NVIDIA is gear­ing up to do more than just make GPUS

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Contents -

It could be said that Com­pu­tex is the most im­por­tant tech­nol­ogy ex­hi­bi­tion of the year. It may not have the scale or flash of CES, the un­veil­ing of flag­ship smart­phones like MWC or all the smart-home in­no­va­tions of IFA, but Com­pu­tex is the place where the chipsets and other tech­nol­ogy be­hind all of our best-loved de­vices fi­nally get to see the light of day. Nvidia – known for GPUS – un­veiled some of its new prod­ucts in Taiwan dur­ing Com­pu­tex 2018.

The gam­ing-lap­top mar­ket is see­ing an up­turn, with many peo­ple com­ing to ap­pre­ci­ate the raw-power ad­van­tage over the every­day lap­top. The prob­lem lap­tops had be­fore was that if you were af­ter bet­ter frame rates, im­proved visual de­tail or true 4K, a desk­top PC would have been your only an­swer. Now, gor­geous 18 mm-thin lap­tops boast­ing up to 70 per cent bet­ter gam­ing and equipped with Ge­force GTX 1060, 1070 or 1080 GPUS are a re­al­ity thanks to Nvidia’s new de­sign ap­proach: Max-q.

Ac­cord­ing to Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, Max-q lap­tops of­fer 60 per cent im­proved per­for­mance over the stan­dard Plays­ta­tion 4. Mak­ing this even more ex­cit­ing is the fact that Max-q lap­tops are de­signed to run at a max­i­mum of 40 db with a new Whis­per­mode that makes your lap­top qui­eter when plugged in.

MAX-Q was de­signed with a num­ber of the lead­ing OEMS, so you will be able to get the most ad­vanced lap­top-gam­ing ex­pe­ri­ence from your favourite brands, in­clud­ing ASUS, MSI Alien­ware, Hewlett- Packard, Gi­ga­byte, and Len­ovo.

If, like me, you were hop­ing that Nvidia would be un­veil­ing new GPUS, you’re out of luck. Ac­cord­ing to Huang, the next gen­er­a­tion of Ge­force GPUS will be ‘a long time from now.’ To tem­per the dis­ap­point­ment, Huang show­cased the DGX-2 su­per­com­puter Nvidia calls ‘ The World’s Largest GPU’. One node pro­vides two petaflops of oomph and a 512 GB buf­fer rate, has 1,5 TB of sys­tem mem­ory and can re­place 300 servers.

AI is the buzz­word in tech. Huang calls AI the au­to­ma­tion of au­to­ma­tion. To help Nvidia achieve ever more ad­vanced AI ca­pa­bil­i­ties, the com­pany has cre­ated Jet­son Xavier, ac­cord­ing to Huang the most com­plex SOC (Sys­tem on a Chip) ever made – the ‘world’s first in­tel­li­gent ma­chine pro­ces­sor’. It houses nine bil­lion tran­sis­tors in a 350 mm2 area (on the 12 nm fab­ri­ca­tion node), and has a Volta Ten­sor Core GPU with 512 cores. Huang also an­nounced Nvidia Isaac, the com­pany’s ro­bot­ics plat­form pow­ered by Xavier, with the early ac­cess de­vkit avail­able from Au­gust 2018 at a cost of US $1 299 – around R17 000.

The com­pany also an­nounced it was part­ner­ing with the city of Taipei to ‘su­per­charge’ the city with Nvidia’s AI tech, with a fo­cus on man­u­fac­tur­ing, health­care, trans­porta­tion and the smart city. There’s one clear take­away from the Nvidia an­nounce­ments at Com­pu­tex: As the world be­comes more re­liant on tech­nol­ogy, more heavy lift­ing will need to be done by ma­chines, which means more pow­er­ful GPUS. This puts Nvidia in a prime po­si­tion to be­come the in­fra­struc­ture of the fu­ture, pow­er­ing most of your de­vices in one form or another.

‘AI is the au­to­ma­tion of au­to­ma­tion,’ says Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. The com­pany is en­joy­ing growth in this pre- quan­tum com­put­ing world.

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