TSMC to build 3nm fab for Intel chips

January 13, 2022 // By Nick Flaherty
TSMC to build 3nm fab for Intel chips
TSMC plans to build a leading edge fab in Baoshan, north of Hsinchu, to build 3nm chips for Intel

TSMC plans to build a new fab to the north of its current plants to build 3nm chips for Intel.

Reports from Taiwan say TSMC is planning the fab in the Baoshan area, to the north of Hsinchu where the majority of its fabs are located. Baoshan has a reservoir that supplies water to Hsinchu, which has been a key issue for TSMC production over the summer.

The location would give easier access to the water needed for production, and is also close to the main TSMC campus, minimising the fragmentation of production that TSMC says increases risk and reduces efficiency.

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This follows a deal for TSMC to build Core i3 processor on its 5nm process, agreed before Pat Gelsinger re-joined Intel as chief executive. He has re-focussed Intel on manufacturing, including building new fabs in Chandler, Arizona, which put future deals with TSMC in doubt.

Building and equipping a 3nm fab will take up to two years for production, although this could be done faster than Intel’s build in the US as TSMC will already have orders in place for the extreme UV (EUV) lithography machines from ASML that are essential for the 3nm process technology, especially with the recent fire at ASML Berlin. Intel has struggled with its EUV process below 7nm.

All of this is part of the huge capacity investments announced by the largest chip makers to address the chip shortage. TSMC has been leading on the development of 3nm process technology, with production scheduled to start later this year.  

www.intel.com; www.tsmc.com

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