$TSM: Taiwan’s TSMC will make 3-nanometer chips in $12B factory in Arizona

Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC announced with President Joe Biden that it will build a $12 billion factory in Arizona where it will build three-nanometer chips.

Biden and TSMC execs will be on hand for the announcement in Arizona. Both Apple and Nvidia are expected to be the first customers for the chips, which have circuits that are three billionths of a meter apart.

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I’ve been a big advocate of not letting all our essential technologies rest on the thin plate of “international commerce” so I hope it works. That said, it won’t be easy:


From G-man’s WSJ article:

High costs, lack of trained personnel and unexpected construction snags are among the issues cited by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as it rushes to get the north Phoenix factory ready to start production in December 2023.

“A range of construction costs and project uncertainty in Phoenix makes building the same advanced logic wafer fab in Taiwan considerably less capital intensive,” TSMC said in a letter last month to the Commerce Department.

“The real barrier” to setting up manufacturing in the U.S. “is comparative cost to build and operate,” it said.


I don’t know which colleges are near this groundbreaking, but were I one of the Deans of Admissions, I would begin a program of 2-year degrees in wafer design etc.

If a Global Recession hits, these jobs at $TSM in Arizona will be looked upon as gold tickets to ride calmly into the future.

Semiconductor Aside: ATT sent us a new router for U-Verse unsolicited. I open the box and one of the papers explaining what I’m looking at also list benefits: more apps on the pay TV side of things will run smoother for gaming, internet, video, etc. Also, when more than 2-devices are logged on, there will be no slowdown in delivery of digital content.

The chip technology for this new router means this actual device is also smaller. I will hook up this digital box come the weekend to see what the new chip configuration hath wrought in our U-Verse router.

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More from G’s WSJ article:

The visit by a president to a foreign company’s factory reflects the U.S. reliance on TSMC to give American chip manufacturing a lift. The U.S. makes about 12% of the world’s chips compared with 37% three decades ago, according to the U.S.-based Semiconductor Industry Association.

TSMC executives have said it isn’t easy to re-create in America the manufacturing ecosystem they have built over decades in Taiwan, drawing on local engineering talent and a network of suppliers including many in East Asia. Mr. Chang said the cost of making chips in Arizona may be at least 50% higher than in Taiwan.

Another challenge is personnel. TSMC has invested more in recruiting after struggling to find new engineering graduates in the U.S., said people familiar with its efforts. Engineers hired in the U.S. are sent to Taiwan for a year or a year and a half of training, they said.


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