The 144-core Arm processor NVIDIA Grace Superchip was demonstrated to the public back in the spring of this year at the GTC 2023 conference. Despite the fact that the technical characteristics of this solution have been known for a long time, the company decided to publish the first test results only now, probably at the suggestion of Arm, which preparing for IPO. Production of Grace Superchip has already started, and the appearance of OEM systems based on it should be expected in the second quarter of 2024.
Let’s remember that Grace Superchip is an assembly of two Grace chips, each of which includes 72 Arm Neoverse V2 (Arm v9) cores with support for SVE2 vector extensions. The processor can work with BF16/INT8 formats and develops up to 7.1 Tflops in FP64 mode. From a system point of view, the assembly appears to be a single 144-core processor.
Platforms based on AMD EPYC Genoa 9654 (2 processors, 192 cores) and Intel Xeon Sapphire Rapids 8480+ (also 2 processors, 112 cores) were chosen as competitors to Grace Superchip. The result is quite interesting: despite a noticeable lag in the number of cores from the AMD system, NVIDIA’s solution managed to achieve parity in the vast majority of tests, and even demonstrated a 1.4-fold superiority in the graph analytics scenario.
Perhaps the new product was helped by a powerful memory subsystem: Grace Superchip is equipped with a set of LPDDR5x chips with a capacity of 960 GB with a total memory bandwidth of 1 TB/s. But much more interesting are the results when adjusted to the level of power consumption – the Grace Superchip assembly literally crushed solutions based on x86-64. The gain in this case ranged from 70% to 150%!
The results obtained are in fairly good agreement with the official data on the power consumption of the systems participating in testing – these are 720 and 700 W for AMD and Intel solutions, respectively, versus 500 W for NVIDIA Grace Superchip. If the results published today are confirmed by independent tests, we can talk about the emergence of a serious competitor for x86 server solutions. However, NVIDIA’s pricing policy for Grace Superchip remains a mystery for now.
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