[News] TSMC’s Arizona Plant Rumored for Q1 2024 Trial Production, Securing Orders from Three U.S. Clients

2023-12-21 Semiconductors editor

According to a report by TechNews, TSMC’s Arizona-based Fab21, currently in the intensive equipment installation phase, has initiated the construction of a small-scale trial production line. With a small amount of equipment expected from multiple supply chain by the end of 2023, industry sources suggest that Fab21 is planning to commence trial production in the first quarter of 2024.

The reason behind TSMC’s anticipated trial production in the first quarter of 2024 stems from orders from its U.S. clients. Market reports indicate that among Fab21’s U.S. clients, in addition to major players like , NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang has not ruled out placing orders with Fab21. Furthermore, there are indications that Intel, planning to outsource core computing to TSMC’s N3B process, is likely to place orders to Fab21 in the near future.

However, due to cost considerations, despite the commencement of a small-scale trial production line, the initial capacity increase for Fab21’s 4-nanometer process will not accelerate. This situation is expected to persist into the subsequent second phase of the 3-nanometer production line.

Looking back at TSMC’s progress in Arizona, the company announced the construction of the 12-inch wafer Fab21 in Arizona back in 2020, anticipating the commencement of formal equipment installation in the first quarter of 2024 and official mass production before the end of 2024. The initial phase of Fab21 will produce on the 5-nanometer process, with a monthly production capacity of 20,000 wafers.

TSMC later upgraded the initial processs from 5-nanometer to 4-nanometer. However, due to a shortage of skilled installation workers in the region, TSMC postponed the mass production start date to 2025.

In addition, the second phase of the project is currently slated for mass production in 2026, introducing the 3-nanometer process. The total investment for both phases amounts to $40 billion.

Industry sources also acknowledge that Fab21’s manufacturing costs are high, and its capacity cannot compete with TSMC’s fab in Taiwan, making U.S. client orders primarily a response to U.S. government requirements, with the majority of production still centered in Taiwan.

(Image: TSMC)

Please note that this article cites information from TechNews