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Intel and TSMC to invest billions in US-based chipmaking

Image credit: Koldunova Anna | Dreamstime.com

Intel has announced that it will invest a further $3.5bn in its New Mexico chipmaking campus, while Reuters reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) is planning to build more chipmaking factories in the US.

Intel announced that it will equip its New Mexico operations for the manufacture of advanced semiconductor packaging technologies with a $3.5bn investment. The campus is home to development and manufacture of Intel’s Optane memory technology.

The campus facilities will be upgraded to support Intel’s 3D packaging technology, Foveros, which involves stacking combinations of compute tiles (chiplets) – rather than laying them out on a surface – and connecting them face-to-face.

This allows various elements to be combined in a package with a tiny footprint, meeting needs for increasing computing performance for 5G, IoT, edge computing and artificial intelligence applications. It has been implemented in its Ponte Vecchio GPU, which is expected to debut in the Argonne National Laboratory supercomputer next year. Intel describes the approach as “system on a package”.

Keyvan Esfarjani, manager of manufacturing and operations at Intel, said: “A key differentiator for our IDM 2.0 strategy is our unquestioned leadership in advanced packaging, which allows us to mix and match compute tiles to deliver the best products. We’re seeing tremendous interest in these capabilities from the industry, especially following the introduction of our new Intel Foundry Services.

“We’re proud to have invested in New Mexico for more than 40 years and we see our Rio Rancho campus continuing to play a critical role in Intel’s global manufacturing network in our new era of IDM 2.0.”

Intel says that the investment is expected to create at least 700 high-tech jobs, 1,000 construction jobs and support a further 3,500 in New Mexico. Planning will begin immediately and construction is expected to start in late 2021. The announcement was welcomed by New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who added that the investment would “establish the Rio Rancho campus as the company’s domestic hub for advanced semiconductor manufacturing”.

The news follows Intel’s March announcement of its $20bn plan to build two new Arizona factories to support its contract chipmaking business - Intel Foundry Services - and compete with Samsung and TSMC.

Meanwhile, Reuters has reported that TSMC – the world’s largest contract chipmaker – is planning to build several more chipmaking factories in Arizona beyond the one it already has planned for Phoenix, Arizona. Three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that up to five additional fabs are planned for Arizona, following an unspecified request from the US. The timeframe for the investment is unknown.

The Biden administration is aiming to spend $37bn to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing as part of a wider effort to establish technology supply chains independent from Chinese companies.

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