Falling back on China, Huawei would develop GPUs dedicated to Chinese servers

Occupied mainly by Nvidia and AMD, the server graphics card market could see a new player arriving … and no, it is not Intel. If the blues will arrive in this segment in 2021 with their Xe chips, Huawei would also be developing its first graphics cards. Their target heart? Chinese servers.

For Huawei, the salvation could be in the diversification of sources of income. While the firm sees its activities being greatly disrupted by American sanctions, we learn that it would seek to establish itself on the market for graphics cards for servers, by developing GPUs dedicated to Chinese demand.

Like the Ascend 910 (a chip designed for AI and unveiled by the group at the end of last year), Huawei’s first graphics cards for servers could be twice as powerful as the current offer of Nvidia, whose top of the range is adorned with a certain Tesla V100s. The latter deploys as a reminder up to 130 TeraFLOPS of computing power for 32 GB / s of bandwidth, and has 16 or 32 GB of HBM2 video memory at 900 GB / s. Its consumption reaches 250 watts.

HUAWEI RECRUITS FORMER ENGINEERS FROM NVIDIA AND AMD FOR NEW SITE IN SOUTH KOREA

Based on the specifications announced by Huawei for its Ascend 910, the group’s first server graphics cards could have at least 256 Teraflops of FP16 computing power, 512 TOPS in INT8, and all for a TDP of 310 watts, note WCCFTech. Attractive specifications that Huawei owes in part to the 7nm + engraving proposed by TSMC and used for this chip. With its Tesla V100s, Nvidia is still content with a 12nm process. Huawei’s first server GPU would also take advantage of the Atlas 300 accelerator (PCIe 4.0) to maximize performance.

Huawei also intends to capitalize on this advance by recruiting. According to Korean media sources The Elec, the firm is about to open a site in South Korea, dedicated to its Cloud and AI Business Group division, which now includes the telecoms, business and consumer segments of the Chinese giant. . The site would host “a formidable list of talent,” including former engineers from Nvidia and AMD.

A FAVORABLE POLICY CONTEXT

If it still deserves to be formalized, Huawei’s project would intervene in a very favorable political context. In response to US pressure, the Chinese government wants to replace all of the foreign equipment used in its services. A replacement that would be made for the benefit of Chinese hardware. Under these conditions, Huawei could benefit from aid from the authorities to carry out its project. The firm would then have significant resources to compete with Nvidia and AMD, even if – at least initially – its entry into the server market would be limited to Chinese data centers.

Finally remains the question of TSMC, which is also under pressure from the US authorities to cease its activities with Huawei. In the event of TSMC desertion, Huawei could turn to Samsung to burn its first GPUs … or else to the Chinese giant SMIC, which recently announced the imminent implementation of its N + 1 burning process, which is very similar points of a 7nm protocol.

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