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TSMC's 2nm GigaFabs: Another Location Reportedly Considered

TSMC
(Image credit: TSMC)

Although TSMC has never formally introduced its post-N3 (post-3nm) fabrication process, sometimes called N2 (or 2nm), it has outlined rather aggressive plans for its 2nm wafer processing facilities that include two GigaFabs. The first 2nm-capable fab will be built in the Hsinchu Science Park, but it looks like the company may be re-evaluating plans for the second 2nm fab after facing water shortages earlier this year.

TSMC's first fab capable of producing chips using its N2 manufacturing technology will be located at the company’s site near Baoshan, Hsinchu County, northern Taiwan. Last year the company built its new R1 R&D facility that will be used both for N3 and N2 nodes (according to media reports). There were no reports about a TSMC groundbreaking ceremony in the Hsinchu Science Park, but the company has announced that the fab will be built in four phases.

TSMC

(Image credit: TSMC)

The foundry planned to build its second N2-capable fab in the Central Taiwan Science Park near Taichung. TSMC already has production facilities near Taichung. But central Taiwan is among the areas that suffered the most from the recent drought in Taiwan, which forced TSMC to supply water to its fabs using trucks. 

In an attempt to ensure consistent water supply to its upcoming leading-edge fab, TSMC is reportedly evaluating a site near Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan,  in the recently established Ciaotou Science & Industrial Park, reports Focus Taiwan citing local media. 

In a statement sent to the press, TSMC reaffirmed its plan to build its second N2-capable GigaFab (a fab that features a capacity of at least 100,000 wafer starts per month) near Taichung in central Taiwan, but admitted that it had not yet acquired land for the facility. The company also added that it considered multiple factors before making its final decisions.  

The main takeaway is that TSMC still plans two GigaFabs capable of processing wafers using its N2 fabrication technology.

(Image credit: TSMC)

In any case, TSMC's N2 is still in pathfinding mode, and at its recent technology symposium, the world's largest contract maker of semiconductors did not make any formal announcements about this node. Furthermore, keeping in mind that the company's N3 is on track to hit volume production only in late 2022, and there will likely be various iterations of N3 in 2023 ~ 2024 time-frame, the company's N2 fabrication process will only arrive in late 2024 or sometime in 2025.  

TSMC

(Image credit: TSMC)

After TSMC starts volume production using N2 at its initial fab in the Hsinchu Science Park several years from now, it will take some time for the company to fully ramp that four-phase facility. To that end, it is not going to need another N2-capable GigaFab until sometime in the second half of the decade. That said, TSMC has plenty of time to make its decision about the location of its second N2-capable chip plant. 

  • InvalidError
    Not sure any place will be safe from water shortages for much longer with climate change reducing the amount of rain falling where it can be collected to avoid the costs associated with processing sea or ocean water. If TSMC really wants to secure water for its fabs, it should plan to build a desalination or waste water treatment plant instead of going to places that currently have some water reserves since those reserves may not last long.

    Harris was likely correct when she predicted that WW3 will be waged over water.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    InvalidError said:
    Not sure any place will be safe from water shortages for much longer with climate change reducing the amount of rain falling where it can be collected to avoid the costs associated with processing sea or ocean water. If TSMC really wants to secure water for its fabs, it should plan to build a desalination or waste water treatment plant instead of going to places that currently have some water reserves since those reserves may not last long.

    Harris was likely correct when she predicted that WW3 will be waged over water.

    Don't worry, I'm told storms are getting more frequent and more extreme, leading to mass flooding. That means there will be way too much water, not too little.
    If not just use a melting glacier.

    If TSMC is moving, they should be more concerned about getting out of Taiwan while there's still a "Taiwan" to get out of. Any infrastructure they build or technology they develop is just going to get stolen from them by the CCP in a few short years, and the human talent will not be granted a high enough social credit score to be allowed to work or travel abroad.
    Honk Kong was a trial run, which went almost entirely unopposed. They're coming for Taiwan next.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    Giroro said:
    Don't worry, I'm told storms are getting more frequent and more extreme, leading to mass flooding. That means there will be way too much water, not too little.
    Storms don't help when they land on terrain that lacks the geographical features needed to make reservoirs or already has cities on it.
    Reply