Nvidia announced the A800, a new advanced chip that can be sold to Chinese customers without violating US restrictions targeted at preventing cutting-edge technology exports.
According to Nvidia, Chinese computer retailers are already advertising products that include the new chip. The so-called A800 chip is the first documented effort by a US semiconductor manufacturer to develop advanced processors that comply with new US export restrictions. Nvidia has said the restrictions may cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars in sales.
Restrictions on Chinese import
US laws enacted in early October essentially prohibit Chinese chipmakers from importing sophisticated chips and equipment used to manufacture chips. The US Commerce Department placed several Nvidia and AMD chips in its export control list in late August, including Nvidia’s A100. Nvidia developed the A800 as an export-friendly replacement for the A100. Both models are graphics processing units (GPUs).
Reuters asked Nvidia whether the new chip was discussed with the Commerce Department, but the organization declined to comment. A representative for the Commerce Department declined to comment as well.
At least two major server manufacturers’ have included A800 processors in their systems advertised on Chinese websites. One of the products’ advertising materials previously featured the A100 chip.
The A800’s specs were listed on a Chinese distributor website. The chip-to-chip data transmission rate is 400 gigabytes per second, down from the A100’s 600 gigabytes per second. Export restrictions only apply to data rates of 600 gigabytes per second and higher.