Construction of Apple Supplier Plant in Arizona 'Well Under Way,' Will Manufacture Chips by 2024

Apple chip supplier TSMC is moving ahead with plans for a manufacturing plant in Phoenix, Arizona, according to Bloomberg.

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In November of 2020, Phoenix city officials approved financial incentives and government support for the new plant. The city agreed to provide $200 million in support to build infrastructure including roads and sewers, according to a notice from the city's council.

TSMC estimates that its total spending on the project, including capital expenditure, will be approximately $12 billion from 2021 to 2029, with the facility expected to directly create over 1,600 high-tech professional jobs.

Construction of the Arizona plant is now said to be "well under way." The facility will mass-produce chips fabricated with a five-nanometer process by 2024. TSMC has been gradually miniaturizing its process over the years, going from a 16nm A10 chip in iPhone 7 models, to a 7nm A13 chip in iPhone 11 models, and a 5nm process for the iPhone 12's A14 chip. Likely clients for the chips from the Arizona factory include Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Apple.

TSMC already operates a factory in Camas, Washington and design centers in Austin, Texas and San Jose, California, so the Arizona facility will be its second manufacturing site in the United States. The company's main factories are located in Taiwan.

The new Arizona plant will increase the opportunity for Apple's custom silicon chips, such as the A14 or M1 chip, to be feasibly manufactured within the United States.

Tags: TSMC, Arizona

Top Rated Comments

vvs14 Avatar
8 months ago
Apple chip supplier? Lol. They are the world’s chip supplier.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnipgnop Avatar
8 months ago
Global warming = less snow pack in mountains = less water in Colorado River = less water for Southwestern states like Arizona = long term problems with water intensive chip fab factories.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Glideslope Avatar
8 months ago
This is critical for TSMC to have this new Fab in the US. Smart move both geopolitically and supply chain.

The points on water use in the area are legitimate. My understanding was this Fab will use new water conservation (more efficient recycling) of the cooling system?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
magbarn Avatar
8 months ago

Global warming = less snow pack in mountains = less water in Colorado River = less water for Southwestern states like Arizona = long term problems with water intensive chip fab factories.
Sad to say, but I don't think anyone else really stepped up to the plate.

Rather poor for the environment to make chips in the USA then ship them off to the other side off the world for assembly. And we are to trust chips built in the USA? The NSA wont want to get in and modify in some security vulnerabilities?
vs. an island nation next to a hostile neighbor that continuously threatens their existence with developing the fastest amphibious assault craft? I'm happy that not all the worlds eggs aren't going to be in one basket anymore as Intel and GF has fallen way behind TSMC....
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
citysnaps Avatar
8 months ago
Well, there you go...

People upset that more manufacturing related to Apple products isn't occurring within the United States. And then they're upset because some is now coming to the US. And oh noes, TSMC, an extraordinarily successful and profitable global company, bringing a fab to the US and with that 1,600 US jobs, somehow forgot to think about water. Someone please let them know!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
name99 Avatar
8 months ago

With enough electrical power available, water can be condensed out of the thin air, even in a desert climate. Arizona has plenty of sunlight for the production of solar electricity. Plus the triple reactor Palos Verde nuclear power plant (largest in America) is located some 50 miles west of Phoenix. California gets a significant portion of that plant's power output, at present. California's Salton Sea is slowly disappearing from evaporation. Maybe California should consider opening a Pacific Ocean water pipeline and replenish the Salton Sea with ocean water. Then build a new nuclear power station on the lakeshore for desalination purposes, plus electrical power to San Diego, for the future California high speed rail project, etc.
(a) The Salton Sea cannot be replenished with sea water, at least if the goal is to preserve the existing ecosystem. While the water is brackish, it's not sea-level salty, and sea salt will only make things worse. (The brackishness is because the water only evaporates out of the basin, it does not flow out, so salt concentration can only increase.)

(b) People lose their minds around the issue of water because they immediately analogize it to something else.
Water does not disappear. Obviously so, in the sense that no matter disappears; but for water this is a stronger claim.
What one cares about is "useful" water, and this is an EXCEEDINGLY slippery concept, especially when one considers the whole US Southwest, not just a locality.

Water that evaporates may be lost for practical purposes (though even that is dodgy, if it marginally encourages rainfall elsewhere in the Southwest) but consider water used by TSMC. What happens to that water? Well,
(i) presumably it is no longer potable, sure, so can't be *immediately* drunk BUT ALSO
(ii) presumably it is also not deadly poisonous in the sense of having to live in holding tanks till the end of time.
Probably it is tainted with some chemicals, but safe to release into the environment where it gets diluted, filtered through earth, etc, and at some point it becomes equivalent to all the other water in the earth nearby.

SO -- what actually happens? Water comes into TSMC. It gets used. Then it gets discarded into the ground.
At which point it is not "wasted"! Most of it replenishes the water table (which is, of course, constantly being reduced by wells). Some of it flows into rivers, and gets used downstream.
So what's the actual problem?

Almost everything you hear about water use (and water "wastage") in the Southwest is wrong and, frankly, insane as soon as you think it through. Water is usually not "wasted" (even if it just runs off watering a golf course) in the sense that spilling gasoline onto the ground is wasting it. Not in the Southwest, where water table level is so important.

If you want to read more about this, THE book is _Where the Water Goes_ by David Owen. (Be aware that this is a book for people who want to understand; it is not a book for people who are convinced they already know everything and just want to be told how great they are. It is no _Cadillac Desert_ or similar dumb hit jobs. The author is an environmentalist, but he is that rarest of creatures, an environmentalist with both a brain and a sense of what is reasonable. It takes time, but he explains what the *real* water issues are, and how they fit together.)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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