$32 billion for TSMC’s first 1nm factory: the technology will be outrageously expensive


Hardware and Gaming Specialist

November 25, 2022 at 8:50 a.m.



Fewer and fewer companies are in a position to invest the colossal sums needed to modernize production structures.

It’s no secret that as engraving processes become finer, the number of companies able to produce them is only shrinking.

Three actors only on the 7 nm…

At present, it is generally believed that only three companies in the world are strong enough to embark on 7nm production: Intel, Samsung and TSMC.

Evolution of the engraving industry © Yole Développement

© Yole Development

As you can see from the graph above, the number of companies able to keep up with this frantic race towards ever-increasing fineness of engraving has only diminished.

In 2002-2003, when we were only talking about 130 nm, they were still 26 across the world. Ten years later, on the 28 nm, they are only 10 and today, we therefore only count three for the 7 nm.

Faced with the difficulties encountered by each other, the question therefore arises today as to whether these three companies will always be present on future fine engravings.

… only one on the 1 nm?

Tom’s Hardware relays the words of the Taiwanese Deputy Prime Minister, Shen Jong-Chin, who evokes the position of TSMC on the 1 nm. To prepare for this step, the company would have already chosen the site of a new factory.

© IBS / McKinsey

It is of course in Taiwan, near the Longtan Science Park in Taoyuan, that the structure will be built. According
According to Shen Jong-Chin, it will cost at least $32 billion, which represents an additional cost of $12 billion compared to factories capable of exploiting TSMC’s N3 process.

At this time, TSMC is obviously not ready to produce its first wafers in 1 nm. The company is just starting out on 3 nm and should not be able to get out of 2 nm before the second half of 2025. Inevitably, 1 nm will still arrive well after this date, if it ever does.

To achieve such fine engraving, TSMC will need ASML’s new lithographic tools, so-called ” extreme ultraviolet (EUV), the cost of which will of course be prohibitive. The question of the number of players in competition will then arise more than ever.

Source : Tom’s Hardware

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