Nvidia Modifies Gaming Chip to Navigate U.S. Export Controls, Launches China-Focused RTX 4090 D

Leading U.S. chipmaker Nvidia has unveiled a modified version of its gaming chip in response to stringent U.S. export controls targeting China.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 D Graphics cardsNvidia’s chip, named GeForce RTX 4090 D, showcases advancements in performance, efficiency, and AI-powered graphics, set for availability to Chinese consumers from January onwards, Reuters news report said.

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 D has been designed to comply with U.S. government export controls. “While developing this product, we extensively engaged with the U.S. government,” the Nvidia spokesperson stated.

NVIDIA’s Gaming revenue was $2.86 billion in third-quarter, up 15 percent from the previous quarter and up 81 percent from a year ago. NVIDIA is aiming for total revenue of $20 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2024.

NVIDIA’s earlier disclosed that its sales to China and other affected destinations, derived from products that are subject to licensing requirements, have consistently contributed approximately 20-25 percent of Data Center revenue over the past few quarters. NVIDIA’s Data Center revenue was $14.54 billion in its latest quarter.

NVIDIA expects that its sales to these destinations will decline significantly in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2024.

This launch marks Nvidia’s debut of a chip specifically tailored for the Chinese market since the start of export rules by the Joe Biden Administration. Notably, prior modifications created by Nvidia — the A800 and H800 AI chips — to align with previous export regulations for the Chinese market were prohibited from sale, alongside the top-tier gaming chip, the RTX 4090.

In early November, industry newsletter SemiAnalysis speculated on Nvidia’s potential release of three new AI chips aimed at China, following the October export rule alterations. However, recent news reports from Reuters indicated a delay in the launch of one of these chips until the first quarter of the upcoming year. The remaining two chips are yet to be featured on Nvidia’s China website.

Nvidia has historically dominated over 90 percent of China’s $7 billion AI chip market. Analysts foresee these U.S. restrictions as a catalyst for domestic companies like Huawei Technologies to capitalize on burgeoning opportunities within the sector.

Commenting on the limitations, U.S. Commerce Secretary Raimondo clarified in a December 11 interview with Reuters that Nvidia retains the ability to sell AI chips to China, albeit excluding those with the highest processing capabilities.

In comparison to the banned RTX 4090, the China-targeted RTX 4090 D gaming chipset exhibits a marginal decrease in performance, reportedly 5 percent slower in gaming and creating, according to the Nvidia spokesperson.

Set at a price of 12,999 yuan ($1,842), the China-oriented RTX 4090 D stands at a premium of 350 yuan ($50) compared to the second most advanced chip in the series available to Chinese consumers, Nvidia revealed.