Intel Debuts Data Center Chips


The new products are designed to bolster Intel’s position outside of CPUs and push deeper into artificial intelligence

Intel Corp. is rolling out new processors designed for data centres, a lucrative market where it’s facing tougher competition from Nvidia Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. The new lineup will include updated artificial intelligence chips, fresh versions of Intel’s Xeon processors and semiconductors that help connect telecommunications networks. For the first time, the company also will sell graphics chips designed for data centres, challenging Nvidia on its own turf.

The new products are designed to bolster Intel’s position outside of central processing units, its traditional strength, and push deeper into artificial intelligence. Cloud service providers pioneered the use of AI to make sense of the flood of data created by smartphones and Internet applications. Many of those programs work better with so-called accelerators, which specialise in handling certain parts of data manipulation. The company, which has never offered stand-alone graphics chips before, will begin selling two versions of a processor called Arctic Sound starting in the third quarter.

The company also is updating its Habana Gaudi and Greco AI accelerators, chips that are used to train and then run AI software as it makes decisions based on the data it receives. The new version will be built on better production technology and compare favourably to Nvidia products in the market, Intel said. Voice and image recognition are two applications that can take advantage of such accelerators.