After several weeks of rumours and speculation, the news of Nvidia acquiring the Israeli Chip designer Mellanox was confirmed yesterday. This is the biggest acquisition Nvidia Corp has ever made amounting to an astounding $6.8 billion. It is also a major win for Nvidia as Intel was also actively involved in the bidding process.
What is Mellanox and Why Is It Important for Nvidia?
Mellanox Technologies Ltd. might not be a household name in the gaming industry, but it is absolutely massive when it comes to networking equipment. Mellanox Technologies primarily manufactures chips that power InfiniBand networks and high-speed Ethernet for connecting servers. These are used in cloud storage data centers and supercomputers to perform data-intensive computing along with AI.
Nvidia has already started to provide chips to speed up tasks involving AI such as image recognition and deep learning. These chips are used in teaching servers and the chips that connect these servers together inside the data centre are made by Mellanox. Therefore, it was crucial for Nvidia to acquire Mellanox in order to stitch those servers together. This would lead to better data centre cohesion and synergy.
This would also mean that Nvidia can gain some leverage over its biggest rival, Intel in the data centre business. The emergence of AI and data science along with billions of simultaneous everyday computer users means that getting faster and more efficient data centre systems is more important than ever. But the main question is that how does this affect an average Nvidia consumer?
What does this mean for an average Nvidia consumer?
The move does present some exciting prospects for an average consumer too. Nvidia currently provides consumer graphics cards for both gaming and for productivity focused processing. However, as far as gaming is concerned, many are already speculating what this could mean for the future.
During the past few years, cloud computing has really changed the way games are handled by the developers. As the technology evolves, cloud computing servers handle a greater number of in-game processes rather than your local PC or console. This leads to much more compact game files and better cohesion and consistency especially during multiplayer games. An increase in efficiency and speed of these servers would, therefore, translate into a much smoother and cohesive gaming experience.
There is also an implication of Nvidia utilizing resources gained from acquiring Mellanox for better DLSS optimization. DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) is an NVIDIA RTX technology exclusive for the RTX line-up of graphics cards that uses AI to boost framerates in games with graphically intense workloads. This basically means that gamers can use higher resolutions and settings while still maintaining stable and high framerates. This utilizes Nvidia’s deep learning neural networks and AI machine learning to gather information about GPU utilization patterns during games. The faster and more efficient their teaching servers get, the better would the results be.
This has already been tested in games that have DLSS support for RTX cards like Battlefield V and Metro Exodus. So, in essence, this could essentially mean better DLSS solution implementation in games by Nvidia meaning better framerates at higher resolutions.
Another less noticeable benefit might be the use of Ethernet modules on GPUs. Even though HDMI or display port are still the fastest ways to transfer video data, Ethernet can have some unique advantages. Ethernet can power several displays over extremely long distances with almost little to no lag. This can be useful for media production houses with central editing machines. If they need to send display signals over longer distances to multiple displays, this can be a very practical solution.
In conclusion, even if this move does not turn out to be as impactful as we think in the short run, it is still a huge step in the right direction by Nvidia and the future looks very promising.