Nvidia Unveils Successor to Its All-Conquering AI Processor

Nvidia Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jensen Huang showed off new chips aimed at extending his company’s dominance of artificial intelligence computing, a position that’s already made it the world’s third-most-valuable business.

A new processor design called Blackwell is multiple times faster at handling the models that underpin AI, the company said at its GTC conference on Monday in San Jose, California. That includes the process of developing the technology — a stage known as training – and the running of it, which is called inference.

The Blackwell chips, which are made up of 208 billion transistors, will be the basis of new computers and other products being deployed by the world’s largest data center operators — a roster that includes Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Oracle Corp. Blackwell-based products will be available later this year, Nvidia said.

Blackwell — named after David Blackwell, the first Black scholar inducted into the National Academy of Science — has a tough act to follow. Its predecessor, Hopper, fueled explosive sales at Nvidia by building up the field of AI accelerator chips. The flagship product from that lineup, the H100, has become one of the most prized commodities in the tech world — fetching tens of thousands of dollars per chip.

The growth has sent Nvidia’s valuation soaring as well. It is the first chipmaker to have a market capitalization of more than $2 trillion and trails only Microsoft and Apple Inc. overall.

The announcement of new chips was widely anticipated, and Nvidia’s stock was up 79% this year through Monday’s close. That made it hard for the presentation’s details to impress investors, who sent the shares down about 3.5% in New York on Tuesday.

Huang, Nvidia’s co-founder, said AI is the driving force in a fundamental change in the economy and that Blackwell chips are “the engine to power this new industrial revolution.”