Bitcoin mining and HPC application leader Northern Data has acquired 24,000 EPYC servers along with 223,000 AMD and Nvidia GPUs from Block.one, for the price of 195 million Euros and another 170 million Euros in shares. The new GPUs and servers will make Northern Data's server infrastructure more powerful than the world's fastest supercomputer, the Fugaku.
Northern Data expects full installation of GPU server systems to be complete by Q3 of 2021, with servers installed across several countries including Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Germany. The added hardware will boost Northern Data's raw compute power by more than double, going from 1.29 exaflops of FP32 performance to 2.6 exaflops.
The primary goal of Northern Data is to boost its HPC and Bitcoin mining operations substantially with the new graphics cards and EYPC processors. But the company is also planning to extend to rendering, AI, blockchain applications, and IoT workflows for customers of Northern Data.
What's not clear is exactly what type of GPUs we're talking about. Are these consumer graphics cards used for Ethereum mining and other cryptocurrency endeavors, or are they data center GPUs specifically designed for AI and HPC applications? We don't know.
What we do know is that 223,000 GPUs is about 100 times as many GPUs as what all of Micro Center received for the Radeon RX 6600 XT launch. And this was just one mining firm selling off some of its hardware. Based on the Ethereum network hashrate, it would take five million GeForce RTX 3090 cards to power the network; ten million GPUs like the RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 Ti, or RX 6800/RX 6800 XT/RX 6900 XT; or 20 million GPUs like the RX 6600 XT and RX 580 8GB. Small wonder GPU prices remain inflated.