Research Finds AMD AI Chip Rivals Nvidia Dominance

An AI firm said its tests found AMD’s GPU accelerators were about 80 percent as fast as those from market leader Nvidia and had a path to achieving equivalent performance.

AI firm MosaicML, a start-up acquired by DataBricks for $1.3bn last week, said it tested AMD’s MI250 against Nvidia’s A100, both being one generation removed from the companies’ most advanced products.

MosaicML found AMD’s MI250 was able to achieve about 80 percent the performance of the A100 due largely to a new version of AMD’s software released late last year and a new version of open-source software called PyTorch that is backed by Meta Platforms.

Hanlin Tang, chief technology officer of MosaicML, which uses PyTorch in developing its products, said that while software was usually AI chip companies’ “Achilles heel”, AMD “has done really well” on the software side.

‘Equivalent performance’

He said he believed future software updates would enable the MI250 to reach the performance of Nvidia’s A100, adding that AMD had not paid MosaicML to conduct the research.

Tang said MosaicML used its own tools along with PyTorch and AMD’s software to train a large language model without having to make any changes to its code base.

“You can already switch to these today they’re essentially interchangeable” with Nvidia’s chips, Tang said.

AMD said Mosaic’s findings “reinforce our strategy of supporting an open and easy to implement software ecosystem for AI training and inference on AMD hardware”.

Direct competition

The report comes after AMD last month announced its latest GPU acceleration chip for artificial intelligence (AI) projects, the MI300.

Nvidia dominates the market for chips used in training AIs, with more than an 80 percent share, a position that has caused its market valuation to skyrocket this year amidst a wave of interest in the technology spurred by OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

But AMD is increasingly seen as a viable competitor and its MI300 as potentially a direct rival to Nvidia’s top-end H100.

The MI300 is due to begin shipping for some customers later this year, with mass production expected in 2024, AMD said in announcing the product.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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