[News] NVIDIA’s Exclusive Chips for China Now Reported to be Available for Pre-Order, Priced Similar to Huawei Products

2024-02-02 Semiconductors editor

NVIDIA has begun accepting pre-orders for its customized artificial intelligence (AI) chips tailored for the Chinese market, as per a report from Reuters. The prices of the chips are said to be comparable to those of its competitor Huawei’s products.

The H20 graphics card, exclusively designed by NVIDIA for the Chinese market, is the most powerful among the three chips developed, although its computing power is lower than its own flagship AI chips, the H100 and H800. The H800, also tailored for China, was banned in October last year.

According to industry sources cited in the report, the specifications of the H20 are inferior to Huawei’s Ascend 910B in some critical areas. Additionally, NVIDIA has priced orders from Chinese H20 distributors between $12,000 and $15,000 per unit in recent weeks.

It is noteworthy that servers provided by distributors with 8 pre-configured AI chips are priced at CNY 1.4 million. In comparison, servers equipped with 8 H800 chips were priced at around CNY 2 million when they were launched a year ago.

Furthermore, it’s added in the report that distributors have informed customers that they will be able to begin small-scale deliveries of H20 products in the first quarter of 2024, with bulk deliveries starting in the second quarter.

In terms of specifications, the H20 appears to lag behind the 910B in FP32 performance, a critical metric that measures the speed at which chips process common tasks, with the H20’s performance being less than half of its competitor’s.

However, according to the source cited in the report, the H20 seems to have an advantage over the 910B in terms of interconnect speed, which measures the speed of data transfer between chips.

The source further indicates that in applications requiring numerous chips to be interconnected and function as a system, the H20 still possesses competitive capabilities compared to the 910B.

NVIDIA reportedly plans to commence mass production of the H20 in the second quarter of this year. Additionally, the company intends to introduce two other chips targeted at the Chinese market, namely the L20 and L2. However, the status of these two chips cannot be confirmed at the moment, as neither the H20, L20, nor L2 are currently listed on NVIDIA’s official website.

TrendForce believes Chinese companies will continue to buy existing AI chips in the short term. NVIDIA’s GPU AI accelerator chips remain a top priority—including H20, L20, and L2—designed specifically for the Chinese market following the ban.

At the same time, major Chinese AI firms like Huawei, will continue to develop general-purpose AI chips to provide AI solutions for local businesses. Beyond developing AI chips, these companies aim to establish a domestic AI server ecosystem in China.

TrendForce recognizes that a key factor in achieving success will come from the support of the Chinese government through localized projects, such as those involving Chinese telecom operators, which encourage the adoption of domestic AI chips.

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(Photo credit: NVIDIA)

Please note that this article cites information from Reuters.