Intel to stop TSMC’s 16nm foundry Nervana chip

Eyeing on the AI ​​chip market, Intel Corporation acquired Israeli AI chip startup Habana in mid-December last year. They had a wealth of 2 billion US dollars, which is almost 14 billion yuan. They bought a company that was established for 3 years, which is very bold.

Attracting Intel is Habana ’s AI chip. The company ’s first processor Goya (AI inference) has been sold to customers worldwide. The company also launched the Gaudi AI training processor solution in June 2019. needs.

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However, the problem has come. Before the acquisition of Habana, Intel’s AI solutions already had CPUs, FPGAs, Nervana, and GPUs in development. Intel can be said to be the most comprehensive AI chip company, but the price is so many AI chips. It will be distracting and not conducive to centralized promotion.

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So what will Intel do? It is inevitable to stop some of the AI ​​chips. Forbes broke the news that Intel will cut off Nervana’s AI chips, mainly the Nervana NNP-T series.

Nervana itself was also bought by Intel Corporation. It was bought for $ 400 million in 2016. At that time, the company was established only about two years ago. The purchase price was also astronomical. Their main product is the Nervana neural network chip. Its architecture The design is very special. For the characteristics of AI requiring high-performance memory, the standard cache system was abandoned, and the software was used to manage the memory system.

After the acquisition of Nervana, Intel has also integrated its technology in the past two years and launched a number of Nervana AI chips. The latest ones are Nervana NNP-T and Nervana NNP-I.

NNP-T series AI chip

The Nervana NNP-T series AI chip was launched in August last year under the codename Spring Crest. It is mainly for AI training. It is produced using TSMC’s 16nm process and has a core area of ​​680mm2. It integrates 27 billion transistors and is equipped with 32GB HBM2 memory. The frequency is 1.1GHz and TDP 150. -250W is competing with NVIDIA Tesla series GPU acceleration chips.

Intel to stop TSMC's 16nm foundry Nervana chip

In contrast, the Nervana NNP-I series AI chip is much smaller. It is code-named Spring Hill and is mainly for AI inference applications. The CPU part is Intel’s 10nm process Ice Lake core. .2 and PCIe specifications are much smaller and more flexible.

As for why the Nervana NNP-T series of AI chips should be stopped, in addition to the high-performance AI training of Habana’s AI chips, it is estimated that it has a certain relationship with the high cost of Nervana NNP-T and TSMC’s foundry. Intel is unlikely Give your important products to others.

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