Intel launches new AI chips, challenging Nvidia’s market

Intel has launched Gaudi2 chip focused on artificial intelligence, as the chip manufacturer aims to grab more share in the AI chip market from Nvidia.
Intel Gaudi2 chipsetGaudi2 is the second generation processor by Habana Labs, an Israeli AI chip startup Intel bought in late 2019 for about $2 billion.

Nvidia’s software platform CUDA is the market leader. At Intel Vision, Habana Labs revealed Gaudi2’s training throughput performance for the ResNet-50 computer vision model and the BERT natural language processing model delivers twice the training throughput over the Nvidia A100-80GB GPU.

“CUDA is not a moat that Nvidia can really stand on for long,” said chief business officer at Habana Labs Eitan Medina, adding that Intel’s software platform is open standard, free to download and use from GitHub, the software development site. “Now the question is who can do the work efficiently?”

Medina said the Gaudi2 was twice as fast as Habana’s previous AI chip and manufactured at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing’s (TSMC) 7-nanometer transistor technology from 16-nanometers previously.

Intel also launched a new chip called Greco for inferencing work: taking an AI algorithm and making a prediction or identifying an object.

Sandra Rivera, head of Intel’s data center and AI, said the AI chip market is estimated to grow some 25 percent a year in the next five years to reach around $50 billion. “We intend to invest and innovate to lead this market,” Sandra Rivera said. Intel’s investments will be in software, both for expanding Intel’s team and buying other companies.

The Habana Gaudi2 processor significantly increases training performance. The first-generation Gaudi architecture delivers up to 40 percent better price performance in the AWS cloud with Amazon EC2 DL1 instances and on-premises with the Supermicro Gaudi Training Server.

With a leap in process from 16 nm Gaudi to 7 nm, Gaudi2 provides a significant boost to its compute, memory and networking capabilities. Gaudi2 also introduces an integrated media processing engine for compressed media and offloading the host subsystem.

Gaudi2 triples the in-package memory capacity from 32GB to 96GB of HBM2E at 2.45TB/sec bandwidth, and integrates 24 x 100GbE RoCE RDMA NICs, on-chip, for scaling-up and scaling-out using standard Ethernet.

Gaudi2 processors are now available to Habana customers. Habana has partnered with Supermicro to bring the Supermicro Gaudi2 Training Server to market this year. Habana also teamed up with DDN to deliver turnkey rack-level solutions featuring the Supermicro server with augmented AI storage capacity with the pairing of the DDN AI400X2 storage solution.