5nm production set to come from the US as TSMC announces another US plant

TSMC Wafers

Taiwanese company TSMC is the world’s biggest independent semiconductor foundry, manufacturing wafers for companies like Nvidia and AMD. After much speculation surrounding whether the company would build another semiconductor fab in the US, it has now announced that it will in fact build one, with the plant’s construction “planned to start in 2021” and “production targeted to begin in 2024”.

This news comes from TSMC itself, which published the announcement in its online newsroom (via VideoCardz), saying that it intends to “build and operate an advanced semiconductor fab in the United States with the mutual understanding and commitment to support from the US federal government and the State of Arizona.” It will be the second TSMC fab to reside in the US.

There has been speculation about whether the semiconductor giant would build a US-based plant for a while, which has generally tended towards believing it wouldn’t do so. But now TSMC has announced it will build a fab in Arizona that will “utilise TSMC’s 5-nanometer technology for semiconductor wafer fabrication, have a 20,000 semiconductor wafer per month capacity, create over 1,600 high-tech professional jobs directly, and thousands of indirect jobs in the semiconductor ecosystem”.

Regarding TSMC’s relevance to gaming hardware, the company is set to produce AMD’s Zen 3 7nm chips using either its (deep ultraviolet – DUV) N7P or (extreme ultraviolet – EUV) N7+ process node. So the upcoming Ryzen 4000-series desktop processors should have TSMC’s metaphorical stamp on them.

TSMC is also reportedly providing 7nm wafers for Nvidia’s upcoming generation of ‘Ampere’ graphics cards, so your RTX 30-series cards should have TSMC’s stamp, too. (And with recent apparent leaks, and information gleaned from Nvidia’s GTC keynote, Ampere technology is looking to be impressive – no doubt made possible in part thanks to 7nm production). Nvidia is also reportedly set to receive 5nm production from TSMC, most likely for its post-Ampere generation of GPUs.

So, TSMC is a big player in the gaming industry, and is reportedly set to have strong results over the course of the first half of this year. And while the production from its new fab will most likely be used for other purposes (eg military) than manufacturing silicon for gaming hardware, TSMC’s continued successes can only be a benefit to us gamers who want to see smaller, denser, faster processors powering our machines.