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Nvidia is building new Arm CPUs again: Nvidia Grace, for the data center

We’ve barely heard a peep out of Nvidia on the CPU front for years, after the lackluster arrival of its Project Denver CPU and . But now, the company’s getting back into CPUs in a big way with , an Arm-based processing chip specifically designed for AI data centers.

It’s a good time for Nvidia to be flexing its Arm: , pitching it specifically as an attempt “to create the world’s premier computing company for the age of AI,” and this chip might be the first proof point. Arm is having a moment in the consumer computing space as well, where . It’s also more competition for Intel, of course, .

The new Grace is named after computing pioneer , and it’s coming in 2023 to bring “10x the performance of today’s fastest servers on the most complex AI and high performance computing workloads,” according to Nvidia. That will make it attractive to research firms building supercomputers, of course, which the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) and Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2023 as well.

A Grace Next is already on the roadmap for 2025, too. Here’s a slide from Nvidia’s GTC 2021 presentation where it announced the news:

I’d recommend reading about where Grace might fit into the data center market and Nvidia’s ambitions. It’s worth noting that Nvidia isn’t releasing much in the way of specs just yet — but Nvidia does say it features a fourth-gen NVLink with a record 900 GB/s interconnect between the CPU and GPU. “Critically, this is greater than the memory bandwidth of the CPU, which means that NVIDIA’s GPUs will have a cache coherent link to the CPU that can access the system memory at full bandwidth, and also allowing the entire system to have a single shared memory address space,” writes AnandTech.

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