By Nanok Bie
Apple will soon start to use processors made in America following the opening of an advanced new chip factory in Phoenix, Arizona. Its opening was attended by President Joe Biden and Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The factory, which is being built by TSMC, a dedicated foundry that builds chips designed by other companies, will make 4nm processors with production set to begin in 2024. The plant’s customers include AMD and NVIDIA, which will benefit from a more secure supply of chips and quicker production timelines.
“Apple had to buy all the advanced chips from overseas. Now we’re going to do more of their supply chain here at home,” said Biden.
TSMC has said it will invest $40bn in its Arizona capacity, which is one of the largest foreign direct investments ever made in US manufacturing.
“The progress we’ve made with Apple Silicon has transformed our devices,” Tim Cook said according to The Verge. “When you stop and think about it, it’s extraordinary what chip technology can achieve. And now, thanks to the hard work of so many people, these chips can be proudly stamped ‘Made in America.’”
The new factory, which is located in north Phoenix, will be a large, modern building surrounded by newly paved roads and cacti that survived the desert bulldozing. In its first public event, TSMC welcomed customers, employees, local leaders, and journalists to see its new factory, or at least the outside of it.
The first Phoenix fab will make 4nm processors (improved from the originally disclosed 5nm), with production slated to begin in 2024.
The second fab will come online in 2026 and produce 3nm chips, which are the smallest and most complex processors in production today.
The new factory is part of the US’s semiconductor manufacturing revival, which has been spurred on by the global supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The vast majority of the world’s semiconductors are manufactured in Asia, and the pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of relying on a single region for such an essential component of modern technology. In response, the US government has invested billions of dollars in initiatives to boost domestic semiconductor production, including tax incentives and grants for chip manufacturers.
The new factory in Phoenix is the result of one such initiative, and its opening was attended by President Joe Biden and Apple CEO Tim Cook. “These chips will power iPhones and MacBooks, as Tim Cook can attest,” Biden said at the event.
The factory’s customers, which also includes AMD and NVIDIA, are set to benefit from a more secure supply of chips and quicker production timelines. “TSMC has become a global platform on which the world’s tech industry is built,” NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang said.
“Bringing TSMC investment to the United States is a masterstroke and a game changing development for the industry,” Huang added.
All told, TSMC said it will invest $40 billion in its Arizona capacity, which is among the largest foreign direct investments ever made in US manufacturing. The two fabs will produce more than 600,000 wafers annually by 2026, which White House officials said will be enough to meet the entire US demand for advanced chips.
Top leadership from Apple, AMD, and NVIDIA confirmed on Tuesday that they would be among the first customers to buy chips from the new Arizona fabs. TSMC customers did not disclose how many chips they plan to purchase from these fabs, but at 3nm and 4nm, the Arizona chips will be more advanced than what they currently use.
Still, by the time these Arizona fabs are both up and running, TSMC will already be producing more advanced chips at overseas facilities. The company plans to produce 2nm chips by 2025.
Produced in association with MetaNews.
Edited by Alberto Arellano and Joseph Hammond
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