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Intel DG2 to ship in 768 to 4096 core configurations

1 day ago
INTC logo
The arrival of Intel's Xe-HPG will be one of the biggest PC hardware launches of the year. This marks the third time Intel is dabbling in 3D graphics, the first two times were a complete failure so we're very excited to discover if the third time's the charm. Intel started working on its own GPU architecture a couple of years ago to fulfill several unfilled needs in the firm's product portfolio.

NVIDIA's success in the datacenter market is one of the biggest drivers behind the Xe architecture. Datacenters are adopting GPUs at a very fast rate. Last quarter, NVIDIA sold $1.9 billion worth of GPUs to this market segment, double as much as a year ago. Intel wants a piece of this fast-growing pie -- and the firm designed its Xe architecture to be versatile enough to also serve the integrated graphics and discrete graphics markets.

The latter is what most gamers are looking forward to. For over two decades now, the GPU market has been a duopoly held by NVIDIA and AMD. Will Intel be able to shake up this market? Or will the Xe fall flat on its face? We should learn more later this year.

Leaked DG2 specifications

In the meantime, VideoCardz came across an interesting Xe-HPG related leak. Based on the latest rumors, Intel is working on at least three variants of the DG2 GPU. While the DG1 was a single (and rather unimpressive) product, the DG2 may feature higher-end products. Intel is allegedly working on DG2 GPUs; one with 128 execution units (EUs), a second one with 384 EUs, and the third one with 512 EUs.

The leaked specifications list indicates we can expect SKUs with 768 to 4096 shading units. All versions are expected to get GDDR6 memory, possibly as much as 16GB for the top model. The full configuration of the Xe-HPG 512 EU allows a maximum of 4096 shading units, it has a 256-bit memory bus and 8GB or 16GB GDDR6 memory. This model may compete with high-end GPUs from AMD and NVIDIA -- if Intel can deliver on its promises.
According to the leaked DG2 specs list, we should expect high-end GPUs with up to 4096 shading units and up to 16GB of GDDR6 memory. It is unclear which model will the flagship DG2 model compete with, but judging from the memory capacity, it could even be Radeon RX 6800XT or GeForce RTX 3080.
VideoCardz writes the 384 EU variant of the DG2 is a small GPU with a die size of around 190mm². This model might compete with the AMD Navi22 or NVIDIA GA106. This is all still very speculative of course, there have been no performance leaks yet and a lot will also depend on how well Intel's drivers are. It doesn't matter how fast GPU is if the drivers are total shit.

The Intel Xe-HPG will not be manufactured by Intel but by an external foundry. The only options here are TSMC or Samsung. Based on the rumor mill, TSMC's 6nm node is the most likely option.

NVIDIA Resizable BAR BIOS update expected by late March

1 day ago
NVIDIA logo
NVIDIA officially announces support for Resizable BAR. With the launch of the Big Navi GPU architecture, AMD hyped up this feature during its press conference and now the rest of the industry is following. Resizable BAR is basically an optional part of the PCI Express interface, it optimizes data transfer between the CPU and GPU -- which can result in a small performance boost.

The GeForce RTX 3060, which got launched yesterday, is the first NVIDIA card with Resizable BAR support. NVIDIA will need more time to roll out support for other models. The green team says a BIOS update for all Founders Edition GeForce RTX 30 series GPUs will follow by the end of March. NVIDIA's add-in board partners will release BIOS updates for custom-design cards, too.

Required hardware to enable Resizable BAR

On its webpage, NVIDIA stipulates which hardware you need to activate Resizable BAR. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series GPUs will support it in combination with AMD Zen 3-based processors and Intel 10th Gen and 11th Gen Core processors. Support is further narrowed down to motherboards with newer chipsets. The table below provides an overview of compatible processors and motherboard chipsets.

NVIDIA Resizeable Bar motherboard and CPU requirements

NVIDIA says it's working with ASUS, ASRock, Colorful, EVGA, Gigabyte, and MSI to ensure motherboard compatibility. Resizable BAR requires a compatible driver and a BIOS update for both your video card and motherboard.

