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3nm AI chips and 6nm microcontrollers will be key to TSMC Dresden fab

www.eenewseurope.com, May. 24, 2023 – 

TSMC's European Technology Symposium was heavily focussed on automotive, and of course the prospects for a fab in Dresden.

The company says it is carrying out due diligence on the decision, which is building the business case. This will go to the TSMC board, with the board meeting in August as the earliest opportunity.

"This is still ongoing," said Kevin Zhang, senior vice president for business development at TSMC. "To be clear we are going through internal due diligence right now and there has been a lot of good progress with support from local government and EU government."

But there are three key trends that impact on that business case.

The first is TSMC's aggressive move into 3nm FINFET production for automotive AI chips. An automotive version of a process usually takes two to three years until chip designers can use the process. TSMC has now launched the development kit (PDK) N3AE process, or 'automotive early'. This combines the artefacts and the 'best guess' for designers to get started now.

This is one compelling argument for Dresden supporting a 3nm process. With AI chips for advanced ADAS and self driving cars and robotaxis is series production in cars made in Europe in 2025, avoiding a repeat of the pandemic shortages for European car makers is one of the primary goals of the fab. And that supply chain will include 3nm AI chips from a number of suppliers that would otherwise be made in Taiwan or in Arizona.

"We think Europe is very significant, that's really the main factor why we want to build a fab in Europe as well as the talent resources," said Zhang.

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