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IBM Announces 2nm Process Technology And Becomes A Kingmaker

In the world of microprocessors, there is a battle going on: who will be the King of Process Technology? The outcome of that battle will largely depend upon who can produce parts that generate the best performance per watt and how small of a device you can place the resulting chip into. Intel, once a leader in process technology, fell behind the curve a couple of years back and subsequently lost market share against competitor AMD.

When IBM sold IBM Microelectronics, it created the false impression that IBM was exiting the Microprocessor segment. However, IBM still has significant processor efforts tied to its servers, mainframes, and storage offerings. As a result, IBM Research, one of the few remaining focused technologies, quietly continued their work and this week announced they have a viable 2nm process they are willing to license to others.

The Processor Landscape

Interestingly, IBM announced a close partnership with Intel just a short time ago; an ex-IBM Microelectronics executive runs AMD. Samsung produces IBM’s processors, and NVIDIA partners closely with IBM to create AI accelerators. If any of these companies, currently in competition with each other, could use this technology, they have the potential to leapfrog their competitors. The possibility of this outcome makes IBM a kingmaker in the processor space, and the deals they cut (or don’t cut) could redefine the competitive landscape for processors. With Intel and Samsung on the shortlist, things could get very interesting.

The Power Of Process Leadership

Process technology takes a while to adapt to any microprocessor architecture, so the improvements IBM discovered will likely take between one and two years to place into products depending on how compatible this process is to a chip’s architecture.

In terms of time to market, Samsung, which is linked most closely to IBM thanks to their production of IBM chips, has the most potential to ramp rapidly. This advantage isn’t just because they are already building for IBM but also because they use ARM, the most open of the chip architectures and the one that has platforms that appear to be the most tolerant of significant changes.

But Samsung, while incredibly powerful as a solutions company, is less potent with parts because their solutions can, at times, make them less attractive to companies that might otherwise consider Samsung processors. Samsung competing with the firms that could go to them for parts undoubtedly lowers their market power in this segment regardless of how good they are in it. And, to many, Samsung is excellent.

But suppose Samsung can make this process technology work. In that case, the resulting competitive advantage that processors would receive using this process should drive some firms that currently wouldn’t trust Samsung to revisit their position to prevent a significant loss in market share.

Intel’s recent alliance with IBM to build microprocessors puts them on this shortlist as well, and the FABs that Intel is funding could now be built to embrace 2nm. This manufacturing capability should come online within the two-year timeframe to apply this new process to Intel’s lines. Intel has also indicated they will go more aggressively after the third-party chip-making market placing them against Samsung with substantial US funding to help ensure Intel gets this technology working first. Intel could then take IBM’s processor business from Samsung, placing it back in the US, consistent with US Presidential needs, and then aggressively offer this capability to others.

Firms like TSMC and Global Foundries, which build chips for others, would then have to face the genuine possibility of losing some of their most valuable business – high-performing processors – to a vastly improved Intel.

Who Benefits from IBM’s Process Technology?

IBM’s process technology is a potential game-changer, but its real impact is 1 to 2 years out. They are planning to license the technology, and the firms most likely to benefit are Intel and Samsung. Still, nothing is stopping AMD and NVIDIA from licensing the technology as well. Qualcomm, as part of the Intel FAB announcement, could come in from the side as an ARM advocate and surprise everyone.

This week IBM reminded us that they are still a power to be reckoned with, and while this won’t make them a king, it will make them a kingmaker, and sometimes kingmakers can be the source of significant change. You may recall that IBM initially blessed Intel and Microsoft and forced Intel to license AMD, creating much of the current market dynamic. If you can create something, you can shake it up, and this week, IBM demonstrated they could massively shake up the processor market. It is going to be an interesting 12 to 24 months.

Image courtesy of IBM

Source: IBM Announces 2nm Process Technology And Becomes A Kingmaker

Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 124 With Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements

Apple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced in March 2016. Apple designed the ‌Safari Technology Preview‌ to test features that may be introduced into future release versions of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview Feature‌Safari Technology Preview‌ release 124 includes bug fixes and performance improvements for Web Inspector, CSS, JavaScript, Web API, Rendering, Wheel Events, Web Driver, WebGL, WebRTC, WebCrypto, and Scrolling.

The current ‌Safari Technology Preview‌ release is the built on the new Safari 14 update included in macOS Big Sur with support for Safari Web Extensions imported from other browsers, tab previews, password breach notifications, web authentication with Touch ID, and more.

The new ‌Safari Technology Preview‌ update is available for both macOS Catalina and ‌macOS Big Sur‌, the newest version of the Mac operating system.

The ‌Safari Technology Preview‌ update is available through the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple's aim with ‌Safari Technology Preview‌ is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. ‌Safari Technology Preview‌ can run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.

Source: Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 124 With Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements

Long Island Asks Homeowners To Install Smart Technology Systems To Help Conserve Water

SOUTH FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It’s called Long Island’s greatest natural resource — water.

Now, there’s a big push to stop the waste as usage skyrockets.

Michael and Diane Papa love their landscaping and lawn.

“I like to keep my lawn green, you know, the nitrogen business, and I do water when I’m supposed to, within compliance,” Michael Papa told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.

They are aware that during the pandemic, New York state residents used 28% more water at home because of more showering, laundry, washing hands and flushing toilets.

“I’m careful with the water, not keeping it on and running, and I think we are careful with watering the lawn,” Diane Papa said.

Now, the Long Island Water Conference is alerting residents that May to September water usage is expected to triple.

“Seventy-five percent of water usage really is irrigation, and we can see that in our bills,” said Andrew Bader, with the Long Island Water Conference.

A long-term effort is being launched to save water, save money and save Long Island’s sole source aquifer.

“Smart controllers are probably the best thing that has come along in our industry to help conserve water,” said Michael Dwyer, with the Irrigation Association of New York.

Homeowners can install weather system remote sensors. The smart technology includes sprinkler apps showing water and money saved because it rained.

Long Island has 48 water districts. Most will offer rebates or refunds for smart controller technology, which can cost $100-300 before installation.

“These customers are seeing real savings up to 30 percent,” said Lynda Dimenna, with New York American Water. “That savings going back to the environment, as well as in your pocketbook.”

Environmentalists boast smart technology can pay for itself in one year, slowing the need for constant infrastructure improvements among Long Island’s 13,000 public water supply wells.

“The bigger price to pay is the increased strain on our aquifer which affects water quality,” said Ty Fuller, with the Suffolk County Water Authority.

That sole source aquifer system provides 100% of Long Island’s drinking water, which must be preserved and protected.

In many communities, lawn watering is banned from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advocates are urging those without sensors to water every other day at most.

Source: Long Island Asks Homeowners To Install Smart Technology Systems To Help Conserve Water

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