How much extra performance can you expect from Resizable BAR?

Performance gains seen from Resizable BAR vary widely. NVIDIA's internal testing shows some video games see gains of a couple of percentages, in the most extreme case it was up to 10 percent. Unfortunately, there are also cases where Resizable BAR has a negative impact on performance. NVIDIA's solution is to enable Resizable BAR on a per-game basis. The GPU maker will pre-test video games and use game profiles in the GeForce driver to enable Resizable BAR only in video games where it boosts performance.

The latest GeForce Game Ready driver, which was launched for the GeForce RTX 3060 on February 25, has Resizable BAR profiles for these games:
  • Assassin's Creed Valhalla
  • Battlefield V
  • Borderlands 3
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Gears 5
  • Metro Exodus
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Watch Dogs: Legion

How to check if Resizable BAR is working

Once you've updated your motherboard BIOS, your video card BIOS, and installed the latest GeForce driver, you can check if everything is working by opening the NVIDIA Control Panel.
On the bottom left of the NVIDIA Control Panel, simply click “System Information”, and in the new window look for “Resizable BAR” on the right. If it says “Yes”, you’re set.
NVIDIA howto check if resizable bar works

PowerColor teases Hellhound video card brand

1 day ago
AMD add-in board partner PowerColor uploaded a teaser to promote an upcoming "Hellhound" video card series. Given that AMD's Radeon RX 6700 XT launches next week, it's not hard to figure out that the first Hellhound card will most likely be the Radeon RX 6700 XT Hellhound.
Hellhound is born, sharp of fang and razor-like claws, covered with fur that is tough like armour. Its eyes burn in the darkness, allowing it to precisely track and stalk its prey. It used to be a battle hound kept by a warrior brave, Yet, its bravery not unnoticed by the Red Devil, saw a chance to make this hound the keeper of his gates of hell... This Hellhound is silent, not a sound it makes as it guards the gates ready to strike in the darkness with a killer grace... Once prey is found, Hellhound will take it down, it strikes with stealth at one stroke! - PowerColor
In terms of product-positioning, Hellhound seems to be one step below the PowerColor Red Dragon series. We don't know yet if Hellhound will exclusively be used for RX 6700 series (and lower), or whether PowerColor also plans Hellhound versions of the RX 6800 lineup. Given all the GPU shortages, we don't think the hell hound will roam freely in large packs, at least not yet.

PowerColor Hellbound

Windows 10 Sun Valley will let you hide 3D Objects in File Explorer

1 day ago
MSFT logo
Microsoft's goal for Windows 10 is to release two feature updates per year. For the past couple of years, there's been a big update in Spring and a smaller update in Fall. This year, the roles are reserved as the upcoming Windows 10 build 21H1 will be a minor update.

Later this year, the software giant will release a much more substantive feature update for Windows 10. Among other things, the 21H2 update will pack something Microsoft has codenamed "Sun Valley" -- a reinvigoration of the Windows 10 user interface. The goal is to make the Windows 10 user interface more streamlined, to give it a more modern look, and to make it more uniform.

Windows Latest reports Sun Valley will also make it possible to hide the 3D Objects folder in Windows 10's File Explorer.

3D Objects is a folder that was introduced with the Windows 10 Creators Update (version 1703), this version of Windows introduced a new Paint 3D app with support for 3D models. It's one of the many features of Windows 10 that are rarely used -- yet it's impossible to delete or hide the folder without making manual edits to the Windows 10 register. The Windows 10 21H2 update will finally make it possible to hide the folder, but Microsoft is still ignoring user feedback and will not make it possible to delete it:
With the Sun Valley update, Microsoft is looking to reduce the clutter in File Explorer and they plan to hide the 3D Objects folder by default. After the update, this useless folder will no longer be shown under ‘This PC’ unless you right-click and select the “Show all folders” option on the navigation pane.
W10 3D Objects folder

No AMD Radeon RX 6700 launch - further delays

1 day ago
AMD logo
AMD is expected to introduce its Radeon RX 6700 XT via a gaming-oriented event that will be livestreamed on March 3, 2021. This is the company's first product with the Navi 22 GPU, it's expected to feature 2560 stream processors and 12GB of GDDR6 memory.

