Edge AI chip competition heating up

Julian Ho, Taipei; Rodney Chan, DIGITIMES Asia 0


The ChatGPT-triggered AI hype has attracted many IC vendors. Startup firms say they are now feeling the pressure from major IC design houses, such as MediaTek, Novatek and Realtek, who are stepping up efforts for AI chips, according to industry sources.

AI processors come in different grades for different applications, and the performance requirements for edge AI chips are already comparable to those of midrange to high-end smartphone APs, the sources said.

Leading GPU/CPU vendors Nvidia and AMD have unveiled high-performance AI chips made using advanced manufacturing process and packaging technology. However, AI chip vendors noted that not all AI applications need the support of top-notch GPUs, as adopting neural processing units (NPU) can produce chip solutions that can achieve both performance and cost competitiveness, according to the sources.

STMicroelectronics has already introduced MCUs with built-in NPUs. Even Oppo, which has just announced the closure of its chip development department, had also developed its own NPUs, made using TSMC's 6nm process, the sources said. None of the above-mentioned companies commented on the report.