[News] NVIDIA’s China-exclusive Chip H20 to Begin Production in Q2 by Wistron

2024-01-04 Semiconductors editor

In October of 2023, the U.S. government expanded its restrictions on chip exports, limiting NVIDIA from exporting certain chips to China without prior permission. Despite this, NVIDIA is not expected to relinquish the Chinese market and may commence production of the AI chip “H20,” specifically designed for China, in the second quarter of this year.

According to a report from Wccftech, there is keen interest in NVIDIA’s potential exclusive chips for China, including H20, L20, and L2, intended to replace H100, L40, and L4, catering to the AI training needs of Chinese customers.

NVIDIA is reportedly trying to accelerate its return to the Chinese AI chip market, expecting to quickly regain its advantage and market share. It is understood that the main base board supplier for the new product remains Wistron.

The orders from the relevant supply chain manufacturers’ clients will be deferred and are expected to see substantial shipments starting from the second quarter.

The report indicates that progress on these chip projects is steady, and the products fully comply with U.S. export restrictions. Production of the H20 is expected to commence in the second quarter.

Furthermore, it is reported that these GPUs were originally scheduled for release at the end of 2023 but faced delays due to the ongoing tensions between China and the US.

NVIDIA emphasized that the AI chip designed specifically for the Chinese market will fully comply with the requirements and guidelines of the U.S. Department of Commerce, subsequently enabling the launch of the GeForce RTX 4090D in China.

Industry sources estimate that NVIDIA is actively seeking to comply with U.S. government computing power regulations by further reducing the customized chip’s performance. However, due to missing a sales opportunity, many Chinese customers have begun exploring the purchase of local AI chips as an alternative to NVIDIA products.

This is primarily driven by the availability and competitive cost-effectiveness of Chinese chips, with several Chinese companies switching to Huawei products for AI training.

While NVIDIA has significantly streamlined the H20 to meet local demands in China, with computing power reduced to only 15% of the H100, the H20 still aims to strengthen its competitive advantage in specifications.

According to leaked specifications circulating online at the end of 2023, the H20 boasts a FP8 computing power of 296 TFLOPs and FP16 computing power of 148 TFLOPs, with an increased memory capacity of 96GB compared to the H100’s 80GB.

However, domestically-produced chips in China are also formidable. It is claimed that the performance of the H20 is only one-fourth that of Huawei’s HiSilicon Ascend 910B, yet its price is exceptionally high. Therefore, for some Chinese enterprises, there is still an incentive to adopt self-developed AI chips. In the future, whether the potential for domestically-produced AI chips in China can disrupt NVIDIA’s monopoly is yet to be seen.

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(Photo credit: NVIDIA)

Please note that this article cites information from Wccftech