Nvidia Unveils Slowed Down Chip for China Market

    Nvidia Unveils Slowed Down Chip for China Market
    Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Nvidia on Thursday released a new, adjusted version of an advanced gaming chip in order to meet US export regulations aimed at China. The US-based chip-making giant will begin selling its revised chip in China starting in January.

    • Nvidia unveiled the GeForce RTX 4090 D graphics card — which is a less powerful version of its leading RTX 4090 — on its website. The Chinese version has fewer CUDA cores than the standard model, topping out at 14,592 compared to 16,384.

    The Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    Thanks to the Biden administration’s tough approach to China, Nvidia has created a less powerful version of its standard AI chip, helping to contain Beijing's worrisome growth in the chip sector. The US doesn't seek to stifle innovation and harm international trade, but it cannot let a domestic company provide the highest level of technology to a tyrannical adversary. Nvidia showed that it is possible to comply with regulations while not cutting off an entire market.

    Pro-China narrative

    The US may think it scored a massive victory over China with its ban on certain AI chip exports, but that's sheer naivety. First of all, Nvidia is still selling the same essential product to China, as it barely reduced certain aspects to make the chips slightly less efficient. More importantly, Washington's policy will only push China into creating its own chip manufacturing plants and becoming the global leader in the industry. China’s vast stockpile of semiconductors and other technology makes its rise inevitable.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 15% chance that Nvidia will manufacture any of its AI chips in China before 2033, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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