NVIDIA Ampere announcement

On May 14, 2020, NVIDIA Founder and CEO Jensen Huang presented a new NVIDIA Ampere accelerator architecture during the GTC conference to address the most demanding tasks in the areas of HPC (High Performance Computing) or artificial intelligence. We will present a summary of the most interesting details and news in the following text.

From general purpose GPUs to AI supercomputers

NVIDIA has always been synonymous with high-performance graphics cards (GPU). In 2007, they introduced the CUDA programming environment for general purpose graphic cards (GP GPU), making it a major player in accelerated computing for HPC (High Performance Computing) applications, data analysis, and more recently algorithms for artificial intelligence (AI). Since that NVIDIA has introduced a range of hardware and software technologies to further accelerate computing, and its accelerators have become the main computing power of the world’s most powerful supercomputers – IBM’s #1 Summit and #2 Sierra are built on NVIDIA Tesla V100 chips.

Jensen Huang

GTC 2020

The GPU Technology Conference (GTC) is the world’s largest conference on graphics cards, accelerated computing and, in recent years, artificial intelligence. Regularly, the greatest interest is in the Jensen Huang’s keynote, who in his typical black leather jacket presents news and trends in the areas in which NVIDIA offers its products. It has been three years since the announcement of the breakthrough accelerator NVIDIA Tesla V100, so this year we were eagerly awaited what they had baked in NVIDIA. Jensen’s presentation begins traditionally … I AM AI.


After watching the video from Jensen’s kitchen, it is clear that the biggest news of this year’s presentation will be the GPU architecture of NVIDIA Ampere, the NVIDIA A100 accelerator, which is built on this architecture, and the DGX A100 system. DGX A100 is a reference architecture of a tuned system for AI and HPC calculations, equipped with eight NVIDIA A100 accelerators. In his video, Jensen takes the system board with these eight GPU accelerators out of the oven and introduces it as the most powerful accelerator in the world.


The NVIDIA A100 accelerator is manufactured using 7 nm technology in the TSMC factory. It contains over 54 billion transistors on an area of 826 mm2. The main technological innovations of the new chip include:

  • Tensor cores (3rd generation) optimized for HPC calculations and AI
  • 40 GB fast HBM2 with 1.6 TB/s throughput, 40 MB L2 cache
  • Multi-Instance GPU (MIG) for multi-user work with a single card
  • faster NVLINK for interconnection of multiple cards (600 GB/s per card)
  • PCIe gen4 bus for connection to CPU and network cards (31.5 GB/s)

Improvements of Tensor cores in FP64 (double precission) computations greatly helps computational performance in traditional HPC computations and simulations, while support for TF32 and BF16 accelerates training and subsequent application (inference) of neural networks. The maximum theoretical performance for the individual accuracies of the calculation is showed in the table on the right. The stated values take into account the Boost frequency of the computational cores. NVIDIA also introduced Fine grained structured sparsity for working with deep neural networks. Thanks to it, it is possible to double the stated performance values!

FP64 Tensor Core 19,5 TFLOPS
FP32 19,5 TFLOPS
TF32 Tensor Core 156 TFLOPS
FP16 Tensor Core 312 TFLOPS
BF16 Tensor Core 312 TFLOPS
INT8 Tensor Core 624 TOPS
INT4 Tensor Core 1 248 TOPS

Comparison of NVIDIA A100 with existing accelerators

In general, the NVIDIA A100 accelerator is the most powerful hardware on which demanding computing tasks can be processed.

ParametEr Tesla T4 Tesla V100 SXM2 A100 SXM4 DGX-1 DGX-2 DGX A100
Architecture Turing Volta Ampere Volta Volta Ampere
Nr. of CUDA Cores 2 560 5 120 6 912 40 960 81 920 55 296
Nr. of Tensor Cores 320 640 432 5 120 10 240 3 456
FP64 Performance 0,25 TFLOPS 7,8 TFLOPS 9,7 TFLOPS 62 TFLOPS 125 TFLOPS 77,6 TFLOPS
Tensor (FP64) Performance 19,5 TFLOPS 156 TFLOPS
FP32 Performance 8,1 TFLOPS 15,7 TFLOPS 19,5 TFLOPS 125 TFLOPS 250 TFLOPS 156 TFLOPS
Tensor (TF32) Performance 156 TFLOPS 1,2 PFLOPS
Tensor (FP16) Performance 65 TFLOPS 125 TFLOPS 312 TFLOPS 1 PFLOPS 2 PFLOPS 2,5 PFLOPS
GPU Memory 16 GB 32 GB 40 GB 256 GB 512 GB 320 GB
Memory Technology GDDR6 HMB2 HMB2 HMB2 HMB2 HBM2
Memory Throughput 300 GB/s 900 GB/s 1 ,5 TB/s 900 GB/s 900 GB/s 1,5 TB/s
GPU card interconnection none NVLink NVLink3 NVLink, hypercube topologie NVSwitch, non-blocking NVSwitch3, non-blocking
Maximum power consumption 70 W 300 W 400 W 3 500 W 10 kW 6,6 kW
Form Factor PCIe card SXM2 card SXM4 card rack, 3U rack, 10U rack
On the Market since 2018 2017 2020 2017 2018 2020

We reviewed the current CPU platforms (Intel, AMD, POWER and ARM) in the March Comparsion of Server Processors. We are also preparing a comparison of accelerators for HPC and AI.

A100 AI acceleration
A100 HPC acceleration


When announcing the previous generation of Tesla accelerators, NVIDIA also introduced reference systems optimized for HPC and AI calculations – NVIDIA DGX. With the introduction of the NVIDIA A100 accelerator, a new DGX system – the NVIDIA DGX A100 – was also introduced.


Along with the DGX A100 system, NVIDIA also introduced the HGX A100 system, a system board equipped with four or eight NVIDIA A100 accelerators that OEM and ODM server manufacturers integrate into their systems. HPE, Gigabyte and Supermicro should be among the first manufacturers of these systems.