The rollout of mid-range Radeon RX 6000 series cards is taking longer than expected because AMD is constrained in terms of production. We've written a lot about chip shortages lately and this is one of the primary reasons why we're seeing fewer video card launches. Given that it's already impossible to meet current demand from consumers, it doesn't make a lot of sense to stretch limited resources over even more SKUs. There's nothing more frustrating for consumers than releasing an in-demand product that can't be found anywhere.

French tech site Cowcotland heard from its sources that the Radeon RX 6700 XT will hit the retail market on March 18th. The Radeon RX 6700 on the other hand has been delayed. AMD planned to introduce the Radeon RX 6700 on March 15th -- but this is no longer happening as the company can't produce enough cards.
We have some new information on AMD’s announcement on March 3. Only the RX 6700 XT will be announced. There was indeed an RX 6700 in the red program, for March 15th, but it has been delayed (for the moment) and we will therefore only have the RX 6700 XT which will be commercially available on March 18th.
The supply of the Radeon RX 6700 XT is expected to be better than the Radeon RX 6800 series launch volume -- but still very limited. Cowcotland claims the launch volume of Radeon RX 6700 XT reference cards in France will total only 100 cards. This will be supplemented by "hundreds" of custom-design cards from AMD's add-in board partners. AIBs have been stocking cards for a while, yet the numbers are still very low as consumer demand will be a lot higher. Getting your hands on a reasonably priced video card is extremely hard now. And unfortunately, we don't think it's going to get better soon.

Radeon RX 6700 specifications

So what's the difference between the soon-to-be-out Radeon RX 6700 XT and the future Radeon RX 6700? Both cards use the Navi 22 GPU and feature a 192-bit memory bus. The XT version is expected to feature 2560 streaming processors, the non-XT model is a cut-down version. At the moment, there are no good leaks about the number of cores of the regular RX 6700. We do know that the 6700 is expected to get 6GB GDDR6 memory -- which is half of what the RX 6700 XT will launch with next week.

Via: VideoCardz

LCD displays to get more expensive

1 day ago
Shortages are expected to drive up the price of LCD display panels. Industry sources told DigiTimes that manufacturers are hit by a lack of supply of upstream chips and materials. Display makers have trouble getting enough driver ICs and glass substrates, and this situation is getting worse.

At the same time, demand for LCD panels remains high thanks to strong sales of TVs, computers, and other devices supporting the stay-at-home economy in Europe and North America.

Prices of LCD displays increased this month and will continue rising in March. The report offers some TV panel price data from market research firm Sigmaintell:
China-based research firm Sigmaintell estimates average selling prices (ASP) for 32-inch LCD TV panels to rise by US$3 from February to US$75 in March, and that for 43-inch ones to advance US$5 reaching US$127. Prices for large-size TV panels ranging from 50 to 75 inches are expected to see an average hike of US$7.
And there are also predictions about laptop panels:
Sigmaintell estimates the ASP for 21.5-inch LCD modules for monitors may rise by US$3 on month to US$55 in March, compared to a corresponding gain of US$2.5 for 23.8-inch offerings and a hike of US$2 for 27-inch ones.

It estimates 14-inch HD TN panel modules for Chromebooks may advance by US$1.5-2, and mainstream 14-inch and 15.6-inch IPS panel modules for notebooks could rise by US$1-1.5 in March.
Overall, not really massive increases, but it all adds up as this isn't the only component that's getting more expensive.

TSMC expects a third more 5nm production in 2H 2021

1 day ago
TSMC logo
There are chip shortages everywhere and one piece of the puzzle is a lack of foundry capacity. Production on TSMC's latest nodes is pretty much fully booked and that's constraining the ability of various chip makers to meet high consumer demand.

Ramping up production isn't easy, it requires a lot of capital and time. DigiTimes writes TSMC expects to boost its 5nm wafer output by one third in the second half of this year. The Taiwanese foundry's 5nm node pumped out 90,000 wafers a month in Q4 2020. This figure is expected to rise to 105,000 wafers a month in the first half of 2021 and will eventually hit 120,000 wafers monthly in the second half of 2021.

