacked with the ASIC in a system-in-a-package configuration. "We are offering 3D memory stacks integrated into the ASIC package using silicon interposer 2.5D technology," said Hans Bouwmeester of Open-Silicon.
Eight industry experts discuss the status of power estimation tools in chip design. "In addition to power, we have to start providing energy values. Power over time is very important for handheld devices and apps are killing it," said Vic Kulkarni of Ansys.
The Upverter Parts Concierge is a cloud-based service allowing designers of printed circuit boards to add components to an online design. The online tool raises questions about the value of such services, Rick Merritt writes.
A subsidiary of Tsinghua Holdings will pay $3.78 billion to acquire a 15% equity stake in Western Digital, a leading supplier of data-storage products, as the Chinese company seeks to expand its US technology portfolio. The federal Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is likely to review the deal, which would allow Tsinghua to nominate a representative on WD's board.
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