Intel just can’t get a break. First Apple takes them on with their M1 processor and now Nvidia with their ARM based CPU, Grace.
Named after the pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper, Grace is NVIDIA’s first datacenter CPU, targeted at massive workloads like AI supercomputing and natural language processing. It’s powered by ARM Neoverse cores and it’ll be tightly integrated with the company’s latest GPU technology.
During the NVIDIA virtual keynote, we learn that a Grace-powered system is ten times faster at training a natural language processing (NLP) model with one trillion parameters compared to its x86 DGXTM machines. Similar to Apple, NVIDIA may be hitting the limits of current x86 hardware at this point, so the only choice is to take things into its own hands.
Grace systems will rely heavily on NVIDIA’s NVLink technology, which will be able to provide 900 GB/s speeds between their CPUs and GPUs. NVIDIA claims that’s around 30 times faster than leading servers today. And thanks to LPDDR5x memory, Grace machines will be 10 times as energy efficient and offer twice the bandwidth of DDR4 RAM.
Given the growing importance of energy-efficient supercomputers, Grace has a good shot at being more immediately successful than NVIDIA’s last ARM-based hardware, Tegra, which eventually found a use in NVIDIA Drive.
What’s clear from the keynote is that NVIDIA has a good shot at finally making ARM a first-class citizen in the data center!