Over the last day, I have been shocked. There was a small Easter Egg in the NVIDIA GTC 2022 presentation, that the vast majority of folks missed. It was mentioned twice in the roughly 100-minute keynote, but it was not a major point of focus. Still, NVIDIA has something that is clearly a secret weapon that it showed: a third Grace variant. The NVIDIA 1x Grace-2xHopper made its debut.
NVIDIA’s Most Important 3rd Grace? 1x Grace-2xHopper at GTC 2022
This is the slide taken at the few moments that NVIDIA was discussing how it plans to scale Grace and Hopper in different combinations:
We already saw the Arm-azing Grace at the last GTC, but the new variant was shown front and center at this year’s GTC.
There was also an announcement of the NVIDIA Grace CPU Superchip, a dual Grace Arm CPU module. Just as a quick note here, NVIDIA is clearly doing something else with Grace beyond just providing 144 CPU cores. For some context, the AMD EPYC 7773X Milan-X that we just looked at we are getting over 824 in our SPECrate2017_int_base already, and there is room for improvement. Those two AMD chips have 1.5GB of L3 cache (likely NVIDIA’s 396MB is including more.) While AMD has two 280W TDP parts, and they do not include the 1TB and 1TB/s LPDDR5X memory subsystem, nor NVLink/ PCIe Gen5, they are also available today with up to 160 PCIe Gen4 lanes in a system. As a 2023 500W TDP CPU, if NVIDIA does not have significant acceleration onboard, the Grace CPU Superchip has the Integer compute of 2020 AMD CPUs and the 2021 Ampere Altra Max at 128 cores is already right at that level. The bottom line is, it would be very hard to green-light the Grace CPU Superchip unless it has some kind of heavy acceleration because it is not going to be competitive as a 2023 part versus 2022 parts on its integer performance. Still, there is “over 740” which means that 1400 could be “over 740” but it is a different claim to make.
Our sense is that there much more going on with Grace than NVIDIA is letting on, especially since Jensen said that it would “support RTX” and NVIDIA’s other frameworks.
The third variant is small on the slide shown during the keynote, but if we blow it up, look at Grace-2xHopper:
This is one Grace CPU with eight of the LPDDR5X packages visible and there are two Hopper H100’s visible with their six stacks of HBM3 (although likely 5 active.)
What is more, the Grace-2xHopper has a really interesting design already with guide-pins and high-density connectors. This looks a lot like a product designed to fit into a specific chassis given the left edge’s clearly defined roles and lack of symmetry. We can also see the very interesting connectivity on the right-hand side with eight connections in each of the four terminals that are going off into the abyss. Often conceptual products are highly symmetrical and do not have these hanging bits to look better. This may just be a 2023-era supercomputer building block that we are looking at.
NVIDIA showed this third variant, and we covered it during our live GTC 2022 piece. Realistically, it was mentioned so briefly that the only reason we covered it was that we thought it might be coming and were specifically looking for it. Figure a few thousand dollars for that CPU complex, plus two GPUs easily well north of $10K each (most likely a lot more) and that is likely a $25-30K module minimum that has connectivity for high-density servers. NVIDIA has something brewing with Grace-2xHopper that is clearly an assembly designed for large-scale systems integration, and that makes it very exciting.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Giveaway for GTC
NVIDIA is sponsoring a GPU giveaway on STH for GTC 2022. For this, you likely need to have a free GTC 2022 account. If you do not already have one, you can register on the GTC website. Registration is free this year and there are hundreds of free sessions. Then take a screenshot, uploading it below with a quick caption as to why the session is your favorite.
Here is the simple giveaway form:
STH NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Giveaway
For those who want a few bonus entries, after you submit the photo, you can get a bonus entry by subscribing to the STH Newsletter and/or going to the NVIDIA GTC 2022 page again.