NVIDIA hot off naming its NVIDIA Grace Superchip now has a SuperNIC, copying a name from this research paper. The new branding is related to the BlueField-3 DPU being used as part of the company’s Ethernet networking for AI. NVIDIA is taking Spectrum-X/ Spectrum-4 and using it as a high-performance AI interconnect.
NVIDIA BlueField-3 Becomes a SuperNIC as NVIDIA Shows
At Computex 2023, the NVIDIA Computex 2023 Keynote featured the Spectrum 4 launch. NVIDIA’s 51.2T Ethernet switching platform can be configured for up to 64 ports of 800GbE or 128 ports of 400GbE.
The chip is massive and significantly larger than the Broadcom Tomahawk 4 64-port 400GbE Switch Chip we showed earlier this year.
NVIDIA is pairing this new switch with the NVIDIA BlueField-3 DPU that it is now calling a SuperNIC, apparently taking the name from the 2022 paper on arxiv. The DPU is the new 400Gbps capable adapter from NVIDIA.
The BlueField-3 DPU is a big update to the BlueField-2 that we have looked at in pieces like Logging Into a Mellanox NVIDIA BlueField-2 DPU, How to Get NVIDIA BlueField-2 DPU Running on Windows 11 Pro, NVIDIA BlueField-2 DPU and VMware vSphere Demo, and ZFS without a Server Using the NVIDIA BlueField-2 DPU.[embedded content]
We also built a cluster of these with an old AMD Threadripper Pro system, which is fun since this announcement is going live at the same time as the AMD Threadripper embargo lifts.[embedded content]
NVIDIA is taking the Spectrum-4 switch, the BlueField-3 DPU with the SuperNIC rebrand, and its Spectrum-X software and using it as an AI platform.
Many organizations do not have the networking teams to support both Ethernet and InfiniBand, so pushing ahead with Ethernet-based networking for AI makes sense. NVIDIA is using its IP from its Mellanox acquisition to create an easier
Note: STH brought up the SuperNIC paper to NVIDIA before the company started using the new branding today, but we are unaware of how the FPGA-based SmartNIC “SuperNIC” solution relates to the BlueField-3 DPU, and we were unable to get an answer as to how they are related, or if NVIDIA just decided it was a good name to use.