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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) declined to comment on reports that it will also make state-of-the-art semiconductors at its US chip plant. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip maker, is building a multi-billion dollar plant in Arizona. This facility will become operational in 2024, and so far, TSMC’s plans have indicated that the company will produce chips at it using 5nm chip manufacturing technology. However, TSMC’s factories in Taiwan have already started production with the latest 3nm process, which is expected to become available to the general consumer after the second half of next year according to estimates.
TSMC leaves the door open for 4nm production at its Arizona plant
Controversy over the Arizona plant’s newer technologies rose earlier this year when TSMC founder Dr. Morris Chang shared that his former company would indeed manufacture the newer chips in the US. Dr. Zhang’s comments mentioned 3nm technology, with the CEO sharing that TSMC has “plans” not to still incomplete. Introducing a technology upgrade in a facility requires installing new machines and training employees, a process that often takes months if not years.
Based on his comments, Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, claimed earlier today that TSMC will manufacture 4nm chips in Arizona. Make up your mind, the tooling and other planning requirements will be much less when compared to the preparation needed for 3nm production.
The 4nm node should be used by many of TSMC’s customers, especially those in the personal computing sector. TSMC designed the N4X process specifically for high-performance products such as data centers.
Bloomberg also added that the shift comes due to pressure from Apple chief Tim Cook. Apple is TSMC’s largest customer and is also the first to gain access to the fab’s advanced processing technologies.
After the report was released, United Daily News (UDN) reached out to TSMC to confirm whether the Arizona facility would also manufacture the newer chips. TSMC did not respond to requests for comment, which leaves the door open for the new announcement. However, since the UDN report is published after the working day ends in Taiwan, it is also possible for the request to be sent after the working hours. However, it’s highly unlikely that the company would announce 4nm production in Arizona without first finalizing the plans internally.
The company is set to throw a party for the Arizona property on Wednesday next week, and after initial rumors, the White House has confirmed that President Biden will also be visiting. The facility will help the United States diversify its chip sourcing capabilities from Asia, and will help companies purchase their products closer to home.
The ceremony will see the first machines arrive in Arizona, at a time when the global semiconductor industry is facing a slowdown after record growth in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. These machines are a valuable commodity, with the latest technology, especially the 2nm node to rely exclusively on the latest machines for production. TSMC plans to begin 2nm production in 2025, a year after it planned to bring the Arizona facility online.