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

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


[News] Nvidia vs. AMD, the Expensive Duel as Two Major Buyers Opt for AMD’s Latest AI GPU

AMD has long aspired to gain more favor for its AI chips, aiming to break into Nvidia’s stronghold in the AI chip market. Key players like Meta, OpenAI, and Microsoft, who are major buyers of AI chips, also desire a diversified market with multiple AI chip suppliers to avoid vendor lock-in issues and reduce costs.

With AMD’s latest AI chip, Instinct MI300X slated for significant shipments in early 2024, these three major AI chip buyers have publicly announced their plans to place orders as they consider AMD’s solution a more cost-effective alternative.

At the AMD “Advancing AI” event on December 6th, Meta, OpenAI, Microsoft, and Oracle declared their preference for AMD’s latest AI chip, Instinct MI300X. This marks a groundbreaking move by AI tech giants actively seeking alternatives to Nvidia’s expensive GPUs.

For applications like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Nvidia GPUs have played a crucial role. However, if the AMD MI300X can provide a significant cost advantage, it has the potential to impact Nvidia’s sales performance and challenge its market dominance in AI chips.

AMD’s Three Major Challenges

AMD grapples with three major challenges: convincing enterprises to consider substitutions, addressing industry standards compared to Nvidia’s CUDA software, and determining competitive GPU pricing. Lisa Su, AMD’s CEO, highlighted at the event that the new MI300X architecture features 192GB of high-performance HBM3, delivering not only faster data transfer but also meeting the demands of larger AI models. Su emphasized that such a notable performance boost translates directly into an enhanced user experience, enabling quicker responses to complex user queries.

However, AMD is currently facing critical challenges. Companies that heavily rely on Nvidia may hesitate to invest their time and resources in an alternative GPU supplier like AMD. Su believes that there is an opportunity to make efforts in persuading these AI tech giants to adopt AMD GPUs.

Another pivotal concern is that Nvidia has established its CUDA software as the industry standard, resulting in a highly loyal customer base. In response, AMD has made improvements to its ROCm software suite to effectively compete in this space. Lastly, pricing is a crucial issue, as AMD did not disclose the price of the MI300X during the event. Convincing customers to choose AMD over Nvidia, whose chips are priced around USD 40,000 each, will require substantial cost advantages in both the purchase and operation of AMD’s offerings.

The Overall Size of the AI GPU Market is Expected to Reach USD 400 Billion by 2027

AMD has already secured agreements with companies eager for high-performance GPUs to use MI300X. Meta plans to leverage MI300X GPUs for AI inference tasks like AI graphics, image editing, and AI assistants. On the other hands, Microsoft’s CTO, Kevin Scott, announced that the company will provide access to MI300X through Azure web service.

Additionally, OpenAI has decided to have its GPU programming language Triton, a dedication to machine learning algorithm development, support AMD MI300X. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) intends to introduce bare-metal instances based on AMD MI300X GPUs in its high-performance accelerated computing instances for AI.

AMD anticipates that the annual revenue from its GPUs for data centers will reach USD 2 billion by 2024. This projected figure is substantially lower than Nvidia’s most recent quarterly sales related to the data center business (i.e., over USD 14 billion, including sales unrelated to GPUs). AMD emphasizes that with the rising demand for high-end AI chips, the AI GPU market’s overall size is expected to reach USD 400 billion by 2027. This strategic focus on AI GPU products underscores AMD’s optimism about capturing a significant market share. Lisa Su is confident that AMD is poised for success in this endeavor.

Please note that this article cites information from TechNews

(Image: AMD)


[News] Intel’s Next Gen CPU to Produce at TSMC with 3nm in First Half of Next Year

Intel’s upcoming Lunar Lake platform has entrusted TSMC with the 3nm process of its CPU. This marks TSMC’s debut as the exclusive producer for Intel’s mainstream laptop CPU, including the previously negotiated Lunar Lake GPU and high-speed I/O (PCH) chip collaborations. This move positions TSMC to handle all major chip orders for Intel’s crucial platform next year, reported by UDN News.

Regarding this news, TSMC refrained from commenting on single customer business or market speculations on November 21st. Intel has not issued any statements either.

Recent leaks of Lunar Lake platform internal design details from Intel have generated discussions on various foreign tech websites and among tech experts on X (formerly known as Twitter). According to the leaked information, TSMC will be responsible for producing three key chips for Intel’s Lunar Lake—CPU, GPU, and NPU—all manufactured using the 3nm process. Orders for high-speed I/O chips are expected to leverage TSMC’s 5nm production, with mass production set to kick off in the first half of next year, aligning with the anticipated resurgence of the PC market in the latter half of the year.

While TSMC previously manufactured CPUs for Intel’s Atom platform over a decade ago, it’s crucial to note that the Atom platform was categorized as a series of ultra-low-voltage processors, not Intel’s mainstream laptop platform. In recent years, Intel has gradually outsourced internal chips, beyond CPUs, for mainstream platforms to TSMC, including the GPU and high-speed I/O chips in the earlier Meteor Lake platform—all manufactured using TSMC’s 5nm node.

Breaking from its tradition of in-house production of mainstream platform CPUs, Intel’s decision to outsource to TSMC hints at potential future collaborations. This move opens doors to new opportunities for TSMC to handle the production of Intel’s mainstream laptop platforms.

