Taiwan TSMC’s Fab 2nm To Fend Off Competitors By Powering Smartphone, HPC Claim | Taiwan News


TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – He might feel lonely at the top, but Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) intends to stay there.

To do this, the world’s largest contract chipmaker is ramping up work on its 2nm (nanometer) process node, while keeping an eye out for competition from Intel and Samsung. TSMC is concerned that it will miss the opportunity to produce the chips needed for ever-expanding data centers and the next generation of thin and light smartphones if it does not innovate to stay ahead of its American and South Korean rivals.

“TSMC uses state-of-the-art nodes to primarily address the smartphone and high performance computing (HPC) markets. We should expect smartphone and data center customers to embrace 2nm when it becomes available, ”said Sravan Kundojjala, semiconductor analyst at Strategy Analytics. “A strong track record is important for TSMC to maintain its leadership and competitiveness in foundry. The company will experience increased competition from Intel and Samsung foundries in the future. It is therefore an important development for the company and the industry.

Intel has thrown the gauntlet at TSMC, aiming to reclaim its lost chipmaking crown by 2025. New Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger explained the company’s ambitions during the Intel Accelerated webcast. “Building on Intel’s undisputed leadership in advanced packaging, we are accelerating our innovation roadmap to ensure we are clearly on the path to process performance leadership here.” 2025 ”, he declared.

It might be easier said than done. TSMC plans to launch 3nm chips in late 2022, while Intel will roll out the 7nm processing technology around the same time. Now that TSMC expects 2nm chips to be ready by 2023, Intel’s chances of catching up seem remote soon.

Samsung’s chances are not much better. The South Korean company is strong in dynamic random access memory (DRAM), but it invests significantly less than TSMC in contract manufacturing. TSMC has an advantage in advanced semiconductors like central processing units (CPUs) which act like the computer brains of smartphones.

With TSMC busy building factories overseas, including recently announced facilities in Japan and its foundry in Arizona under construction, some observers believe its most advanced process node will also migrate to get closer to key customers in the United States. United.

That won’t happen anytime soon, according to Joanne Chiao, Taipei-based semiconductor analyst for market intelligence firm TrendForce.

“There is no such plan at the moment; the most advanced process node built outside of Taiwan will be at the current plant in Arizona, which will initially use 5nm in 2024, ”she told Taiwan News.

She said TSMC’s foundry in Japan will initially use the 28nm node and migrate to more advanced nodes in the future.

Kundojjala said the chips will likely be for Sony applications involving camera image sensors, but could also be used by Japanese automotive customers.

In its call for results, TSMC said advanced node production will remain in Taiwan due to joint engineering research projects that help accelerate the introduction of advanced nodes, Kundojjala added.

However, for factories that move, parts of the supply chain will accompany it.

TrendForce expects TSMC to partially shift some high gross margin wafer startup orders from US companies to its US-based factories, Chao said. “Still, despite TSMC’s 8-inch insert manufacturing plant in the United States, the company must deal with the fact that 12-inch factories require different supply chains compared to 8-inch factories.”

That is why TSMC’s Arizona project could also involve other Taiwanese suppliers of semiconductor-related raw materials or even components moving their production to the United States as well, she added.

In an earlier time, the entire supply chain had to be clustered around the factory, but this is no longer the case, Kundojjala explained, noting recent comments from TSMC that its wafer operations (where the chips) and its packaging facilities (where they are ready to be attached to their host) do not need to be in the same area.

Meanwhile, investors remain bullish on TSMC, despite the logistical challenges it faces in manufacturing chips in new overseas locations and the persistent efforts by Intel and Samsung to gain a foothold in its territory. As of August 3, TSMC’s share price had risen 10.82% over the past year to reach NT $ 594 (US $ 21).

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