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June 2015

Challenges in MEMS and Sensor Manufacturing Point to Need for Collaboration

The MEMS, sensor and semiconductor industries have long been connected by a shared  infrastructure and supply chain, but there are significant differences in the manufacturing of MEMS and  sensors, including the use of unconventional materials, wafer bonding, packaging, lack of standard processes, to name a few. As the MEMS and sensor industries scale in volume and usage in conjunction  with semiconductor devices, it's important that both industries take a deeper look at our common challenges to identify the issues that would benefit from a collaborative approach.

Semico Impact 2015

Boards, Chips and Packaging:

Designing to Maximize Results

Computer History Museum
1401 N Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA 94043
October 13, 2015

Today, chip designers craft their semiconductor products to meet ever-increasing market demands for lower power, higher performance and lower costs.  While chips may meet system specifications, these complex designs require even more attention at the packaging and board level to obtain the full benefit of the chip design.  Performance, power dissipation and formfactor challenges require a rechanneling of system design effort away from merely implementing ever more-complex silicon solutions towards dealing with complex applications from a system integration point of view.  The rollout of 3D, 2.5D and silicon interposers adds yet another dimension.  The new model must incorporate tasks that had previously been accomplished in silos and once held as separate functions.  The creation of the system solution now requires planning chip design with packaging and PCB layout to create the optimal end application.

On October 13th, 2015, industry experts met at the Semico Impact conference for discussion, insight, and collaboration to enhance system-level design, performance and cost savings with first time right solutions.  Boards, Chips and Packaging: Designing to Maximize Results was well-attended by board designers, system architects, chip designers, package designers, program managers, and marketing executives involved in the system-level ecosystem decisions.  A highlight of the day was a keynote by Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, best known for serving as Captain during what has been called the "Miracle on the Hudson".  He is known for his expertise in safety and knowledge of improvements of high-performance systems to save lives, save money and bring value to communities.

Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, and Jim Feldhan, Semico Research
The morning and afternoon panel sessions provided some great discussion among the participants as well as thoughtful question and answer sessions with the audience.
Morning Panel:  From left to right, Brian Fuller, ARM; Lee Ritchey, Speeding Edge; Scott McMorrow, Samtec; Geoffrey Hazelett, Polar Instruments; Daniel DeAraujo, Mentor Graphics; and Nathaniel Unger, Altera.

For more information contact:
Jim Feldhan
602-997-0337 Opt#1
Joanne Itow
602 997-0337 Opt #2



Price: $75.00
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 08:00

Sensor Hub Shipments to Reach 6.9 Billion Units by 2020, says Semico Research

The market for sensor fusion has been growing rapidly and has seen major changes and shifts in the ecosystem. The market opportunities have attracted more chip vendors. In the span of one year, the number of companies offering a sensor hub controller has grown from 16 to 33 companies. The sensor hub vendors are not only targeting smartphones and tablets, but are also focusing on wearables and the broad range of Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Capex Growing to a Record High in 2015

Semiconductor companies are spending more than ever to stay competitive.  In 2015, the total amount spent is forecast to be $68.7 billion, up 9% from 2014’s $63.3 billion.  This breaks the previous record set in 2011 at $63.8 billion, as shown in the following graph. 

Total Semiconductor Capital Expenditures, 2009-2015

2015-06 capex blog - total capex.png

Source:  Semico Research Corp.

The Top 15

Accounting for almost 90% of the total spending are fifteen companies.  The top fifteen companies stayed the same from 2014 to 2015, but their order did change somewhat.  The top five spenders are no surprise, with Samsung in the top spot, followed by TSMC.  What is unusual is Intel slipping into the third position.  To round out the top five, GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Hynix switched places as the foundry expects to increase spending 22% this year versus Hynix’s 5% increase.  In the top fifteen, the company with the largest increase is Sony, with a 207% increase to almost US$2 billion.  The bulk of this increase is to expand image sensor production capacity, but some will also be spent on camera module production capacity, a relatively new market for Sony.  Sony’s dollar increase is second only to Samsung’s, but this is partly due to the decline in value of the yen.

Increasing Brain Power: Sensor Fusion Attracts More Players

The market for sensor fusion has been growing rapidly and has seen major changes and shifts in the ecosystem.  The market opportunities have attracted more chip vendors.  In the span of one year, the number of companies offering a sensor hub controller has grown from 16 to 33 companies.

Table of Contents: 

AMD’s High Bandwidth Memory Opens Up Performance Path and New Market Opportunities

On June 16, 2015 at the E3 show AMD rolled out its high end graphics GPU, Fiji, which features its High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) on its high end desktop graphics cards, the Radeon R9 300 series.

AMD’s top of the line GPU, Radeon Fury X has 4 GB of HBM delivering up to 512 Gbits/sec of memory bandwidth (increase of 63% over previous generation), with 4,096 stream processors and 64 compute units up to 1.05 GHz. The 28nm Fury X is liquid cooled. AMD also introduced air-cooled models, Fury with 56 compute units operating at 1 GHz and the R9 Fury Nano. All of these GPUs use HBM.

AMD is touting HBM for its improved performance and power consumption compared to GDDR5. The memory technology was developed by SK Hynix. The resulting solution offers three times the performance per watt with 94% less PCB area. This enables a smaller graphics card for the Fury nano card.

The enabling technology for HBM is the 2.5D packaging technology.  AMD and SK Hynix partnered to define and develop the first complete specification and prototype. The technology employs through silicon vias (TSVs) and micro-bumps to connect one stacked DRAM to the next. The stacked die also connect via TSV and micro-bumps to a logic die which provides the PHY interface to the GPU. Up to 4 stacks surround the GPU on an interposer.

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