Insights From Leading Edge

IFTLE 304 Renesas Acquires Intersil; Intel’s Knights Landing: An Update

By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor

Renesas Acquires Intersil

Consolidation continues with the latest deal announcement of Renesas buying Intersil for $3.2B beating out Maxim who was known to be seeking a similar deal [link]. Renesas reportedly aims to complete the deal by June 2017. The acquisition will need to win approval from the US Committee on Foreign Investment, which scrutinizes deals for potential national security issues.

Renesas was created in 2003 from the chip-making units of NEC, Mitsubishi Electric and Hitachi . It is the world’s largest auto semiconductor maker in 2014,[ one of the world’s largest makers of semiconductor systems for mobile phones, the world’s largest maker of microcontrollers 9 controls nearly 40 percent of the global market for microcontroller chips used in automobiles), and the second largest maker of application processors. Its automotive and industrial businesses accounted for 70% of its revenue in 2015. The combination with Intersil is expected to result in better products for in-vehicle entertainment, battery management and safety systems [link].

Intersil, headquartered in Milpitis CA, formed in 1999 when Harris Corp spun off its semiconductor business. In 2014 it had ~1000 employees and revenue of $562MM. It is known for power management ICs and precision analog technology for applications in industrial, infrastructure, mobile, automotive and aerospace. The company supplies power IC solutions including battery management, computing power, display power, regulators a d controllers and power modules; as well as precision analog components such as amplifiers and buffers, proximity and light sensors, data converters, timing products, optoelectronics and interface products. They are a major supplier to the military and aerospace industries

Intel Knights Landing

We first discussed Intel’s Knights Landing in IFTLE 198 [link].

The Knights Landing (KNL) chip is the first commercial processor with very high bandwidth MCDRAM memory (Intel’s name for Microns HMC memory cubes) right next to the CPU in the same package, and the first integrated high speed main memory on any class of Xeon processor. Intel is now apparently able to ship Knights Landing processors in volume with the announcement that they will be shipping several variants of the Knights Landing X86 processor starting September 2016.

Intel disclosed he memory hierarchy of Knights Landing last year, explaining how the mix of local MCDRAM on the Knights Landing package and DDR4 memory that is on the motherboard (but controlled from on-chip memory controllers) like regular servers can be used in different ways, depending on the workload.

Intel 2

The performance jump from the Knights Corner coprocessors to the Knights Landing processors ranges from somewhere between 2.6X and 2.9X with the price only rising by 1.4X to 1.5X.

Intel expects to ship more than 100,000 Xeon Phi units this year into the HPC market. More than 30 system makers are reportedly going to use these Knights Landing processors [link].

Intel is clearly taking as little more time to ramp up the yields on the 14 nanometer processes used to etch the latest Xeon Phi chips, and given that at more than 8 billion transistors per die, it is also the largest chip that Intel has ever made.

intel 1

300mm KNL Wafer

Hynix Building up CMOS Image Sensor Capability

Our discussions in IFTLE 303 on the status of CMOS Image sensor technology had little to say about SK Hynix.

Recent reports from Korea indicate that SK Hynix is going to mass-produce their 13 MM pixel CIS at their 300mm factory M10 in Icheon Korea, in 2017. Because of the size of this CIS, it is believed that SK Hynix could not manufacture at a profit at 200mm. [link]

In October of 2007 Hynix entered the CIS business. In 2008 Hynix acquired Siliconfile, a CIS fabless manufacturing company. Until now, SK Hynix had been supplying CIS with < 5MM pixels.To increase profitability, it has been attempting to increase the percentage of 8MM pixel products to Samsung, Huawei, LG, and other Smartphone manufacturers for their low and medium priced Smartphones.

According to TSR (Techno Systems Res) total sales from global CIS markets in 2015 were about $9.2B. SK Hynix market share of 3.7% stands 6th behind Sony (44.8%), Samsung Electronics (16.5%), OmniVision (13.2%) ON Semi (Aptina Imaging, 6.1%) and Canon (5.3%).

Reader Input on Lester the Lightbulb ( i.e. the Govt. forcing Incandescent technology out of the market )


After reading IFTLE 300 a reader sent in the following picture he took at a Chinese restaurant in Portland Maine.

The lighting fixture over one of the tables seemed rather dim and on further investigation he found two burned out compact florescents (CFL) and an incandescent burning brightly. Certainly, we do not know when any of the bulbs were inserted into the fixture, but after reading IFTLE 300 the reader said this made him laugh out loud or as the younger folks say LOL.

For all the latest on Advanced Packaging, stay linked to IFTLE…


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One thought on “IFTLE 304 Renesas Acquires Intersil; Intel’s Knights Landing: An Update

  1. Dr. Dev Gupta

    Phil :

    Any details on the packaging for KL ? What is the substrate used in KL ?

    A key diff between HMC and HBM is the data bus between the CPU and Memory, serial ( SERDES ) vs. parallel. Serial ( for SERDES as in the 2011 Xilinx Vertex ) needs more die & power to drive it but fewer I/O, hence cheaper substrate ( even a PCB ). Parallel like HBM means more I/O needing finer lines, thus perhaps even a Si Interposer ( AMD Radeon Fury ).

    BTW the substrate in the stock photo for KL you have attached does nt look very Si ish, but rather organic w/ notches galore at corners & sides ! With the CPU and the MC DRAM stacks FC bonded to a single large substrate ( serial I/O would ‘nt need their EMIBs either )


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