TSMC To Spend $15.7 Billion on new 3nm and 5nm Fabs

/ 7 years ago


Despite the increasing difficulties, semiconductor fabs have continued to push the limits of silicon. After arriving at 14nm and now moving onto 10nm, investment is already kicking off onto even smaller nodes. TSMC, one of the few remaining fabs in the business, has just announced a massive new infrastructure project. Over the next couple of years, the Taiwanese firm will be spending a massive $15.7 billion on new 5nm and 3nm production facilities.

While TSMC is a major player in the industry, being the first to make it to the new nodes will ensure a massive windfall. Other competitors like Samsung, Intel, and Global Foundries have all run into various difficulties in shrinking their process nodes. If TSMC is able to be first to market with 5nm and 3nm, the like of Apple and Qualcomm will be more than ready to pay a premium to ensure their mobile SoCs are the fastest and most power efficient. The main hold up thus far is the inability to scale EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) lithography to mass production. EUV has been expected to come online for nearly half a decade but delays have meant the rate of progress has slowed down.

So far, no firms plans have been made for a timeline for construction. The firm has asked for government assistance in locating a suitable 123 to 197-acre plot to build the plant. Honestly, the big news is that TSMC is planning to build new fabs. Generally, the various semiconductor firms tend to simply retool an existing facility for the new process and dropping the old one. With new fabs, TSMC either expected lots of 5nm/3nm demand, continued demand of current nodes, or a lengthy and complicated transition. It will be interesting to see which fab will be the first to have mass-produced sub-10nm chips.

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