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Friday, June 14, 2024

This 7nm GPU out of China is said to rival AMD and Nvidia’s finest

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Big Island, the first ‘cloud training GPU’ out of China, is getting ready for mass market after almost four years under the radar. And manufacturer Shanghai Tianshu Intellectual Semiconductor Co. has finally released the pics to prove it.

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According to Tianshu Zhixin, as the company is commonly known as in Asia, this sleek looking, 7nm AI and HPC focused monster has the potential to spit up “twice the performance of mainstream manufacturers’ products.”

Not only could Big Island’s numbers compete with AMD and Nvidia’s commercial chips in terms of performance, Tianshu Zhixin claim it’ll do so with a more impressive price-to-performance ratio, as well as lower power consumption. This could mean an epic boost to sectors such as education, medicine, and security that utilise such powerful graphics solutions for important work.

Big Island supports a boatload of floating point formats. These include, but are not limited to, FP32, FP16, BF16, INT32, INT16, and INT8. As noted by Tom’s Hardware, Big Island products have the potential to hit up to 147 TFLOPS on an FP16 test platform. These are numbers teased by the company itself, so should be taken with a pinch of salt, but with the current generation Nvidia A100 and AMD Instinct MI100 managing up to 77.97 TFLOPS and 184.6 TFLOPS, respectively, it sure sounds competitive. Though it must be said that Nvidia and AMD both have tricks up their sleeves to juice their cards up further.

Still, 147 TFLOPS isn’t a bad ballpark number, all things considered. There’s no word on pricing as yet, so we cant really comment on the price-to-performance.

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After years in development, the design for Big Island was actually finalised some time in 2020, but was then stalled for some time. This is likely due in part to the component shortage the tech industry has found itself in over course of the pandemic. The company has since managed to manoeuvre itself back into a decent spot, and production will be underway as soon as possible.

It’s not yet clear whether Big Island will see a release outside of China. With a focus on championing domestic manufacturing, reducing the country’s reliance on foreign tech, we’d suspect this chip to stay within the country.

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