Exclusive: Nvidia offers new advanced chip for China that meets U.S. export controls

OAKLAND, Calif., Nov 7 (Reuters) – U.S. chip maker Nvidia Corp ( NVDA.O ) is offering a new advanced chip in China that meets the latest export control rules aimed at keeping advanced technology out of Chinese hands. . on Monday.

Nvidia responded to a Reuters report that Chinese PC vendors were promoting products with the new chip.

The chip, called the A800, is the first reported attempt by a U.S. semiconductor company to create advanced processors for China that comply with new U.S. trade rules. Nvidia has said the export restrictions could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

The US regulation, imposed in early October, effectively banned the export of microchips and advanced chip-making equipment by Chinese chipmakers, part of an effort to rein in China’s semiconductor industry and, in turn, the military.

In late August, Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices Inc AMD.O both said their advanced chips, including the Nvidia A100 data center chip, had been added to an export control list by the U.S. Commerce Department. The Nvidia A800 can be used instead of the A100 and both are GPUs or graphics processing units.

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Such advanced chips can cost thousands of dollars each.

“The Nvidia A800 GPU, which was produced in Q3, is another alternative product to the Nvidia A100 GPU for customers in China. The A800 meets the US government’s clear inspection to reduce export controls and cannot exceed it.” the spokesman said in a statement to Reuters.

Nvidia declined to comment on whether it had consulted with the Commerce Department about the new chip. A spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce declined to comment on the matter.

At least two Chinese websites from major server manufacturers offer the A800 chip in their products. One of those products previously used the A100 chip in promotional materials.

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The distributor’s website in China detailed the specifications of the A800. A comparison of the chip’s capabilities with the A100 shows that the chip-to-chip data transfer speed on the new chip is 400 gigabytes per second, up from 600 gigabytes per second on the A100. The new rules limit speeds to 600 gigabytes per second and above.

“The A800 is a repackaged A100 GPU designed to avoid the Commerce Department’s recent trade restrictions,” said Wayne Lam, an analyst at CCS Insight, based on his comments on the specifications shared by Reuters. China.

“China is an important market for Nvidia, and reconfiguring your products to avoid trade restrictions makes enough business sense,” Lam said.

Lam said the A800’s chip-to-chip communication capabilities are an obvious downgrade for the data center, where thousands of chips are used together.

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Major Chinese server makers Inspur and H3C, which offer servers with the new chips, did not respond to requests for comment. Neither did chip distributor OmniSky, which posted the A800’s specifications online.

Nvidia said about $400 million in chip sales to China could be affected in its fiscal third quarter, which ended in October, due to restrictions on high-end chips. Having a replacement chip can help lessen the financial blow. The company is due to report quarterly results on November 16.

Reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee in Oakland, Calif. Additional reporting by Josh Horwitz in Shanghai and Karen Freifeld in New York; Edited by Peter Henderson, Matthew Lewis and Leslie Adler

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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