TSMC's 5nm node is used by a variety of large tech firms, including Apple, AMD, and MediaTek. Later this year, AMD is expected to introduce its first Zen 4-based processors, these chips will use TSMC's 5nm process.

New issues on the horizon

But while TSMC is ramping up capacity, the foundry is also facing new issues. Yesterday reports emerged that TSMC is now trucking in water to meet its production needs. Taiwan had an unusually dry rain season and companies are asked to restrict water consumption because water levels at reservoirs have dropped to dangerously low levels.

Chip shortages to get worse... and persist until 2022

On a related note, it appears the chip shortages will be with us a lot longer than most of us hoped. MarketWatch reports analysts predict shortages will remain common throughout 2021 -- if not longer.
We believe semi companies are shipping 10% to 30% BELOW current demand levels and it will take at least 3-4 quarters for supply to catch up with demand and then another 1-2 quarters for inventories at customers/distribution channels to be replenished back to normal levels.” - J.P. Morgan analyst Harlan Sur
At least in the short term, it doesn't seem like we should expect improvement. In fact, it looks like shortages will get worse as we head into the Spring season.

NVIDIA CMPs are 12nm Turing and not 8nm Ampere-based

1 day ago
NVIDIA logo
A week ago, NVIDIA introduced its first Cryptocurrency Mining Processors (CMPs). Amidst the current boom in cryptocurrency mining, the green team is making some efforts to ensure more GPUs and up in the hands of gamers.

NVIDIA claims the CMPs will not affect the supply of GeForce cards and now we know why. VideoCardz reports references in the newly released GeForce 461.72 driver confirm that the first CMPs are not based on the new Ampere GPU architecture.

The CMP 30HX and 40HX, the first NVIDIA mining processors to hit the market, are based on the previous-generation Turing architecture. The former is based on the TU116 and the latter is a derivative of the TU106. The chips are made on a 12nm process from TSMC, so at least in terms of foundry capacity, there's no impact on the production of the Ampere GPUs. The newest generation from NVIDIA uses Samsung's 8nm node.

Turing-based mining processors are not ideal as these chips are less profitable than Ampere -- they have a higher power consumption and the hash rate isn't impressive either. It seems like a tough sell as long as better alternatives are available.

Will it help?

Whether the CMP will become a success remains to be seen. NVIDIA expects CMPs will pull in only about $15 million in revenue this quarter, which is insignificant versus the current volume sold to miners. The only way the firm can push miners to these chips is by artificially limiting the mining performance of its GeForce GPUs.

The hash rate limiter of the GeForce RTX 3060 is a first step but its success will depend on how easily this protection can be hacked. According to NVIDIA, it's a very secure system, but we wouldn't be surprised if someone comes up with a software or hardware-based solution to circumvent the anti-mining algorithm.

Future NVIDIA GeForce cards are expected to feature similar anti-mining protections. At the moment, it's unknown whether the green team will take measures to make current Ampere-based GeForce cards less attractive to miners. NVIDIA will not limit the mining performance of existing cards -- that wouldn't make sense anyway as miners would simply refuse to install these drivers or firmware. But there are some rumors that NVIDIA could reintroduce the current GeForce lineup under new SKUs.

Making CMPs on the 12nm node may help a bit to get more GeForce cards in the hands of gamers, but we still think both lines are competing for the same resources. Foundry capacity is not the only constraint at the moment, there are also reports about shortages of GDDR6 memory, substrates, and various other components that are used by both products.

