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Enflame Lifts Veil on Training Chip

October 5, 2021

Author: Bob Wheeler

Having shipped its first-generation chip for about 18 months, Enflame (燧原) Technology recently announced its second-generation chip for AI training, which it says will soon be in customer hands. It also revealed internal-architecture details of its initial AI training design, which combines programmability with tensor optimization. Based in Shanghai, the high-flying startup has raised a massive 3.1 billion yuan ($462 million), including backing from Tencent.

Enflame’s original training chip, dubbed the CloudBlazer T10, targets data-center servers, offering 80Tflop/s of peak FP16 performance. Built in 12nm technology at GlobalFoundries, the T10 operates at 1.25GHz and dissipates 225W. Enflame sells it on a standard dual-slot PCIe card and supplies a version called the T11 in an OCP-compliant OAM module.

Although its first-generation chip has underwhelming performance and efficiency, Enflame learned from it and advanced the new chip to be competitive with Nvidia. The new T20 doubles FP16 performance from the T10 and raises the peak INT8 rate to 320 TOPS. In addition to scaling the design, the company boosted performance by supporting the TF32 data type. The T20 is currently sampling. Chinese customers should be anxious to evaluate their AI models on the new offering.

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