Microsoft Planning to Launch An In-house AI Chip – Athena
In light of the current AI boom, there’s a massive, costly AI chip war going on right now. Most tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook have invested in making their own.
But, Nvidia stands at the top with its A100 GPUs and the latest H100 GPUs in super high demand. And, Microsoft was one of those companies that relied on Nvidia for AI chips.
That is supposed to change with the new Microsoft AI Chip – Athena; Which aims to provide a backup to AI chatbot technologies like ChatGPT.
Microsoft’s New AI Chip Athena – Here’s What We Know So Far
According to two people with direct knowledge of the project, the new AI chip has been in development since 2019.
Right now, a few employees from Microsoft and OpenAI already have access to it and are testing it.
The primary intention behind creating their own AI chip was to cut costs in buying external hardware.
Additionally, the reports suggest that Athena will improve the training of large language models and support interfaces. This will also help the AI chatbots process enormous volumes of data and identify patterns. Also, it’ll help produce new outputs that closely resemble human speech, making a human clone.
How Does Microsoft’s Athena Fare Against Nvidia’s AI Chips
As the AI chip market’s leader, Nvidia’s A100 takes up over 90% of the data center GPU market, focusing on training and running AI.
Furthermore, the new H100 chip will provide 9x as much performance as its predecessor. This begs the question, will Microsoft’s Athena deliver this level of performance?
As of now, we can only wait till its supposed launch in 2024, to know about specific details and benchmarks.
But, an important factor to consider here, is that Nvidia’s A100 costs $10,000. And, the H100 chip goes well over $40,000 according to one of the latest eBay listings.
That’s a lot of money. An in-house AI chip from Microsoft will run the costs much lower and allow them to allocate resources elsewhere.
Microsoft’s AI Ambitions – Concluding Words
With ChatGPT’s success, Microsoft is accelerating the rollout of AI-based tools and solutions. This was proven earlier this year with their ambitious launch of Bing AI, one of the first prominent AI-powered search engines; capitalizing on their partnership with OpenAI to capture Google’s market share.
Now, the tech giant is all in to develop its technology to handle its growing AI ambitions and take the lead early on.