Intel reveals details of new AI chip to fight Nvidia dominance

By Thomson Reuters Apr 9, 2024 | 10:39 AM

By Max A. Cherney

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Intel detailed a new version of its artificial intelligence chip at its Vision event on Tuesday that takes aim at Nvidia’s dominance in semiconductors that power AI.


Tech companies are hunting for an alternative source of the scarce chips that are needed for AI. Intel said that its new Gaudi 3 chip was capable of training a specific large language models 50% more quickly than Nvidia’s prior generation H100 processor. It is also capable for computing generative AI responses, a process called inference, more quickly than the H100 chips for some of the models Intel tested.


“Our customers, first and foremost, are asking for choice in the industry,” said Intel vice president, strategy and product management Jeni Barovian. “They are coming to us and they are expecting that Intel, as a computing leader, will follow the wave of (generative AI) and deliver solutions that meet their needs. And they are looking for an open approach.”


Intel and Advanced Micro Devices have struggled to produce a compelling bundle of chips and the software necessary to build AI applications that can become a viable alternative to Nvidia. Nvidia controlled roughly 83% of the data center chip market in 2023, with a majority of the remaining 17% share held by Google’s custom tensor processing units (TPUs) that it does not sell directly.


Intel used Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s 5nm process to build the chips. Gaudi 3 includes two main processor chips fused together, and is more than twice as fast as its predecessor. The chip is designed to be strung together with thousands of others and when done so can generate an enormous amount of compute power.


The Gaudi 3 chip will be available to server builders such as Supermicro and Hewlett Packard Enterprise in the second quarter of this year.

The next generation of Gaudi chips will be code named Falcon Shores.

(Reporting by Max A. Cherney in San Francisco; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)