Samsung Mass Producing 256 GB eUFS For Automotive Industry

Subject: Storage | February 8, 2018 - 08:04 AM |
Tagged: UFS, Samsung, eUFS, embedded, automotive, adas, 256GB

Samsung announced yesterday that it has begun mass production of 256 GB eUFS (Embedded Universal Flash Storage) flash storage for embedded automotive applications. Doubling the capacity of the 128GB eUFS flash it announced last fall, the new embedded flash conforms to the newer JEDEC eUFS 3.0 standard including the new temperature monitoring and thermal throttling safety features which Samsung reportedly had a hand in developing. The new embedded storage is aimed at smart vehicles for use in driver assistance features (ADAS), infotainment systems, and next-generation dashboards.

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The new eUFS 3.0 compliant flash is notable for featuring increased temperature ranges of between -40°C and 105°C for both operational and idle/power saving modes which makes it much better suited for use in vehicles where temperature extremes can be reach both from extreme weather and engine heat. Samsung compares its eUFS flash with traditional eMMC 5.1 storage which has a temperature range of only -25°C to 85°C when in use and -40°C to 85°C when in power saving mode.

Samsung’s eUFS can hit sequential read speeds of up to 850 MB/s and random read performance of up to 45,000 IOPS. Samsung did not specify write performance numbers but based on its other eUFS flash sequential and random writes should be in the neighborhood of 250 MB/s and 40,000 IOPS respectively. According to Samsung in its press material for 512GB eUFS for smartphones, the 256GB eUFS for the automotive market is composed of 8 stacks of 48-layer 256Gb V-NAND and a controller all packaged together to hit the 256GB storage capacity. Samsung has included a temperature sensor in the flash along with the ability for the controller to notify the host AP (application processor) at any pre-set temperature thresholds to enable the AP to downclock to lower power and heat to acceptable levels. The temperature monitoring hardware is intended to help protect the heat sensitive NAND flash from extreme temperatures to improve data reliability and longevity. The eUFS flash also features a “data refresh” feature that improves long term performance by relocating older data to less-often used cells. Embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) is interesting compared to eMMC for more than temperatures though as it uses a dual channel LVDS serial interface that allows it to operate in full duplex mode rather than the half duplex mode of eMMC with its x8 parallel interface. This means that eUFS can be read and written to simultaneously and with the addition of command queueing, the controller is able to efficiently execute and prioritize read/write operations and perform error correction without involving the host processor and software.

I am looking forward to the advancements in eUFS storage and its use in more performant mobile devices and vehicles, especially on the low end in tablets and notebooks where eMMC is currently popular.

Source: Samsung

NVIDIA Announces Q1 2018 Results

Subject: Editorial | May 10, 2017 - 09:45 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, earnings, revenues, Q1 2018, Q1, v100, data center, automotive, gpu, gtx 1080 ti

NVIDIA had a monster Q1. The quarter before the company had their highest revenue numbers in the history of the company.  Q1 can be a slightly more difficult time and typically the second weakest quarter of the year.  The Holiday rush is over and the market slows down.  For NVIDIA, this was not exactly the case.  While NVIDIA made $2.173 billion in Q4 2017, they came remarkably close to that with revenues of $1.937 billion.  While $250 million is a significant drop, it is not an unexpected one.  In fact, it shows NVIDIA being slightly stronger than expectations.

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The past year has shown tremendous growth for NVIDIA.  Their GPUs remain strong and they have the highest performing parts at the upper midrange and high end markets.  AMD simply has not been able to compete with NVIDIA, much less overcome the company with higher performing parts at the top end.  GPUs still make up the largest portion of income that NVIDIA receives.  NVIDIA continues to invest in new areas and those investments are starting to pay off.

Automotive is still in the growth stages for the company, but they have successfully taken the Tegra CPU division and moved away from the cellphone and tablet markets.  NVIDIA continues to support their Shield products, but the main focus looks to be the automotive industry with these high performing, low power parts that sport advanced graphical options.  Professional graphics continues to be a stronghold for NVIDIA.  While it did drop quite a bit from the previous quarter, it is a high margin area that helps bolster revenues.

