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Cerebras Second-Gen Wafer Scale Chip: 2.6 Trillion 7nm Transistors, 850,000 Cores, 15kW of Power

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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)

Cerebras, the company behind the Wafer Scale Engine (WSE), the world’s largest single processor, shared more details about its latest WSE-2 today at the Linley Spring Processor Conference. The new WSE-2 is a 7nm update to the original Cerebras chip and is designed to tackle AI workloads with 850,000 cores at its disposal. Cerebras claims that this chip, which comes in an incredibly small 26-inch tall unit, replaces clusters of hundreds or even thousands of GPUs spread across dozens of server racks that use hundreds of kilowatts of power.

The new WSE-2 now wields 850,00 AI-optimized cores spread out over 46,225 mm2 of silicon (roughly 12×12 in.) packed with 2.6 trillion transistors. Cerebras also revealed today that the second-gen chip has 40 GB of on-chip SRAM memory, 20 petabytes of memory bandwidth, and 220 petabits of aggregate fabric bandwidth. The company also revealed that the chip consumes the same 15kW of power as its predecessor but provides twice the performance, which is the benefit of moving to the denser 7nm node from the 16nm used with the previous-gen chip. 

Cerebras Wafer Scale Engine 2 WSE-2 Specifications

Cerebras Wafer Scale Engine 2 Cerebras Wafer Scale Engine Nvidia A100
Process Node TSMC 7nm TSMC 16nm TSMC 7nm N7
AI Cores 850,000 400,000 6,912 + 432
Die Size 46,255 mm2 46,255 mm2 826 mm2
Transistors 2.6 Trillion 1.2 Trillion 54 Billion
On-Chip SRAM Memory 40 GB 18 GB 40 MB
Memory Bandwidth 20 PB/s 9 PB/s 1,555 GB/s
Fabric Bandwidth 220 Pb/s 100 Pb/s 600 GB/s
Power Consumption (System/Chip) 20kW / 15kW 20kW / 15kW 250W (PCIe) / 400W (SXM)

These almost unbelievable specifications stem from the fact that the company uses an entire TSMC 7nm wafer to construct one large chip, thus sidestepping the typical reticle limitations of modern chip manufacturing to create a wafer-sized processor. The company builds in redundant cores directly into the hardware, which then leaves room for disabling defective cores, to sidestep the impact of defects during the manufacturing process.

The company accomplishes this feat by stitching together the dies on the wafer with a communication fabric, thus allowing it to work as one large cohesive unit. This fabric provides 220 Petabits/S of throughput for the WSE2, which is slightly more than twice the 100 Petabits/S of the first-gen model. The wafer also includes 40GB of on-chip memory that provides up to 20 Petabytes/S of throughput, both of which are also more than twice that of the previous-gen WSE. 

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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)
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Wafer Scale Engine 2

(Image credit: Cerebras)

Reference