Imagination Technologies takes aim at data centers with new chip designs

Oct 13 (Reuters) – Imagination Technologies on Tuesday released new chip technology that it hopes will help it expand into the market for data center chips.

The London-based company has long supplied designs and intellectual property that go into making graphics chips for mobile phones, helping them render more complex images while consuming less power. The company’s newest BXT series of graphics chip design is meant to compete with rivals such as Nvidia Corp and Advanced Micro Devices, whose chips are often used inside data centers.

Sales of graphics chips have risen in recent years because they have been adapted to take on artificial intelligence tasks such as image recognition. The growth of those tasks has in turn helped Nvidia, already the largest supplier of graphics and AI chips, overtake Intel Corp as the largest U.S. chip company by market capitalization.

Imagination’s entry into the data center market, where its graphics chips will also help process online game images, draws on its experience in supplying chip designs for mobile phones. The BXT design aims to get as much computing performance as possible from a small amount of power on a physically small piece of silicon.

For companies that operate huge cloud computing data centers, those factors are becoming increasingly important as they seek to improve efficiency. Other mobile phone chip companies such as Qualcomm Inc have also released power-efficient data center chips for artificial intelligence in recent months.

“If you’ve got a cloud application where your profit is decided by how much (computing) you can do for what amount of power, these are a really interesting solution that’s a step ahead of other options on the market today,” Andrew Girdler, a product manager with Imagination, said of the BXT chips in an interview with Reuters. (Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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