NVIDIA A800 HPC GPU for China now available for around $14.5K

To comply with US imposed export restriction on high technology to China, NVIDIA had to castrate their A100 high-performance accelerator for datacenter. The chips codenamed A800 and H800 have certain restrictions that affect the performance compared to the original A100/H100 designs.

Although the restrictions were implemented to limit the capabilities of the Chinese military and research from using the world’s most advanced GPUs, the importance and popularity of AI-powered workloads has grown significantly since those restriction were implemented.

The A800 GPUs have limited performance, reportedly offer only 70% of the original A100 design, however the raw compute power is similar for FP32 or FP64 workloads (19.5 TFLOPS & 9.7 TFLOPS respectively). Performance loss would mainly come from the limitation on scalability, as A800 chips can only work in up to 8 instances and their SXM interconnect speed is limited to 400 GB/s (compared to 600 GB/s on the A100 and up to 16 instances).

NVIDIA previously stated that sales in the Chinese market exceed $400 million, implying that the customization of the A100 to meet the regulations should yield a profit. According to the report, the A800 now retails at around 100,000 RMB (14,461 USD), however the source did not mention whether that’s the 40GB or 80GB model.

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