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Micron Breaks Ground On $15 Billion Idaho Memory Chip Fab

Micron Boise Chip Fab
(Image credit: Micron)

Micron just held a ground-breaking for its new, $15 billion memory fab in Boise, Idaho, which is exciting news for the American chip industry. The U.S. Government has incentivized tech companies to invest in domestic chip production via the CHIPS and Science Act signed into law early last month.

While advanced chip fabs have flourished in South Korea and Taiwan, thanks to companies like Samsung and TSMC (propped up by their local governments), increased U.S. manufacturing capacity stalled over cost concerns. However, Micron's latest investment will become the first all-new memory manufacturing fab constructed within the U.S. in the past two decades. According to Micron, only 2 percent of memory available on the global market is produced domestically.

Micron's current timetable states that actual construction on the Boise fab will commence in early 2023. Cleanroom space will become available in phases, starting in 2025. Later that year, Micron will be ramping production of DRAM products. However, the fab won't operate full-tilt until the latter part of this decade, once the entire 600,000 square feet of cleanroom space becomes available.

In total, Micron expects to invest $15 billion into the new manufacturing facility, which will be in close proximity to its existing research and development center. In addition, Micron says it will employ up to 2,000 workers at the site once full-scale production is underway. However, the company adds that its investment will add over 17,000 jobs to the state. Micron will also commit additional resources to bolster K-12 and university-level education programs in the area.

"With this facility, Micron will closely couple R&D and manufacturing, providing synergies that will enable us to accelerate the production ramp of advanced memory technology," said Micron President and CEO Sanjay Mehrotra today in a statement to the press.

"With today's ground-breaking, Micron is helping realize a key goal of the CHIPS and Science Act: investing in local communities by creating good-paying jobs in scientific and technological fields that will power America's future and increase our competitive advantage worldwide," added Dr. Alondra Nelson, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Acting Director.

According to Micron, revenue from the memory sector is expected to double between now and 2030. Key growth categories that will rely on memory production ramps include artificial intelligence, 5G, data centers, and automobiles. Micron stands poised to leverage its Boise fab to capture a significant portion of that increased revenue and expects that U.S.-based DRAM production would account for 40% of its global output in the 2030s.

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.

  • velocityg4
    One has to wonder. With so many governments around the world incentivizing domestic fabs. What are we going to do with all these chips?

    I don't know how many budgets went through around the world. But it seemed like over the last year or two. Every wealthy country is investing high double digits in billions for domestic production. Which seems like that would result in production capacity of a scale exponentially greater than anything we've ever had.
    Reply
  • Sluggotg
    I think they need to build all of these "state of the art" Fabs. Many industries are using old chip fabs, (and many only need those) but many industries are going to need much more powerful chips. Look at Cars, before the chips were needed for Sensors and Data. Even older chips easily handled that kind of application. Now with all of the "Self Driving" features, they need very powerful chips for the AI.
    I do agree that there is the potential for Over Production, but I think it is unlikely.
    Reply
  • rluker5
    velocityg4 said:
    One has to wonder. With so many governments around the world incentivizing domestic fabs. What are we going to do with all these chips?

    I don't know how many budgets went through around the world. But it seemed like over the last year or two. Every wealthy country is investing high double digits in billions for domestic production. Which seems like that would result in production capacity of a scale exponentially greater than anything we've ever had.
    Or they are planning for potential geopolitical supply chain issues.

    Free trade is good.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    velocityg4 said:
    What are we going to do with all these chips?
    If you've not noticed lately, everything has a chip of some sort in it.

    Your power strip, which includes USB ports.
    Your light bulbs.
    The keyless entry for your front door.
    The WiFi in your water heater.
    Your car has hundreds.
    Reply
  • JTWrenn
    velocityg4 said:
    One has to wonder. With so many governments around the world incentivizing domestic fabs. What are we going to do with all these chips?

    I don't know how many budgets went through around the world. But it seemed like over the last year or two. Every wealthy country is investing high double digits in billions for domestic production. Which seems like that would result in production capacity of a scale exponentially greater than anything we've ever had.


    What? No, we really don't have to wonder that. We are going to build things with them. Nearly everything we make uses memory chips in one form or another.
    Reply