Should you’ve ever questioned where your CPU or GPU really got here from, it was a semiconductor manufacturing site more than likely run by TSMC, Intel, or Samsung. It is this small handful of corporations that produces nearly each high-performance gaming processor out there as we speak, from Nvidia’s RTX 4090 to AMD’s Ryzen 9 7950X3D.

There are such mammoth bills related to creating and manufacturing excessive efficiency pc chips that solely few corporations are capable of afford to do it. Another competitors has fallen off with time, both being purchased up or deciding to halt growth of extra superior chips. The latter being the case for GlobalFoundries, as one of the vital current chipmaker to drop out of the superior course of node race in 2018.

Now, solely three main gamers stay.

TSMC is the main supplier of pc chips as we speak, and main the way in which in technological growth with its 3nm and 2nm nodes. The 3nm node, N3, will start delivery afterward in 2023. TSMC is what’s often known as a pure play foundry, that means it does not design or produce chips of its personal design, solely these for its clients. Apple is TSMC’s largest buyer, however others embrace AMD, Nvidia, and even Intel.

Intel is the unique semiconductor darling. Traditionally main the cost for semiconductor growth and manufacturing, current hiccups in delivering its manufacturing roadmap have seen it lose floor to TSMC. It hopes to regain the lead, and part of that plan has been to open up the doorways to its historically in-house solely fabs to different corporations. Arm has already signed up to make use of Intel’s fabs, and Intel hopes to win extra over with its IDM 2.0 technique when newer fabs come on-line later this decade.

Samsung is a powerhouse in chipmaking, however its relationship with huge ticket gaming parts is a little bit ropey. Nvidia tapped Samsung to provide the RTX 30-series, which coincided with one of many worst occasions to attempt to purchase a graphics card, perhaps, ever? That wasn’t Samsung’s fault, each chip provider was struggling on account of shortages and Covid-related delays. Since then Nvidia’s shifted to TSMC for the RTX 40-series, however Samsung stays a giant pressure in chip manufacturing in any other case.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. wafers

(Picture credit score: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.)

Where Intel, TSMC, and to a lesser extent Samsung select to construct their chip manufacturing amenities is a serious speaking level of many governments globally. Manufacturing is primarily positioned in Asia, in hotspots resembling Taiwan and South Korea, and likewise in america. Nonetheless, there are amenities in Eire, Israel, and Germany, alongside meeting and packaging amenities sprinkled throughout the globe.

Within the curiosity of taking a bigger share of the worldwide chip manufacturing, the US has made funding in US-based semiconductor manufacturing a prime precedence with the CHIPS and Science Act and the EU has the equally designed European Chips Act.

The map on the prime of the article, which you’ll be able to full-screen for a greater view, focuses on semiconductor manufacturing amenities, quite than meeting and packaging. It is not exhaustive, as there are a lot of extra smaller chipmakers globally, however covers the three largest semiconductor producers—TSMC, Intel, and Samsung—and notes the places of those corporations’ cutting-edge amenities, together with some older fabs. Fashionable amenities begin with silicon wafers which are 300mm in dimension, whereas older fabs have a tendency to make use of smaller 200mm and even smaller wafers. 

Additionally included within the map above is GlobalFoundries. Till just lately, GloFo was producing numerous chips for AMD on account of a provide settlement between the 2 corporations, which dated again to when AMD first bought off its manufacturing arm and spawned GloFo. These days, AMD depends on TSMC to supply newer chips than these GloFo can present.

Intel Fab 28 press wearing bunny suits.

This image is from Fab 28, and I am one among these mysterious bunny-suited folks. (Picture credit score: Intel)

Dont’ make any mistake on the scale of those amenities. I’ve toured with inside Intel’s Fab 28 in Kiryat Gat in Israel, and it appeared to me nearly infinite from inside. Subsequent door, Intel is constructing Fab 38, a fair larger fab facility, utilizing the world’s second largest crane. Crikey.

See extra

Check out this bike tour from Dylan Patel if you’d like a bit extra of a perspective on the scale of those locations—satellite tv for pc imagery hardly does them justice. TSMC’s Fab 12 is a little bit of a misnomer, as this ‘Fab’ is dwelling to many fab amenities, as is the case with many manufacturing campuses, and all interconnected by a wafer freeway to maneuver chips between every location. 

Have little doubt these huge websites are completely essential for the world economic system, that is why everybody needs a bit, and why the places of the subsequent wave of fabs are so essential.

Where are new fabs being constructed?

TSMC Fab 21

You may see clear growth of TSMC’s Fab 21 in Arizona over the previous 12 months. It is anticipated to be up-and-running, producing 5nm chips, by 2024. A second section of the fab can be accomplished at a later date to extend demand.

Intel Magdeburg

Intel’s Magdeburg facility can be way more than only a fab, however in 2022 it was nothing greater than a discipline. Building was anticipated to start within the first half of 2023, with capability anticipated to come back on-line in 2027.

Intel Fab 38

I’ve visited the development site of Fab 38, and in my naïve understanding of constructing websites it seemed to be going nicely. It is anticipated to be switched on-line round 2024. 

Samsung Taylor

Samsung’s Taylor, Texas fab is not anyplace near being executed, however Samsung has excessive hopes of capability going surfing beginning 2024.

Intel Fab 52 + 62

Intel’s two fab amenities are a giant addition to its already large-scale Arizona campus. These are anticipated to come back on-line round 2024.