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December 2008

Solid State Disk Drives Offer New Performance

Phoenix, Arizona December 18, 2008 - Solid state disk drives, or SSDs as they are commonly referred, are an emerging product that brings a new dimension to the PC market. While there are many possible end-product applications for the SSD, the PC market is one where the benefits of the SSD are readily applied. This is particularly true for the mobile PC market where the 4 year CAGR for the SSD in notebook PCs is forecasted to be 89%.

Foundries Shouldering a Heavy Load

Phoenix, Arizona February 17, 2009 - The semiconductor foundry market is facing a number of challenges in 2009. Most of the burden is being born by the foundry suppliers. The foundries continue to invest in new technologies, not just advanced nodes, but new processes for high voltage, mixed signal and power management. All these investments are forcing foundries to assume most of the risk while margins continue to become tighter. Offering more options is one way to capture customer loyalty but it also increases foundry costs.

Moore's Law Marches On

Next week Intel will be presenting several papers at the IEDM in San Francisco. Mark Bohr, Intel Senior Fellow and some of the research team previewed three of the topics being presented. The common theme through all three papers reflects Intel’s drive to push conventional technology as far as it will possibly go. The company feels that’s easier to do rather than introduce a whole new set of materials at this time. That being said, Intel also pursues new material research. The plan is to have options and solutions available and ready to implement when traditional silicon processing runs out of steam.

Following is a quick review of three papers that Intel will be presenting.

32nm Logic Technology

In September 2007, Intel announced their fully functional 32nm SRAM with a 0.18um2 cell size. Today they are touting a 291Mbit SRAM, the same density as before, but with a 0.171um2 cell size. This SRAM chip features greater than 1.9 billion transistors operating at 3.8GHz. Intel is on track for production readiness in Q4 2009.

NXP Announces New, Single Chip LCD TV Platform

On 12/04/08, NXP Semiconductor announced their new, single-chip LCD TV platform, the NXP TV550.  This is the first TV platform manufactured in 45nm CMOS low-power process technology. Engineering samples scheduled for 1Q09.

The TV550 platform incorporates the PNX85500 processor and integrates NXP’s proprietary Motion Accurate Picture Processing (MAPP2) technology. This single SoC handles all the new High Definition audio codecs like Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio along with the more familiar codecs from Dolby and DTS. The part also handles the video codecs for the decompression necessary to process MPEG2 and MPEG4 encoded signals.  In addition, one of the target markets for the chip are those LCD TVs that are looking to increase their frame rates to 100 Hz (Europe) and 120Hz (North America) for better rendering of fast moving video action sequences. Consideration was also given to the current trend towards LCD backlighting in LCD TVs with sectional backlight dimming enabled.

Since this is a platform, other functions can be added as more features are required.

Automotive Systems: Adaptive Braking, No Stopping Its Growth!

Semiconductor revenues for adaptive braking systems will increase at a CAGR of more than 100% over the next five years, a growth opportunity that will continue even through the current recession. Adaptive braking systems sense impending collisions and automatically apply a car’s brakes to prevent an accident. They are in use now only on high-end passenger cars, but the costs will come down until they become standard equipment even on small, economy cars.

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