Nvidia and Apple set to be first customers for TSMC's United States made 3nm chips

Walid Berrazeg/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
(Image credit: People walk past a TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) logo at the Taiwanese semiconductor contract manufacturing and design company building in Hsinchu.)
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Between sanctions against China (opens in new tab) and the United States CHIPS act potentially slowing business in Taiwan (opens in new tab), the semiconductor industry is ready for a big shakeup. Of course much of this has been orchestrated by the United States to bring more business into the country. Europe did much the same with its own act, and while Taiwan will likely continue to dominate (opens in new tab) the semiconductor industry for a while to come, we're starting to see some slight changes. 

The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, or TSMC is one of the biggest chip producers around, especially when it comes to advanced manufacturing. According to NikkeiAsia (opens in new tab), TSMC is about to bring some of that power to the United States by manufacturing its 4nm chips out of a new plant in Arizona. This is despite TSMC founder Morris Chang's previous statements (opens in new tab), claiming US-based manufacturing would be too expensive.

TSMC already has customers lined up for the United States based plant, and they're not small names either. Both Apple and Nvidia are set to be two of the first to have chips manufactured at the new fab, with other US developers like AMD said to also be in talks to have their turn at the home-based facilities. 

Having TSMC set up on North American soil is a huge win for the CHIPS act, proving that it can already tempt high profile companies with the various government subsidies. This push to have advanced semiconductor manufacturing capabilities within the United States has been massive, and is seen as vital for the future of building tech. As such, it's no surprise that President Biden is set to attend a ceremony as the first equipment is installed at the facility. 

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Originally, the Arizona fab was only set to build 5nm and 4nm chips for things like the iPhone 14 series, at about the rate of 20,000 wafers per month. This new plan means the plant will be pumping out state of the art 3nm wafers at a higher capacity. Having these highly advanced chips made in the United States seems to be exactly the kind of thing the government was hoping for. Especially given they're only currently produced by TSMC, Samsung, and Intel.

But it's also very likely this investment didn't come cheap. TSMC as a company has already poured $12 billion just into the original plan for the plant. There currently aren't any figures addressing what it took to push this 4nm fab to a 3nm one, but I'm guessing it's a figure difficult to comprehend. Here's hoping it's scalable with 2nm chips set to come out in 2026.

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Vooks.net. Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast (opens in new tab) right here.

No, she’s not kidding.