Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC) located in Taiwan’s Nan-ke city recently underwent a major drop in voltage. The main plant, codenamed 18A, responsible for making TSMC’s advanced 4nm chips was in the vicinity of this outage. Soon after speculations started to arrive, the company clarified its position and stated that no major loss had taken place.
This is important because such an outage can render many wafers useless leading to losses of upto millions of dollars. Do bear in mind that this fabrication unit manufactures the most advanced nodes which are reserved by giants such as Intel, Apple and NVIDIA. Silicon wafers are extremely delicate, even a small amount of seismic activity can make many chips go to waste. A more detailed explanation can be found here.
This was no average voltage drop. As per TSMC’s brief description of the event , it was one of the worst they faced yet. If any damage was done, millions of wafers would have been scrapped and thrown to waste (What a waste of sand).
TSMC did have power backups in many of its units and with the aid of these backup facilities, they might have saved thousands if not millions of dollars today.
TSMC and the government have several agreements over consistent supply of power because TSMC accounts for about 5% of Taiwan’s GDP.
Currently, the 3nm process is under production and rumours regarding the 2nm process have poured in recently. The construction of another facility for the 2nm process is currently in talks. Expected power consumption is in the billions of kWh per year. Such fabrication does require effective and inexpensive power production.