Avengers, assemble—Google, Intel, Microsoft, AMD and more team up to develop an interconnect standard to rival Nvidia's NVLink

Images of Nvidia's Blackwell GPU from GTC.
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia is, at this point, so far ahead in the AI hardware game that competing companies are doing the most unlikely of things—working together to keep up and beat the jolly green giant at its own game. 

Google, Intel, Microsoft, Meta, AMD, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Cisco and Broadcom have announced the formation of the catchily titled "Ultra Accelerator Link Promoter Group", with the goal of creating a new interconnect standard for AI accelerator chips.

Nvidia's proprietary NVLink interconnect tech is used to connect across multiple chips for demanding AI tasks, and it's mighty fast, particularly when stacked together on the latest AI hardware. Nvidia Blackwell GPUs support up to 18 NVLink 100 GB/s connections for a total bandwidth of 1.8 TB/s per single GPU. 

However, because it's proprietary tech it creates a closed ecosystem. Whichever link standard is used dictates the hardware, and that's what this new group aims to address.

The UALink Promoter group's goal is to create a new open standard that allows multiple companies to develop AI hardware using the new connection (via Ars Technica), much like Compute Express Link, an open standard high-speed connection developed by Intel for linking CPUs and devices in data centers.

The first version of the new standard, UALink 1.0, is said to be based on technologies like AMD's Infinity Architecture and is expected to improve speed and reduce latency compared to existing methods.

There is a catch, however. Products making use of the new interconnect tech are said to become available in the next two years, giving Nvidia quite a head start.

And in the meantime, Nvidia's overall AI hardware dominance shows no signs of waning. With huge orders for its previous generation H100 GPUs and tens of thousands of its latest Blackwell GPUs already sold before the AI chips were even announced, any company attempting to disrupt Nvidia's dominance in the market on any level is going to have to work its little socks off.

Still, those are some seriously big names. While Nvidia is undoubtedly the AI hardware darling of the moment, Google, Microsoft, Intel and AMD are not exactly technology lightweights, and a joint effort to break at least some of Nvidia's grip on the market is worth paying attention to.

Will Jen-Hsun lose any sleep over it, however? Somehow, I doubt it very much.


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Andy Edser
Hardware Writer

Andy built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 12, when IDE cables were a thing and high resolution wasn't. After spending over 15 years in the production industry overseeing a variety of live and recorded projects, he started writing his own PC hardware blog for a year in the hope that people might send him things. Sometimes they did.

Now working as a hardware writer for PC Gamer, Andy can be found quietly muttering to himself and drawing diagrams with his hands in thin air. It's best to leave him to it.