Huawei's New AI Chip Ascend 910B: A Potential Rival for Nvidia

JJohn March 3, 2024 7:01 AM

Huawei's latest AI chip, Ascend 910B, has been thrust into the spotlight as a potential rival to Nvidia's A100. As Nvidia faces export restrictions to mainland China, industry insiders and analysts suggest Huawei's new AI chip might fill this gap. Despite the challenges brought about by US sanctions, the Ascend 910B is seen as a testament to Huawei's resilience in bolstering its chip business and AI capabilities.

Huawei's Ascend 910B: A Potential Nvidia Competitor

The tech industry has been buzzing about Huawei's new AI chip, the Ascend 910B, as it emerges as a potential competitor to Nvidia's A100 data-centre GPUs. Given the current restrictions preventing Nvidia from shipping its advanced graphics processing units (GPUs) to mainland China, the Ascend 910B could very well fill this void. Already available via distributor channels in China, the 910B is viewed by industry insiders as equally powerful in terms of computing capabilities as Nvidia's A100.

Ascend 910B: A Mighty Successor

The Ascend 910B is believed to be the successor of the Ascend 910, which was unveiled by Huawei in August 2019, just three months after it was placed on a trade blacklist by the US Commerce Department. This new chip has been praised for its improved capabilities, notably its ability to compete with Nvidia's A100 in terms of powering AI algorithms. Indeed, even Dylan Patel, chief analyst at San Francisco-based semiconductor research firm SemiAnalysis, has attested to the 910B's competitive edge.

Despite US sanctions since 2019, which have restricted Huawei's semiconductor development and dealt a severe blow to its smartphone business, Huawei has shown resilience. The Shenzhen-based company has been quietly bolstering its chip business by partnering with various domestic suppliers. While US sanctions have put limits on chip performance and production yields, Huawei's strategy demonstrates its determination to remain competitive in the market, even in the face of adversity.

Unlocking AI Power: Huawei's Unique Strategy

Huawei has its proprietary Compute Architecture for Neural Networks, a platform that connects Ascend hardware and software, which is crucial in unlocking AI computing power. This platform is a key differentiator for Huawei in the AI space. While it still has a ways to go to catch up to Nvidia's CUDA, which boasts a 2 million-strong list of registered developers, Huawei's strategy shows promise. It's clear that Huawei is making strides to strengthen its software capabilities, despite the challenges it faces.

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