Ethernet NIC unveiled by Broadcom for AI data centers

20 May 2024

Broadcom Inc. has unveiled what it claims is the first Ethernet network interconnect controller (NIC) built with 5 nm processor technology designed for artificial intelligence (AI) data centers.

The low power 400G PCIe Gen 5.0 Ethernet NIC is designed to resolve connectivity bottlenecks as XPU bandwidth and cluster sizes grow in AI data centers.

For these AI data centers, the adapter delivers higher rack density using mainstream air-cooling technology, Broadcom said, with the ability to drive passive copper cables up to 5 m. The Ethernet adapters are equipped with a third generation RoCE pipeline, low-latency congestion control technology and telemetry features.

“As the industry races to deliver generative AI at scale, the immense volumes of data that must be processed to train LLMs require even larger server clusters,” said Patrick Moorhead, CEO and chief analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. “Scalable high bandwidth, low latency connectivity is critical for maximizing the performance of these AI clusters.”

Moorhead added that Ethernet as networking technology is a compelling option for AI workloads in the data center and the open connectivity of Broadcom’s devices is attractive for power-hungry AI applications.

The adapter software is designed to be vendor agnostic to support CPUs, GPUs, PCIe and Ethernet switches using open PCIe and Ethernet standards, Broadcom said.

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