Supposedly booked up on 3nm until 2024 (opens in new tab), there are now rumours floating about that world-leading silicon megafoundry, TSMC, has just auctioned off it's 'excess' capacity to the highest bidder.
Sources suggest (via ComputerBase (opens in new tab)) the foundry capacity has supposedly "gone to the highest bidders," though there's no mention of who this might be. There is some suggestion that it might have gone to the automotive industry, however, who had under-ordered chips last year.
We don't know what sort of excess capacity TSMC has to offer, so it might not be around the 7nm level where we might find more Ryzen or Radeon silicon being produced.
But, even if it's not AMD booking up more space for its tough-to-find AMD Ryzen 5900X (opens in new tab) CPU or glorious but ephemeral AMD RX 6800 XT (opens in new tab), whichever company came out on top in the bidding war was willing to throw down some serious premium dollar.
As @dnystedt suggests, the final bid was around 15 to 20 percent above its worth.
Rumors of a bidding system for chip capacity at Taiwan's foundries have surfaced again, media report, saying the system is in place and excess capacity for the 2nd quarter has gone to the highest bidders at a 15%-20% premium. $UMC $TSM #semiconductorsMarch 3, 2021
Considering the state of the market at the moment—with supply barely stretching to meet consumer demand—it's no surprise TSMC has taken the opportunity to capitalise. On top of excruciating demand, a few of TSMC's facilities are also under threat by the Taiwan water crisis (opens in new tab). With alert levels on the rise pressure is mounting for the semiconductor manufacturer.
Difficult times call for extreme measures, and with the company's looming expansions in the US and China, among others countries, it's clear TSMC is asserting itself as the dominant force when it comes to wafer production.
This move just goes to show that it's not just us consumers at the bottom having to fight one another for access to tech. The tech brands are at it, too.