TSMC founder Maurice Chang said today that the semiconductor giant and Apple supplier will build 3-nanometer chips at its Arizona factory, although final plans are not yet ready. The factory is currently under construction, with plans to start production in 2024.
During a press conference in Taipei, Chang said that “three nanometers, TSMC currently has a plan, but it is not fully finalized.” Reuters reports. “It’s almost complete — at the same site in Arizona, phase two. Five nanometers is phase one, 3 nanometers is phase two.
On his website, TSMC says its 3-nanometer technology, called N3, will be a full step per node from its 5-nanometer technology and will offer up to a 70 percent increase in logic density, up to a 15 percent improvement in speed at the same power, and up to 30 percent reducing power at the same rate compared to its predecessor. It is targeting volume technologies in the second half of this year.
The world’s largest foundry, TSMC makes almost half of the most advanced chips in the world. The dominance of Taiwanese semiconductor companies (a TSMC counterpart includes Foxconn) is one of its main advantages over China, which considers Taiwan a province, but as a global chip shortage hampers electronics production, it also questioning the reliability of the supply chain.
TSMC’s Arizona factory, along with a the second, which is reported to be in the planning stages, are part of the Biden administration’s strategy to support U.S. chip manufacturing. TSMC is also building a factory in Japan and is in talks with the German government to build another one in that country.
Other foundries working on 3-nanometer chips include Samsung Electronics, which began producing 3-nanometer chips in June, ahead of TSMC. The South Korean tech giant produces 3-nanometer chips at its semiconductor facilities in Hwaseong and Pyeongtaek. Last year, Samsung said it would invest 171 trillion Korean won ($132 billion) in its logic chip and foundry businesses by 2030, and is also building a semiconductor plant in Texas.