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Report: TSMC Racing to 1nm, Investing $32 Billion in Fab

TSMC is preparing to make significant investments in new fabs.

According to an interview, TSMC has already made a strategic decision about where to build its fab capable of producing chips using 1nm-class (10 angstroms) fabrication technology in the second half of this decade. Nonetheless, these chip manufacturing facilities will be expensive.

According to Shen Jong-chin, vice prime minister of Taiwan, TSMC fabs that will make chips using its 1nm-class production nodes will be located near Longtan Science Park near Taoyuan (via Dan Nystedt (opens in new tab)). Of course, TSMC’s plans must be made official, and a lot can change between now and when the world’s largest foundry commits to the plan, but it appears that the company has already disclosed its general intentions to Taiwanese politicians.

Two major semiconductor manufacturing projects will create thousands of well-paying jobs, but they will also necessitate investments never before seen in the industry.

According to the vice prime minister, TSMC will need to invest around $32 billion in a 1nm-capable fab. This is an increase from the company’s current N5 and N3 (5nm and 3nm-class) fabs, which cost around $20 billion.

So far, TSMC has stated that it intends to begin manufacturing chips using its N2 (2nm-class) fabrication technology in the second half of 2025, implying that the first ICs made in the process will likely hit the market in 2026. N2 will be another long node for TSMC, and it will be available in a variety of configurations, including those with gate-all-around transistors and backside power delivery.

TSMC’s N1 will arrive several years after N2. We don’t know what TSMC’s plans are for N1, but we believe this fabrication process will be used to make ICs in 2027-2028. By the time ASML releases its High-NA extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography tools. These will be expensive scanners, making N1-capable fab prohibitively expensive.

As a result, making chips using 10A process technology will be costly, and few companies will adopt it due to prohibitively high design and product costs.

In general, the vice PM anticipates that companies such as TSMC, ASML, and Micron will have invested $102.5 billion in Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, securing the country’s position as the world’s center of advanced semiconductor manufacturing.

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