US chip designer Nvidia said on Tuesday that an updated directive by Washington had put new restrictions on exports of some advanced artificial intelligence (AI) chips to China into immediate effect.
The new guidelines were originally supposed to come into effect 30 days from October 17, Nvidia noted in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). But they came into effect on Monday this week.
The new US rules, announced last week, impact chips “having a “total processing performance” of 4800 or more and “designed or marketed for [a] datacenter”.
Nvidia noted five chips that will be impacted as the rules go into effect. These are the A100, A800, H100, H800 and L40S, Nvidia said in the filing.
Of these, Nvidia designed the A800 and the H800 specifically for the Chinese market, such that they met the limits imposed by the US in October last year.
The A800 chip was the first such product developed by a US semiconductor company to create advanced processors for China that follow new US trade rules. It was released in November last year.
The chip was a modified version of Nvidia’s flagship A100, but offered a lower chip-to-chip data transfer rate of 400 gigabytes per second. US rules at the time restricted rates of 600 gigabytes per second and up.
Chips with a higher transfer rate are crucial for the faster development of AI models.
In March, Nvidia said it had modified another flagship chip – the H100 – for the China market. Dubbed the H800 the chip was being used by Chinese technology giants including Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent, at the time, according to a Nvidia spokesperson.
In its filing to the SEC, Nvidia said the accelerated timing of US licensing requirements will not “have a near-term meaningful impact on its financial results”.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), another US chipmaker impacted by the curbs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Meanwhile, chipmaker Intel, which began selling its Gaudi 2 chips in China in July, said it was “reviewing the regulations and assessing the potential impact.”
Dutch lawmakers question new US curbs
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, several lawmakers challenged the country’s Trade Minister over whether the US had acted correctly in unilaterally imposing new rules regulating the export to China of another chipmaking machine made by ASML.
Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher said during a parliamentary debate the Cabinet was not opposed to the new US rules affecting Europe’s largest tech firm but “this should be tackled in a much more European way”.
New rules last week announced last week restricted exports of ASML’s Twinscan NXT1930Di machine if it contains any US parts at all.
The deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography machine can be used to help make both relatively advanced computer chips as well as mid-range and older chips. US policy is aimed at slowing China’s technological and military advances.
ASML said it would abide by the US rules, and it believed in practice the new restrictions would apply only to a tools for a small number of Chinese plants capable of making “advanced semiconductors”.
- Vishakha Saxena, with Reuters