Nvidia Comes With Slower AI Chip to Circumvent Export Ban to China


Chip builder Nvidia has proposed a new processor, especially for the Chinese market. The chip is slower than other high-end products from the company to circumvent a United States ban.

Nvidia is one of the companies affected by the rising tensions between China and the United States. For example, the US company was told in September that it could not export two of its advanced AI chips to China. That export ban is part of a broader US plan to prevent China from making advanced chips with American technology. The US government fears that China can also use it for military purposes.

But China is also Nvidia’s second largest market, so the chipmaker is now coming up with an alternative. The Nvidia A800 graphics card has a reduced processor speed, making it still within the scope of export to China. “The A800 meets the US government’s requirements for reduced export controls, and the chip cannot be programmed to exceed them,” Nvidia said in a statement.

In practice, this is a slower version of the A100 processor, which is made to control supercomputers and do processing for AI and data centres. The A100 is one of two chips Nvidia cannot export to China. The A800 has similar features but runs at a connection speed of 400 gigabytes per second, compared to the 600 gigabytes per second of the A100. In this way, the chip remains below the threshold of the ban.

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