It’s worth noting that the Intel Lunar Lake platform is scheduled for mass production at TSMC in the first half of next year, with a launch planned for the latter half of the year, targeting mainstream laptop platforms. Unlike the previous two generations of Intel laptop platforms, Lunar Lake integrates CPU, GPU, and NPU into a system-on-chip (SoC). This SoC is then combined with a high-speed I/O chip, utilizing Intel’s Foveros advanced packaging. Finally, the DRAM LPDDR5x is integrated with the two advanced packaged chips on the same IC substrate.

(Image: TSMC)


[News] Chinese GPU Startup Moore Threads Adapts Workforce Reduction after U.S. Sanctions, Remains Optimistic

Following recent sanctions imposed by the United States, Chinese GPU startup Moore Threads has initiated workforce adjustments. The company announced that these changes will be completed within the week, emphasizing that it’s a necessary step for their ongoing growth. Despite the challenges, Moore Threads is confident that the Chinese GPU industry is not facing its darkest days.

According to Jiemian News, Moore Threads’ CEO, Jianzhong Zhang, expressed that the personnel adjustments are a pragmatic choice to ensure the company’s continued development. He acknowledged the difficulty of this decision but hopes for understanding from the team.

Zhang also underlined that, in this period of both challenges and opportunities, he firmly believes that the Chinese GPU industry is not in its “darkest hours” but rather has a world of possibilities.

The company plans to restructure its organization, establishing two strategic groups, the AI Strategy Group (AISG) and the Metaverse Computing Strategy Group (MCSG), to integrate resources and drive product technology implementations. In terms of workforce performance, the company will conduct routine job position realignments to achieve more efficient personnel matching and compensation structures, with a particular focus on core GPU research and development. These adjustments are expected to be finalized within the week.
(Image: Moore Threads)


[News] Qualcomm Challenges Intel & AMD in AI PC Chip Race

At this year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit, the company announced its latest PC processor, the Snapdragon X Elite. With impressive performance metrics, this development is poised to shake up the PC processor market as Arm architecture gains ground, posing a substantial challenge to the established x86 architecture.

At this year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit, the company announced its latest PC processor, the Snapdragon X Elite. The launch of laptops featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite is expected in mid-2024, marking an opportune moment for a “counteroffensive.”

TrendForce indicates that Arm architecture PC processors have secured around an 11% market share this year, primarily propped up by Apple’s laptop processors. Industry insiders reveal that, in light of the growth potential in the PC processor market, semiconductor giants are increasingly adopting ARM architecture to venture into the market.

2024 Sees Laptop Upgrade Surge, Desktop Market Shrinks                  

Statistics reveal that the surge in remote work during 2020 prompted a shift in consumer preferences from desktop computers to laptops. Moreover, the ongoing establishment of cloud platforms by businesses in 2021 and 2022 has generated positive momentum, signaling a shrinking desktop market and an expanding PC market.

AI-powered PCs and Windows 12 next year are expected to ride a fresh wave of upgrades in 2024. Therefore, when PCs featuring ARM architecture become widespread, Intel and AMD may not be predominantly affected in the laptop processor business based on the x86 architecture. Instead, the desktop processor segment could face the most significant impact.

Kedar Kondap, Qualcomm’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Compute and Games Division, foresees an upgrade wave fueled by AI PCs next year, with further growth anticipated in 2025. It is expected that consumers will lean towards AI PCs for their next computer purchases.

The initial wave of products equipped with Qualcomm’s AI PC processors has been unveiled, aligning with the upcoming wave of device upgrades in next year. While Intel is set to launch its first AI acceleration engine, the Intel Core Ultra, featuring integrated NPU in December, its Microsoft Windows 12 certification remains a point of observation.

In a broader perspective, Intel and AMD are positioned to follow up with the AI PC trend by 2025. This coincides with the ending service of Windows 10 and the gradual implementation of Wifi 7 and 6G technologies. By 2028, they are expected to play a pivotal role in driving AI PC growth.

On another note, a South Korean analyst anticipates that the growth momentum in AI PCs hinges on when Apple incorporates AI features into Mac computers.

ARM vs. x86, Microsoft’s Crucial Role                                    

This is because Microsoft is set to launch Windows 12 next year, featuring the built-in Copilot AI assistant. It will collaborate with operating systems and software such as Windows, Edge, Microsoft 365, Outlook, and the Bing search engine, ushering in an entirely new AI-driven user experience.

Several tech giants are fiercely competing in the AI PC market, with NVIDIA and AMD investing in the development of Arm architecture processors. It’s worth mentioning that in 2016, Microsoft agreed to let Qualcomm exclusively develop Windows-compatible chips, and this agreement is set to expire in 2024. Consequently, Qualcomm may gain a strategic advantage. In contrast, the collaboration between NVIDIA and MediaTek on Arm processors might only begin to bear fruit in 2025.

As for AMD’s foray into Arm architecture research and development, whether this indicates a less optimistic outlook for the x86 market is a matter for ongoing observation. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger expressed that he isn’t concerned about Arm architecture processors vying in the PC market. From a different perspective, Intel may even consider assisting with manufacturing.

(Image: Qualcomm)

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