NVIDIA recently showed off its roadmap, well beyond what it normally does in GTC. The company is pushing hard in the data center space with expectations that it will be at least 3x the gaming marking and 4.5x if one includes Enterprise AI and its DGX Cloud offerings. As such, the roadmap has accelerated with new parts like the H200, B100, X100, B40, X40, GB200, GX200, GB200NVL, GX200NVL, and more. There is even a path to 1.6T Ethernet in the next two years.
NVIDIA Data Center Roadmap
One major change is that NVIDIA now breaks out its Arm-based products and its x86-based products, with Arm on top. For some reference, a normal customer cannot even buy a NVIDIA Grace or Grace Hopper today, so showing it atop its stack for a 2023-2025 roadmap is an important detail. Here is the roadmap NVIDIA presented:
On the Arm side, we have the GH200NVL in 2024, GB200NVL in 2024, and then in 2025 we have the GX200NVL. We have already seen the x86 NVL line launch with the NVIDIA H100 NVL but these are Arm-based solutions. There is then the GH200NVL coming in 2024. There is a fast-follow GB200NVL and then a GX200NVL coming. There are also the non-NVL versions. We covered the GH200 (non-NVL) with 142GB/ 144GB of memory in the NVIDIA Announces a New NVIDIA Hopper 144GB HBM3e model in a dual configuration that may end up being the GH200NVL. The GB200 would be the next-generation accelerator in 2024 and the GX200 in 2025.
For the x86 market, there is the H200 in 2024 that we would expect to be a refresh with more memory still on the Hopper architecture. The B100 and B40 are the next-gen architecture parts followed by the X100 and X40 in 2025. Given the B40 and X40 are on the “enterprise” swimlane, and the current L40S is a PCIe card, these might be the PCIe cards.
On the networking side, both Infiniband and Ethernet are going to progress from 400Gbps to 800Gbps in 2024 and then to 1.6Tbps in 2025. Given we have already taken a look at Broadcom Tomahawk 4 and switches with it in early 2023, and have seen partner 800G Broadcom Tomahawk 5 switches this year, it feels a bit like the NVIDIA Ethernet portfolio is notably behind in Ethernet. 2022-2023 800G line from Broadcom seems to align with a 2024 upgrade from NVIDIA with NVIDIA announcing Spectrum 4 in mid-2023 whereas Tomahawk 5 was announced about 21-22 months earlier. In the industry, there is generally a significant gap between a chip announcement and when it goes into production switches.
On the Infiniband side, NVIDIA is alone. Something missing from the roadmap is the NVSwitch/ NVLink roadmap.
Other AI hardware companies should be freaked out by NVIDIA’s enterprise AI roadmap. Playing in the AI training and inference space is going to mean a refresh generation of the current Hopper in 2024, then a transition to the Blackwell generation later in 2024 with another architecture in 2025. On the CPU side, we have seen sleepy update cadences give way to a core count war on the x86 side with massive jumps lately. For example, Intel’s top-of-the-line Xeon core count is expected to jump more than 10x from early Q2 2021 to Q2 2024. NVIDIA seems to be on that pace in the data center. For AI startups building silicon, this is now a race given NVIDIA’s new roadmap pace.
For Intel, AMD, and perhaps Cerebras, the goalposts are going to be moving as NVIDIA is selling big high-margin chips. It is also putting its Arm-based solutions in the top swimlane so it can get those high margins on not just the GPU/ accelerator side, but also on the CPU side.
The one notable laggard seems to be the Ethernet side, which feels strange given the fact that in the STH lab, we use NVIDIA BlueField-2 DPUs for Ethernet daily and the fastest NICs we have used thus far are the NVIDIA ConnectX-7 400GbE cards we reviewed.