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Artificial intelligence semiconductor powerhouse Nvidia NVDA-Q unveiled a flagship AI chip, the Blackwell B200, as Chief Executive Jensen Huang kicked off the company’s annual developer conference on Monday.

Nvidia’s new chip and software announcements at GTC 2024 will help determine whether the company can maintain its leadership position as the dominant seller of the tools needed to fuel the past year’s frenzy around AI. Nvidia dominates the data centre AI chip market, capturing roughly an 80 per cent share last year.

“I hope you realize this is not a concert,” Huang, wearing his trademark black leather jacket, said after taking the stage, in a nod to the rising profile of his company.

The B200 takes two chips the size of Nvidia’s previous offering and binds them together into a single chip.

The new chip has 208 billion transistors, more than double the 80 billion on the company’s previous chip. All of those transistors can access the memory attached to the chip at nearly the same time, improving productivity.

“The launch of ‘Blackwell’ means Nvidia will capture even more capex dollars than its previous ‘Hopper’ generation GPU. We expect Nvidia will continue to not only lead but will widen the gap to its competitors in AI,” Kinngai Chan, managing director and senior research analyst at Summit Insights, said after the announcement.

Insider Intelligence analyst Jacob Bourne said Nvidia could solidify its AI dominance. “However, rivals like AMD, Intel, startups, and even Big Tech’s own chip aspirations threaten to chip away at Nvidia’s market share, particularly among cost-conscious enterprise customers,” he said.

Nvidia said major customers, including, Alphabet’s Google, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, OpenAI, Oracle and Tesla, are expected to use the new chip.

Nvidia also is shifting from selling single chips to selling total systems. Its latest iteration houses 72 of its AI chips, 36 central processors and contains 600,000 parts and weighs 3,000 pounds (1,361 kg).

Nvidia’s shares have surged 240 per cent over the past 12 months, making Nvidia the U.S. stock market’s third most valuable company, behind only Microsoft and Apple. Shares of Nvidia were down 1 per cent in extended trade during Huang’s presentation.

Its stellar 12-month rally leaves Nvidia’s stock at risk of plummeting back to earth if the Santa Clara, California, company fails to expand its AI business as much as investors expect.

Nvidia’s market share is expected to drop several percentage points in 2024 as new products from rivals such as Intel and Advanced Micro Devices hit the market.

Huang spoke at a Silicon Valley hockey arena to accommodate its largest crowd for its annual conference.

Though Nvidia is widely regarded as a chip designer, the company has built a significant battery of software products as well.

Nvidia said earlier this year its software and services business had reached an annual run rate of $1 billion by the end of the company’s last fiscal year.

The company is holding GTC in person for the first time since 2019. It expects roughly 16,000 people to attend, about double its last in-person event.

Huang also announced partnerships with design software companies Ansys, Cadence and Synopsys . Shares of the three companies jumped around 3 per cent in extended trade following Huang’s comments.

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