Here’s a fun bit of trivia: which company runs the largest cloud computing network for rendering graphics? Is it Pixar, whose 24,000-core-data center qualifies as one of the world’s top supercomputers? Or Amazon Web Services, with an estimated 4.1 million servers? Or perhaps Microsoft, with more servers than Apple(bees)?
The answer might be: none of the above. RNDR, a blockchain-based platform for decentralized computing, now claims that its distributed network of Graphics Processing Units constitutes the largest cloud network of its kind. In a press release issued today, the company stated that its network “Top[s] the cumulative capacity of all GPU instances from major public cloud providers,” including Amazon and Microsoft.
The data were based on a survey, taken during RNDR’s beta testing. Based on responses from 1,200 individuals, the survey found that users are contributing 14,000 GPUs to the network, for a combined rendering power of 1.5 million OctaneBench. OctaneBench is a GPU benchmarking unit created by OTOY to measure rendering power; according to OTOY’s website, 100 OctaneBench refers to the processing power of a single GTX 980 graphics card.
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RNDR is a blockchain network launched by OTOY, a centralized rendering service whose computing power has been used for productions like Star Wars, Avatar and Westworld. OTOY has also partnered with Facebook to provide post-processing tools for the Manifold camera, and with Unity to provide enhanced cinematic graphics to game developers.
However, centralized cloud services are limited by the amount of hardware they own, and OTOY soon alighted on another step for expansion—peer-to-peer GPU networks. “Currently less than 1% of the world’s GPU power is accessible to creators,” RNDR’s Head of Blockchain, Kalin Stoyanchev, told Forbes back in May, adding:
By harnessing the wasted, idle computing power of millions, with no expense in terms of hardware, we will have access to much more computing power, at a more affordable cost to creators, with the utmost security of their digital assets ownership.
By putting rendering jobs on a blockchain-based network of idle GPUs, the company says that it can produce high-quality visuals faster and more cheaply than traditional rendering farms. The network, which launched in beta earlier this year, allows anyone to “rent” their idle processing power in exchange for Render tokens—creating an effective peer-to-peer graphics network without the overhead costs of centralized services.
“We have been working for quite some time now to build the RNDR network and have reached unprecedented levels in cloud computing, putting us at the top with the largest tech companies in the world,” said Jules Urbach, CEO of OTOY. “Our vision when we first began this journey was to scale and democratize rendering, creating more efficient processes and to reach not only high-power Hollywood studios, but also everyday content creators who might not otherwise have access to this technology.”
RNDR is currently in beta testing, with a full release expected sometime this year.
The author is not invested in RNDR, but does hold other digital assets.