Canadian AI chip startup Tenstorrent inks a deal to manufacture AI chips for Samsung

In early August, we reported on Tenstorrent after the Canadian AI chip startup secured $100 million in funding from investors including Hyundai Motor Group, a Samsung investment fund, and several others. Fast forward just two months later, Tenstorrent struck a deal to produce artificial intelligence chips for tech giant Samsung.

In a recent development, Tenstorrent announced today it has reached an agreement to develop AI chips for Samsung’s chip manufacturing arm, Reuters reported. As part of the deal, Tenstorrent intends to use Samsung’s cutting-edge manufacturing process, referred to as 4nm, to create these chips. These Tenstorrent chips, designed as chiplets, will be integrated alongside other chiplets within a single package. The total value of the deal, or the quantity of chips to be manufactured, was not disclosed.

Tenstorrent is one of several startups aiming to compete with Nvidia, a dominant player in the AI chip market. While the company initially focuses on producing chips and intellectual property for data centers, it’s also expanding its efforts to serve various markets, including the automotive industry.

While the competition in the AI chip space is heating up, Tenstorrent is positioning itself as a formidable challenger in this rapidly evolving market. Earlier this year, Keller, known for his chip development work at Apple, Tesla, and Intel, took the reins as CEO of Tenstorrent.

Tenstorrent utilizes RISC-V technology for some of its chips, an open-source semiconductor architecture that competes with established players like Arm and x86 (used by Intel and AMD). However, the chip that Samsung will manufacture, known as Quasar, does not rely on RISC-V technology.

In a statement, Tenstorrent CEO Jim Keller said: “Tenstorrent’s focus is on developing high performance compute and delivering these solutions to customers around the world.”

This chip manufacturing agreement comes on the heels of Samsung’s investment in Tenstorrent in August, part of a $100 million capital raise that also involved Hyundai Motor and other investors. Prior to this funding round, Tenstorrent had already secured $234.5 million in funding, achieving a valuation of $1 billion and joining the coveted unicorn club.

While Tenstorrent primarily targets Nvidia’s dominance in data center chips, it also extends its efforts into various AI chip applications, including a recent partnership with LG to produce chips for smart televisions.

While Tenstorrent’s primary focus lies in developing chips to compete with Nvidia in data centers, it is also working on AI chips for various applications, including a recent partnership with LG for chips intended for use in smart televisions.

In addition to producing its own AI chips, Tenstorrent also licenses its intellectual property and technology to other companies interested in creating their own AI chips. Hyundai’s semiconductor development group, established last year, is also planning to leverage Tenstorrent’s technology in future vehicles from Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands. This highlights the company’s broader vision and the potential impact its technology could have on various industries, including automotive.


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