NVIDIA logo

Corsair targets budget market with $29.99 KATAR PRO XT mouse

2 days ago
Two new gaming products from Corsair today. First up, the firm introduces its KATAR PRO XT gaming mouse. This is a basic $29.99 gaming mouse with six programmable buttons, 18K dpi optical sensor, switchable DPI, macro support, and a weight of just 73g. Almost zero RGB LEDs.
CORSAIR®, a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today launched a new ultra-light gaming mouse, the KATAR PRO XT. At a weight of just 73g and equipped with a drag-reducing paracord cable, the KATAR PRO XT is extremely agile and well-suited for fast-paced FPS and MOBA gameplay. The KATAR PRO XT is also the first CORSAIR mouse to implement new CORSAIR QUICKSTRIKE buttons, pre-tensioned to reduce button travel to a minimum, meaning every click from the KATAR PRO XT registers faster than ever.

Sporting a compact symmetrical shape, the KATAR PRO XT is great for claw and fingertip grip styles. With a weight of 73g, the KATAR PRO XT is one of the lightest in the entire CORSAIR gaming mouse lineup, aided by a lightweight paracord cable that reduces drag to enable faster and more precise movements. Debuting in the KATAR PRO XT, CORSAIR QUICKSTRIKE buttons feature a spring-loaded pre-tensioned design with zero gap between the primary mouse buttons and their switches, so that all your shots and spells register immediately with virtually no travel distance.

In addition to QUICKSTRIKE buttons, the KATAR PRO XT is outfitted with the high-performance features that gamers demand, including an 18,000 DPI optical sensor for high-accuracy tracking and durable OMRON switches guaranteed for 50 million clicks. The KATAR PRO XT is equipped with six buttons, all programmable with CORSAIR iCUE software to execute time-saving macros, custom actions, button remaps, and much more. iCUE also enables sensitivity adjustment right down to single DPI steps, and saves up to three DPI presets for convenient adjustment when switching games or tasks.
KATAR PRO XT

A new RGB mousepad too

A second new product from Corsair is the MM700 RGB, an oversized mousepad that measures 930mm x 400mm. Ideal as a surface for not only your mouse but also your keyboard. This version has three RGB LED zones that can be controlled via Corsair's iCUE software. The MSRP is $59.99 but Corsair's webshop currently has a sale for $49.99.
The MM700 RGB is the first extended mouse pad from CORSAIR to incorporate RGB lighting, with three addressable zones and 360° of customizable lighting surrounding your desktop. Use iCUE software to fully customize lighting and synchronize with the rest of your setup, or take advantage of simple push-button control to cycle through 12 onboard lighting profiles. The MM700 RGB’s glide-enhanced woven textile surface offers low friction for smooth tracking and pinpoint targeting, while an integrated USB hub with two ports provides convenient access to plug in peripherals such as a mouse or headset.
Corsair MM700 RGB

NVIDIA GeForce 461.72 WHQL is out for the GeForce RTX 3060

2 days ago
NVIDIA logo
A new video card also means a new driver. Together with the release of the GeForce RTX 3060 video card, NVIDIA rolls out the GeForce Game Ready 461.72 WHQL release. You can find the driver over here. This version has optimizations for the Outriders Demo and adds DLS and Reflex support for some games.

Besides the GeForce RTX 3060 video card, the GeForce 461.72 WHQL is also the first driver to support the new Crypto Mining Processors (CMPs). In particular, this version supports the NVIDIA CMP 40HX and NVIDIA CMP 30HX.
Fixed Issues in this Release
  • [G-SYNC][Edge of Eternity/Hitman 2]: The games experience stutter and low FPS when using hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling in windowed mode. [200685971]
  • [G-Sync][Vulkan Apps]: Performance drop occurs when using G-SYNC and switching from full-screen mode to windowed mode using the in-game settings. [200681477]
  • [The Isle]: Freestyle is not supported for the game. [3229829]
  • [VIndictus][GeForce Experience]: The game cannot be recorded. [2203875]
  • [X4: Foundations][Vulkan]: The application crashes when launched on Windows 10 (Version 1803). [3220107]
  • Wallpaper Engine app may crash on startup or upon resume from sleep. [3208963]
  • [Blu-ray][HDMI]: Flickering occurs in Blu-ray playback when played over HDMI. [3221611]
  • Several desktop applications flicker when Vertical Sync is set to the default “Use the 3D application setting”. [3252186]
  • [Ampere]: Chrome/Edge may experience random TDR while browsing.[3195894]
  • LG CX OLED TVs (2020) are not recognized as G-SYNC Compatible displays.[3244055]
  • [Surround][RTX 30 series] PC may display “no signal” message when enabling NVIDIA Surround. [3230565]
  • [Notebook]: On some Notebooks, the 'Maximum Graphics Power' information missing in the NVIDIA Control Panel > System Information page. [200697069]
So how is the new GeForce RTX 3060? A lot of reviews just hit the web, all of them being of custom-design cards as NVIDIA isn't making a Founders Edition of the RTX 3060. At least in theory, pricing starts at $329 but inventory is expected to be low, and real retail pricing will be a lot higher. Overall, the GeForce RTX 3060 is a very good option for Full HD or 1440p gaming systems -- if you can find one. The card is faster than the GeForce RTX 2070 and a lot of models run very cool.

