Monday, August 21, 2023

"China keeps buying hobbled Nvidia cards to train its AI models" (NVDA)

As we saw in August 11's "Ahead Of Nvidia's August 23 Earnings Report (NVDA)":

Chinese web giants go on $5B Nvidia shopping spree to fuel AI ambitions

Here's some more detail from Ars Technica, August 21:

Nvidia’s weakened processors are still more powerful than the alternatives. 

The US acted aggressively last year to limit China’s ability to develop artificial intelligence for military purposes, blocking the sale there of the most advanced US chips used to train AI systems.

Big advances in the chips used to develop generative AI have meant that the latest US technology on sale in China is more powerful than anything available before. That is despite the fact that the chips have been deliberately hobbled for the Chinese market to limit their capabilities, making them less effective than products available elsewhere in the world....
Capping processing speeds

Last year’s US export controls on chips were part of a package that included preventing Chinese customers from buying the equipment needed to make advanced chips.

Washington set a cap on the maximum processing speed of chips that could be sold in China, as well as the rate at which the chips can transfer data—a critical factor when it comes to training large AI models, a data-intensive job that requires connecting large numbers of chips together.

Nvidia responded by cutting the data transfer rate on its A100 processors, at the time its top-of-the-line GPUs, creating a new product for China called the A800 that satisfied the export controls....