The biggest mover over this past year seems to be the Data Center.  Last year NVIDIA focused on delivering entire solutions to the market as well as their individual GPUs.  The past two years have seen them have essentially no income in this area to having a $400 million quarter.  This is simply tremendous growth in an area that is still relatively untapped when it comes to GPU compute.

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NVIDIA continues to be very aggressive in their product design and introductions.  They have simply owned the $300+ range of graphics cards with the GTX 1070, GTX 1080, and the recently introduced GTX 1080 Ti.  This is somewhat ignoring the even higher end TitanXp that is priced well above most enthusiasts’ budgets.  Today they announced the V100 chip that is the first glimpse we have of a high end part running on TSMC’s new 12nm FinFET process.  It also features 16 GB of HBM2 memory and a whopping 21 billion transistors in total.

Next quarter looks to be even better than this one, which is a shock because Q2 has traditionally been the slowest quarter of the year.  NVIDIA expects around $1.95 billion in revenues (actually increasing from Q1).  NVIDIA also is rewarding shareholders with not only a quarterly dividend, but also has been actively buying back shares (which tends to keep share prices healthy).  Early last year NVIDIA had a share price of around $30 while today they are trending well above $100.

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If NVIDIA keeps this up while continuing to expand in automotive and data center, it is a fairly safe bet that they will easily overtop $8 billion in revenues for the year.  Q3 and Q4 will be stronger if they continue to advance in those areas while retaining marketshare in the GPU market.  With rumors hinting that AMD will not have a product that will top the GTX 1080Ti, it is a safe bet that NVIDIA can easily adjust their prices across the board to stay competitive with whatever AMD throws at them.

It is interesting to look back when AMD was shopping around for a graphics firm and wonder what could have happened.  Hector Ruiz was in charge of AMD and tried to leverage a deal with NVIDIA.  Rumors have it that Huang would not agree to it unless he was CEO.  Hector laughed and talked to ATI who was more than happy to sell (and cover up some real weaknesses in the company).  We all know what happened to Hector and how his policies and actions started the spiral that AMD is only now recovering from.  What would that have been like if Jensen had actually become CEO of that merged company?

Source: NVIDIA

Intel Announces "Cars Are Things" - with New Automotive Platform

Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2014 - 10:21 AM |
Tagged: SoC, linux, internet of things, Intel, automotive, automation, atom

Imagine: You get into the family car and it knows that it’s you, so it adjusts everything just the way you like it. You start driving and your GPS is superimposed over the road in real time from within your windshield, with virtual arrows pointing to your next turn. Kids play games on their touchscreen windows in the back, and everyone travels safely as their cars anticipate accidents...

Sound far-fetched? Work is already being done to make things like these a reality, and Intel has now announced their stake in the future of connected, and eventually autonomous, automobiles.

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Intel's new automotive computing platform

Ensuring that every device in our lives is always connected seems like the goal of many companies going forward, and the “Internet of Things” is a very real, and rapidly growing, part of the business world. Intel is no exception, and since cars are things (as I’ve been informed) it makes sense to look in this area as well, right? Well, Intel has announced development of their automotive initiative, with the overall goal to create safer - and eventually autonomous - cars. Doug Davis, Corporate VP, Internet of Things Group at Intel, hosted the online event, which began with a video depicting automotive travel in a fully connected world. It doesn’t seem that far away...

"We are combining our breadth of experience in consumer electronics and enterprise IT with a holistic automotive investment across product development, industry partnerships and groundbreaking research efforts,” Davis said. “Our goal is to fuel the evolution from convenience features available in the car today to enhanced safety features of tomorrow and eventually self-driving capabilities.”

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So how exactly does this work? The tangible element of Intel’s vision of connected, computer controlled vehicles begins with the In-Vehicle Solutions Platform which provides Intel silicon to automakers. And as it’s an “integrated solution” Intel points out that this should cut time and expense from the current, more complex methods employed in assembling automotive computer systems. Makes sense, since they are delivering a complete Intel Atom based system platform, powered by the E3800 processor. The OS is Tizen IVI ("automotive grade" Linux). A development kit was also announced, and there are already companies creating systems using this platform, according to Intel.

Source: Intel