The GeForce RTX 3060 is the first card with the 8nm Ampere-based GA106 GPU. It has 3854 CUDA cores and a 192-bit memory bus. The reference specifications call for a 1320MHz base clock and a 1777MHz Boost. There's 12GB GDDR6 memory clocked at 15Gbps and the card offers 360GB/s of memory bandwidth. The TGP is 170W and one of the new things is that it's the first NVIDIA video card with anti-mining protection.

We still don't know the specifics of how this works, but the gist of it is that when Ethereum mining is detected, the card will drop the hash rate in half. It's not a driver-based feature, it is baked into the firmware and possibly into the GPU itself. Whether this will be enough to deter miners remains to be seen.

Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact looks like a higher-airflow version of the Define 7 Compact

2 days ago
Fractal Design presents the Meshify 2 Compact, a new tower case that looks like a higher-airflow edition of the firm's Define 7 Compact. The new case features the sharp angular asymmetry of its predecessors and has a high-airflow front design with two 140mm intake fans. Hot air leaves the case via the included 120mm rear fan. In total, the case supports seven 120mm fans or four 140mm fans.

The base model is black and has a solid side panel. This version is also offered with a dark tempered glass or light tempered glass side panel. Additionally, Fractal Deign also has a white edition with a clear tempered glass side panel. Pricing starts around 100EUR.

Meshify 2 Compact

Meshify 2 Compact
PC case designer Fractal today announced the release of the Meshify 2 Compact. Building on the Meshify history of intelligent space utilization and smooth airflow pathing, Fractal’s design team has introduced a host of new features in the Meshify 2 series such as a front USB 3.1 Type-C port, a bolt-free tempered glass panel, a fully removable top panel that grants excellent interior access, and a front nylon filter that can be removed from the mesh for increased airflow.

  • Iconic angular mesh front provides filtered airflow with a bold, stealth-inspired aesthetic
  • Room for GPUs up to 360 mm with a 240 mm radiator in the top, or up to 360/280 mm front radiators with GPUs under 305 mm
  • Install up to 7x 120 mm or 4x 140 mm fans (1x 120 mm and 2x 140 mm Dynamic X2 fans included)
  • Versatile and space-efficient ATX form-factor design offers the performance and capacity of much larger cases
  • Open interior layout creates a smooth airflow path from front intake to rear exhaust
  • Seamlessly integrated TG panel with steel frame support and bolt-free top-latching mechanism
  • Fully removable top panel and top fan bracket opens to provide excellent interior access and easy cable routing
  • Three front USB ports including one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C with fast charging and speeds up to 10Gbps
  • Robust cooling capacity with seven fan positions and support for up to 360/280 mm radiators
  • Flexible storage options supporting two 2.5”/3.5” drives and up to four SSDs (two SSD brackets included)
Meshify 2 Compact continues the legacy of its predecessors with a sharp angular asymmetry, high-performance standards and a filtered airflow path from front intake directly through key components to exhaust. The result is a keenly anticipated update to one of Fractals most popular cases.

SK Hynix signs $4.3 billion deal with ASML for EUV machines

2 days ago
SK logo
Memory makers are preparing for a big push to EUV. South Korea's SK Hynix announced a new 4.8 trillion won ($4.34 billion) deal with Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML.

