Now countries in the Middle East are banned from acquiring cutting-edge Nvidia AI chips

You can add parts of the Middle East to the list of regions where you can’t buy Nvidia’s top-spec A100 and H100 accelerators, according to a regulatory filing the chip maker provided to investors this week.

The countries that submitted the list were not identified in the regulatory file (PDF). However, it is not unusual for US regulators to alert companies that are likely to be affected by impending trade restrictions ahead of time.

In a statement to Record“The administration has not blocked chip sales to the Middle East,” a US Bureau of Industry spokesperson told us.

The government agency doesn’t ban chip exports to China either, but it does restrict sales in the Middle Kingdom. He did not address our questions regarding the export restrictions cited in the Nvidia SEC filing, stating that the agency is “not in a position to confirm or deny any of Nvidia’s actions.”

Nvidia’s introduction comes just weeks later reports It emerged that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were buying thousands of Nvidia H100 devices. Given the United States’ military support and relations with Saudi Arabia, it seems unlikely that this country will be a target of American restrictions.

However, in January, Reuters mentioned Brian Nelson, the US Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, warned officials at the University of East Anglia and Turkish officials that if they did not crack down on Russian attempts to circumvent sanctions, they could find themselves cut off from US suppliers. The latest export restrictions may be more aimed at preventing the Kremlin from getting its hands on American technology.

While Nvidia is among the first to acknowledge the limitations, it is unlikely to be limited to just one chipmaker.

Export controls on the sale of AI chips to China, implemented by the Biden administration last October, put limits on the interconnection bandwidth of the accelerators. Since large AI training workloads typically require dozens or even hundreds of GPUs to be chained together, limiting the bandwidth of the interconnect effectively impairs its performance on a large scale. The decision effectively bans the sale of high-spec graphics processing units and accelerators from Nvidia, AMD and Intel in the region.

We’ve reached out to Intel and AMD for comment; We’ll let you know if we hear anything.

In the aftermath of the restrictions, several US chip makers introduced discounted products that were not subject to export restrictions. For example, Nvidia has developed the A800 and H800 GPUs for the Chinese market. The company has reportedly received orders worth more than $1 billion for these cards, and is expected to sell another $4 billion worth of GPUs to Chinese web giants next year.

Intel has it too Launched A China-specific version of the Habana Gaudi2 AI chip, AMD revealed in its latest earnings call that it is willing to jump through Uncle Sam hoops and develop parts for China and other no-go regions.

The availability of lower performance and export-compatible chips may be why Nvidia isn’t concerned about the new restrictions, which it says shouldn’t have an immediate impact on its financial results. However, in the filing, the graphics processor giant warned that if the US pursued stricter restrictions on the sale of GPUs outside America, it could be costly.

“Any future transitions could be costly and time-consuming, and adversely affect our R&D, sourcing and distribution operations, as well as our revenues, during any such transition period,” the company said.

This is a distinct possibility: Several US lawmakers have called for a Biden administration to impose stricter controls on the sale of AI accelerators abroad. In particular, they believe that the limits of performance do not go far enough.

ASML says it will not stop exporting the DUV range to China until next year

And as US chipmakers grapple with revised export restrictions, Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML claims it can continue selling deep UV lithography machines to China through the end of the year, despite restrictions on the sale of equipment that take effect tomorrow.

“The Dutch licensing authorities have issued the licenses we need as of September 1, in order to be able to continue shipments of NXT:2000i and later systems this year,” an ASML spokesperson said. Record.

We have been told that the extension will allow ASML to comply with existing contract obligations with Chinese customers. But after January, the manufacturer does not expect to be able to continue selling the machines.

“Our customers are aware of the export control regulations, so they know that from January 1, 2024, it is unlikely that we will be able to obtain export licenses for these systems to ship to domestic Chinese customers,” the spokesperson said.

While ASML is already prohibited from selling advanced extreme UV lithography machines to China, the country has come under pressure from the United States and its allies to restrict the sale of older DUV equipment. In March, the Dutch government formally joined efforts by the United States to deny China access to the machinery and software necessary to develop semiconductor manufacturing capabilities in the Middle Kingdom.

Although it is no longer the most advanced chip manufacturing equipment, DUV devices still cost millions of dollars. Despite the loss of business, the equipment maker does not expect the restrictions to have a significant impact on its financial statements in the long term. ®

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