NVidia's fiercely aggressive move to disallow Samsung's US smartphone sales was met with a return volley from Samsung, ultimately invalidating one of nVidia's patents. The two silicon megaliths have maintained ongoing battles in a number of courts; today marks a point of closure, as nVidia and Samsung have mutually agreed upon settlement of their respective actions.
Despite the season's best efforts to give weary editors a rest, last week remained active as ever, producing some major news items that impact 1H16.
As quickly as possible, then our news recap video:
Last week's hardware news saw the acquisition of Inotera, a supplier with a seven-year history working with the Flash manufacturer. Micron's $3.2 billion acquisition buys-out the remaining two-thirds stake of Inotera, enabling Micron to purchase DRAM and cost and reduce its overall BOM on memory products.
NVidia recently filed a complaint against Qualcomm and Samsung with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC). NVidia has also filed a suit against Samsung and Qualcomm. The GPU giant claims that Samsung and Qualcomm are infringing upon nVidia’s patents, specifically ones pertaining to GPU architecture and technologies. Despite the fact that nVidia is often better known for their desktop and high-performance GPUs, they have a significant presence in the supercomputing and mobile sectors. This makes the lawsuit very relevant as all three are significant players in the mobile sector.
This complaint and suit are due to alleged patent infringements in Samsung and Qualcomm’s graphics processors: the Exynos (Samsung) and Snapdragon (Qualcomm).
Samsung's vertically stacked NAND was introduced in June of 2014, heralding an era of increased capacity with (theoretically) reduced endurance concerns when compared against TLC. The NAND type takes a page from Intel's 3D transistor book and stacks NAND vertically, making for greater density in “apartment high-rise” fashion.
Samsung's 850 EVO and 850 Pro have been around for a little while now, with the 850 Pro debuting 3D NAND (also called “VNAND”). The company's 850 Pro capped at 1TB of storage, but has been refreshed in 2TB capacities as of today; the 850 EVO – a cheaper alternative for consumer-class usage – has also been refreshed to 2TB.
CES has officially ended and the floor was busy. We pushed, elbowed, headbutted, and bit our way through the crowds. Our first destination was Samsung, right in the middle of it all and with their own building-inside-a-building booth construction. After looking around their booth with all the TVs, mobile phone tech, and business options, we managed to find some things that gamers care about.
Samsung and nVidia have been embroiled in a tit-for-tat legal battle for the better part of 2014, with Samsung opening a counter-suit against nVidia for patent violation. NVidia originally targeted Samsung and Qualcomm for alleged implementation of nVidia-patented GPU technology in mobile devices, demanding that Samsung devices be removed from circulation in the United States. In a counter-suit, Samsung levied its own patents against the GPU giant, making similar demands on trade restrictions.
Samsung announced the launch of its 850 Pro earlier this year, introducing 3D Vertical NAND (VNAND) to the SSD market. 3D VNAND doubles endurance over what triple-level cell (TLC) NAND devices allowed, but simultaneously increases density – two aspects of NAND that have previously been opposed. The density increase comes as a result of stacking the NAND vertically (like an apartment highrise vs. single-home neighborhood), similar in top-level concept to Intel's 3D transistors.
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