It's a five-year contract to secure an unnamed number of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) scanners. These are tools used for the production of semiconductors, ASML is the only company in the world that makes EUV scanners. EUV is the next big step in semiconductor production, it's been in the making for a lot longer than expected but over the past couple of years, the last hurdles have been cleared. Switching to EUV is a necessity as it simplifies production versus the multi-patterning techniques that were used to squeeze more mileage from traditional immersion lithography.

TSMC and Samsung are already running EUV production, the latter expects to mass production DDR5 and LPDDR5 using the EUV-based 10nm-class D1a sometime later this year. SK Hynix revealed it will use EUV for its next-generation process, with initial production anticipated in the second half of this year.

Droughts force TSMC to truck in water

2 days ago
TSMC logo
Global chip production just can't seem to get a break. Since last year, shortages have become commonplace in a lot of industries. On one hand, you have exceptionally high demand, and on the other hand, there are issues with scaling up production. These problems are further exacerbated by temporary issues like last week's winter storms in the US, which resulted in shutdowns of chip factories in Texas to conserve electricity.

Typhoon-free summer in Taiwan bad news for chip production

Now a new problem rears its head. Reuters reports droughts in Taiwan are forcing chip foundries to truck in water. The island typically has a heavy rain season, but last year's summer was not only typhoon-free but also unusually dry.

Water levels in several reservoirs of Taiwan's central and southern regions have dropped below 20 percent. The situation near Hsinchu, where TSMC has its main operations, is even worse. Water levels at the Second Baoshan Reservoir have fallen to a dangerously low 14.6 percent. As a result, the Taiwanese government has demanded companies to conserve water.

This is a problem for the chip industry as the production of semiconductors requires a lot of water. TSMC reports it's now trucking in small loads of water to supply some of its Taiwanese facilities. Reuters writes Vanguard and UMC have also signed contracts with water truck firms.
“We are making preparations for our future water demand,” TSMC told Reuters, describing the move as a “pressure test”. The chip giant said it has seen no impact on production. Both Vanguard International Semiconductor Corporation and United Microelectronics Corp signed contracts with water trucks and said there was no impact on production.
This isn't the first time TSMC has to truck in water, but it definitely comes at a bad moment and could potentially worsen chip shortages and/or result in price increases. At the moment, TSMC says it's not seeing an impact on production.

Shortages throughout 2022 too?!

Next, a DigiTimes report claims shortages of various components could last a lot longer than expected. Taiwan-based SSD controller maker Silicon Motion expects capacity constraints at foundry and backend providers will likely cause the global shortage of semiconductors to persist through 2022. The site also picked up news that MOSFET makers will "sharply" increase prices in the coming months.

Windows 10 build 19042.844 resolves more bugs

2 days ago
Microsoft logo
Microsoft published the changelog of KB4601382, a new optional update for Windows 10 version 2004 and Windows 10 version 20H2. Depending on the version you're currently running, the update bumps up the build version to 19041.844 and 19042.844, respectively.

A list of all the changes can be found over here. The update will be rolled out via Windows Update but you can also get it manually if you want to speed up the process.
Highlights
  • Updates an issue that displays unexpected screens during the Windows Out of Box Experience (OOBE).
  • Updates an issue in Advanced display settings that shows the incorrect refresh rates available for high dynamic range (HDR) displays.
  • Updates an issue that might cause video playback to flicker when rendering on certain low-latency capable monitors.
  • Updates an issue that sometimes prevents the input of strings into the Input Method Editor (IME).
  • Updates an issue that might sometimes prevent some keyboard keys from working, such as the home, Ctrl, or left arrow keys. This issue occurs when you set the Japanese IME input mode to Kana.
  • Updates an issue that displays the wrong language when you sign in to a console after you change the system locale.
  • Updates an issue with screen rendering after opening games with certain hardware configurations.
  • Displays the proper Envelope media type as a selectable output paper type for Universal Print queues.
  • Updates support for hole punch and stapling locations for print jobs with long edge first paper feed direction on certain printers.

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