Nvidia introduces Spectrum-X, an Ethernet switch built for AI at Computex 2023

Stock image of Nvidia Spectrum-X

At Computex 2023, Nvidia hosted its keynote session where the company announced various new products and enhancements to the existing line-up. Along with that, the company also unveiled Nvidia Spectrum-X, a new Ethernet switch.

The Spectrum-X, as Nvidia claims, is the new switch designed with Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations in mind. The new switch is built upon the foundation of Spectrum-4 with NVIDIA BlueField-3 DPU. It claims to offer "1.7x better overall AI performance and power efficiency, along with consistent, predictable performance in multi-tenant environments".

Nvidia plans to use the Spectrum-X in the Israel-1, "a hyperscale generative AI supercomputer to be deployed in its Israeli data center on Dell PowerEdge XE9680 servers based on the NVIDIA HGX™ H100 eight-GPU platform, BlueField-3 DPUs and Spectrum-4 switches".

At the launch, Gilad Shainer, senior vice president of networking at Nvidia said:

Transformative technologies such as generative AI are forcing every enterprise to push the boundaries of data center performance in pursuit of competitive advantage NVIDIA Spectrum-X is a new class of Ethernet networking that removes barriers for next-generation AI workloads that have the potential to transform entire industries.

Nvidia further noted that the new Ethernet switch is versatile and is the "world’s first 51Tb/sec Ethernet switch built specifically for AI networks". Shainer also noted that the Spectrum-X can spread the traffic across in the best possible way using a congestion control method to reduce memory buffer. Furthermore, Nvidia claims that Spectrum-X will offer lossless data transfer to optimize bandwidth usage.

The Spectrum-X offers an "unprecedented scale of 256 200Gb/s ports connected by a single switch, or 16,000 ports in a two-tier leaf-spine topology to support the growth and expansion of AI clouds while maintaining high levels of performance and minimizing network latency."

Along with the Spectrum-X, Nvidia also confirmed that SDKs such as Cumulus Linux, pure SONiC and NetQ will support the new hardware, enabling developers to easily transition to the Spectrum-X switch. The company will also include NVIDIA DOCA software framework that currently powers the BlueField DPUs.

Nvidia had a pretty busy day at Computex as the company made multiple announcements which included ACE, a Chat GPT-like model for NPCs in games, a collaboration with WPP to introduce an innovative content engine, new AI enhancements for RTX GPUs and a partnership with MediaTek to bring AI to cars. The company has been riding on the AI wave since the recent quarterly earnings which propelled the company's market capitalization close to $1 Trillion.

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