GPU sales to automotive companies helped buoy Nvidia's record quarter, becoming its largest enterprise vertical.

The company this week reported total data center sales of $22.6 billion, up 427 percent over last year.

Nvidia office
– Sebastian Moss

While cloud providers are the largest single purchaser of data center GPUs, with sales representing "the mid-40s as a percentage of data center revenue," enterprise sales grew in the quarter.

"We expect automotive to be our largest enterprise vertical within data center this year, driving a multibillion revenue opportunity across on-prem and cloud consumption," Nvidia CFO Colette Kress said in an earnings call.

"Video Transformers, while consuming significantly more computing, are enabling dramatically better autonomous driving capabilities and propelling significant growth for Nvidia AI infrastructure across the automotive industry."

In particular, the company highlighted beleaguered electric vehicle firm Tesla, noting that Nvidia "supported Tesla's expansion of their training AI cluster to 35,000 H100 GPUs."

Tesla revealed last month that it had 35,000 Nvidia H100 GPU "equivalents" in operation, but Kress' comments seem to confirm that the number is actually H100s.

"Their use of Nvidia AI infrastructure paved the way for the breakthrough performance of FSD Version 12, their latest autonomous driving software based on Vision."

Despite cuts to its supercharger network and wider employee base, Tesla is continuing to invest in its data center infrastructure - which is key to its promises of full self-driving technology.

Earlier this week, CEO Elon Musk confirmed that an extension to the company's Giga Texas factory would include a "super dense, water-cooled supercomputer cluster" - although in April it was revealed that the data center was behind schedule.

The company is also looking to expand its data center footprint in China beyond its existing site in Singapore. The new facility would be used for training self-driving data in the country, where it would need to work with a local partner.