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Graphcore launches C600 card for China amid financial woes • The Register

British AI chip designer Graphcore has packed its two-year-old, second-generation intelligence processing unit into new packaging for China and Singapore amid just lately reported monetary woes.

The Bristol, UK-based startup introduced on Tuesday that its Colossus Mk2 GC200 IPU will likely be obtainable within the new C600 PCIe card, making the processor suitable with servers past the corporate’s pre-integrated M2000 IPU system.

The corporate stated pre-orders for the C600 card are actually open in China and Singapore and will likely be obtainable by way of accepted {hardware} companions in Graphcore-qualified methods. It hasn’t stated if the cardboard will likely be expanded to different markets.

The C600 card was developed “in response to buyer demand in markets the place knowledge middle configurations, together with rack dimension and energy provide, fluctuate extensively,” stated Chen Jin, Graphcore’s vice chairman and head of China Engineer, in a weblog publish.

“This extremely versatile kind issue permits Graphcore clients to tailor their system setup, together with host server/chassis, to their precise necessities,” Jin added.

It’s not clear if Graphcore needed to modify the C600 card to adjust to latest US export restrictions on superior chips to China. Regardless of Graphcore being a British firm, the export bans on semiconductor firms have stretched effectively past American borders because the restrictions have an effect on US manufacturing and design instruments that make a lot of the world’s most superior chips.

US restrictions have prompted Graphcore’s a lot bigger opponents to kick into gear, with AMD halting gross sales of its MI250 GPU to China and Nvidia slowing down its A100 GPU to proceed gross sales within the nation. Biren Know-how and Alibaba in China have additionally reportedly needed to scale back processing speeds for brand new GPUs.

Specs recommend it’s ok

Designed for AI inference workloads on low-precision quantity codecs, Graphcore’s C600 card can ship as much as 280 teraflops of 16-bit floating level (FP16) processing energy and as much as 560 teraflops of 8-bit floating level ( FP8) arithmetic ship .

FP8 assist is new to Graphcore, as it’s to the remainder of the business. Intel, Arm and Nvidia revealed the specification for FP8 in September. The aim of FP8 is to create a lower-precision format for neural community coaching and inference that optimizes reminiscence utilization and improves effectivity whereas offering the same degree of accuracy as 16-bit precision.

The C600 is a dual-slot PCIe Gen four card with a thermal design energy of 185 watts. As much as eight of the playing cards match right into a single server chassis and talk straight through Graphcore’s high-bandwidth IPU-Hyperlink interconnect cables. The C600’s IPU hyperlink bandwidth is 256 GB/s [PDF].

The Mk2 IPU within the C600 card has the identical 1,472 IPU cores and 900MB of processor inner reminiscence when the second technology IPU was first introduced in 2020.

The discharge of the C600 comes not lengthy after a number of stories painted a bleak image for Graphcore. In September, the startup introduced that it was planning job cuts on account of an “extraordinarily difficult” macroeconomic scenario. The following month, The Instances reported that traders had decreased Graphcore’s valuation by $1 billion amid monetary woes, together with a canceled cope with Microsoft. ® Graphcore launches C600 card for China amid monetary woes • The Register