Nvidia Details New Arm-Based Data Center CPU; Will Take on Intel, AMD

Nvidia Details New Arm-Based Data Center CPU; Will Take on Intel, AMD

Nvidia is throwing down the gauntlet.

In his GTC 2021 Keynote address, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang revealed that the company is developing a data center CPU for AI and high-performance computing. The CPU will be based on Advanced RISC Machines’ (Arm) technologies and will make Nvidia the largest chipmaker to adopt the British tech firm’s capabilities.

The new data center CPU, named ‘Grace’, after legendary computer scientist Grace Hopper, will put Nvidia in direct competition with x86 CPU rivals Intel and AMD, when it arrives in early 2023. This move is bound to make Intel and AMD a little nervous as the companies have already been facing stiff competition from Arm-based chips.

According to Nvidia, the Grace chips are a result of “more than 10,000 engineering years or work” and are meant to address computing needs for natural language processing, recommendation systems and AI supercomputing in data centers.

CEO Huang also added that the new server chip will be the “final piece of the puzzle” that will join Nvidia’s graphics and networking chips to form the “basic building block of the modern data center.”

GTC Spring 2021 Keynote with NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang
GTC 2021 KEYNOTE

Companies like Nvidia and AMD, while staying primarily focused on developing GPUs, have had their fingers in the data center pie for a while now. However, the two companies’ chips have usually been employed as accelerators alongside Intel’s processors. This partnership with Arm, for which Nvidia began acquisition proceedings last September, should help Nvidia make serious roadways into the data center ecosystem.

Along with announcing the Grace chips, Nvidia also said that the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre will partner with HP to make a new supercomputer dubbed “Alps”. The Alps will use the new Grace processors and will compute 10 times faster than the world’s top supercomputer.

Nvidia did not specify which Arm technology it would use for the chips but said that Arm’s “Neoverse” family of server chip technology will be involved. In Huang’s own words, this is “off-the-shelf” technology that Arm will release in the future.

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About Nvidia

NVIDIA Corporation is an American multinational technology company incorporated in Delaware, based in Santa Clara, California. They design graphics processing units (GPUs) for the gaming and professional markets, as well as system on chip units (SoCs) for the mobile computing and automotive market.

Best known for the “GeForce” lines of GPUs, they are a direct competitor to AMD’s “Radeon” series. NVIDIA has also expanded its offerings with its handheld game consoles Shield Portable, Shield Tablet, and Shield Android TV and its cloud gaming service GeForce Now.