Report: TSMC lays the groundwork for a 5-nm and 3-nm foundry


— 9:28 AM on December 12, 2016

The chip-making world may be gearing up for 10-nm chip manufacturing processes, but according to a report by the Nikkei Asian Review, contract silicon manufacturing house Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is getting ready to build a fab for what it calls "5-nm" and "3-nm" process nodes. The company reportedly expects the plant to cost approximately $500 billion New Taiwan dollars, an amount equivalent to $15.8 billion U.S. dollars. According to the reports, TSMC has already asked the Taiwanese government for assistance in finding a location of sufficient size for the new factory.

Nikkei Asian Review says that TSMC expects to start manufacturing chips on what it calls a 10-nm process in existing plants early next year, and it's planning to kick off 7-nm manufacturing in 2018. Taiwan's minister of science and technology Yang Hung-duen told the site that production at the new foundry could begin in 2022, meaning that consumer chips built on these new process sizes are at least five years away.

TSMC builds semiconductor chips under contract for over 400 design houses, including A-series SoCs for Apple, Snapdragon chips for Qualcomm, and a host of upper-tier GPUs for Nvidia. Some of these chips are also manufactured by other silicon manufacturers.

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