Investing in artificial intelligence (AI) can be overwhelming, as many companies benefit from this trend. Whether it’s a company deploying AI to improve its business or one that makes AI software, there are a lot of opportunities.
However, there are also hardware components of AI, and many of these companies will be winners regardless of what happens to individual companies. I’ve pinpointed four that will be massive winners over the coming years.
A microchip is at the core of every computer used to create an AI model. These components require highly specialized machinery to make them, and one of the key suppliers in this realm is ASML (ASML 2.89%). The company makes lithography machines, which make the conductive traces on chips.
Semiconductors have reached the point where the distance between these traces is as small as 3 nanometers (nm). For reference, the human hair is about 80,000 to 100,000 nanometers wide. With smaller distances between traces, these chips become more powerful and efficient — a key need for any device.
ASML currently holds a technological monopoly in this space, as no other companies make EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography machines. If you’re making cutting-edge chips, you must work with ASML. As a result, ASML will be a huge winner in this space.
2. Taiwan Semiconductor
Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM -0.46%) is a huge user of these machines. The company is the world’s largest contract chip manufacturer, which means it makes chips for other clients.
TSMC is a leader in this field, as it has 3-nm chips but is also developing 2-nm chips slated to launch in 2025. Taiwan Semiconductor’s innovative culture is always working on the next thing, which will provide continual revenue boosts as these new products launch.
Among Taiwan Semiconductor’s customers are Nvidia (NVDA 3.58%) and AMD, which provide another critical component in the AI value chain.
Nvidia has probably received the most attention in this group, as its best-in-class GPUs (graphics processing units) are crucial in AI. GPUs are used to process vast amounts of data and train AI models, making them must-have hardware.
When a business outfits a computer to train these models, they don’t just buy one or two GPUs; they buy thousands. This caused Nvidia’s revenue to explode higher in 2023, as the demand for its GPUs was unprecedented.
Nvidia’s strength will continue as long as AI is a massive trend, as it requires a significant computing infrastructure buildout.
4. Super Micro Computer
You can’t just go out and buy a few thousand Nvidia GPUs filled with Taiwan Semiconductor chips made with ASML’s lithography machines, hook them up, and expect a positive result. Instead, a specialized server is needed to maximize efficiency so a business can get the most performance out of its supercomputer.
That’s where Super Micro Computer (SMCI 6.06%) comes in. Supermicro specializes in server design, whether it’s being used for engineering simulations, drug discovery, or AI model training. Its products are highly configurable, whether a company wants a couple of hundred GPUs or a couple of thousand.
As the demand for AI computers reaches the general market, Supermicro will continue to excel, which is part of the reason the stock is up around 140% to start in 2024.
A basket of AI winners
You don’t have to pick a single winner to be a successful AI investor. Instead, you could select a variety of stocks that are critical suppliers in the AI field and likely do quite well.
This group will be successful regardless of which company produces the best AI product, as they provide the building blocks necessary for all AI models.
Keithen Drury has positions in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends ASML, Advanced Micro Devices, Nvidia, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing. The Motley Fool recommends Super Micro Computer. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.