We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Nvidia GPU production could stop if China invades Taiwan

The ASML machines that make Nvidia GeForce gaming GPUs, as well as AMD Ryzen CPUs, in TSMC factories, could be switched off remotely.

Nvidia GPU production could immediately halt if China invades Taiwan, as the machines that make them at TSMC reportedly have a kill switch that enables them to be remotely disabled, according to the latest reports. TSMC took over the production of GPUs for Nvidia when it released its Ada Lovelace architecture in 2022, and its forthcoming Blackwell gaming GPUs will also be made there.

It’s not only Nvidia that makes the chips for its best graphics cards at TSMC either; AMD also uses the chip maker to manufacture its Ryzen CPUs and Radeon GPUs. Although these firms are both based in the US, they outsource the direct silicon manufacturing to other firms, with TSMC often being the first choice at the moment, as it provides large-scale access to cutting-edge silicon manufacturing facilities.

That’s all thanks to the machinery at TSMC’s fabs, a large number of which are made by Dutch company ASML Holding Nv. It’s this firm that Bloomberg says has “reassured officials about its ability to remotely disable the machines,” when the company met with the Dutch government to discuss the possibility of China invading Taiwan.

In its report, Bloomberg claims to have spoken to anonymous sources familiar with the matter, who said that “the Netherlands has run simulations on a possible invasion in order to better assess the risks.” In particular, the site’s sources say that the remote kill switch feature applies to ASML’s EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography machines, a technique that’s used to make the latest cutting-edge silicon chips, including AMD’s current Zen 4 Ryzen CPUs and Nvidia’s Ada Lovelace GPUs.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that TSMC’s chip production could stop in the wake of an invasion. According to Bloomberg, In a 2022 interview with CNN, TSMC CEO Mark Liu, said that “nobody can control TSMC by force. If you take a military force or invasion you will render TSMC factory non-operable.”

Although this news will offer some reassurance to the US government, as it means China won’t be able to produce chips designed in the US if it invades Taiwan, it could potentially have dramatic repercussions on the tech world. TSMC owns more ASML EUV machines than any other company, not only makes chips for Nvidia and AMD, but also Apple, and a host of other major firms. If China ever does invade Taiwan, and that’s a threat that clearly has some powerful people worried, then there’s potentially going to be a huge tech supply shortage.

Both Nvidia and AMD are expected to have new products available by the end of 2024, and we’re hoping to find out more about AMD’s new Zen 5 CPUs at the Computex tradeshow in June.