Hungarian publication PROHARDVER (opens in new tab) has uncovered XFX's crafty strategy to put AMD Radeon Instinct accelerators into the hands of Chinese HPC customers. While the graphics cards can function as mining products, they actually serve a higher purpose.
The whole show started with an obscure Navi 22 graphics card that recently emerged in China. For starters, it had all the traits of a Radeon Instinct accelerator, including the passive cooling system and location of the PCIe power connectors. However, the anonymous user provided a screenshot of the graphics card mining Ethereum, leading many to believe that the Navi 22 device was a mining product. This raised many questions, because mining graphics cards are typically installed in racks and require their own cooling. The Navi 22 graphics card hit 92 degress Celsius during mining.
According to PROHARDVER, the Navi 22 graphics card in question is a custom-made model that XFX is selling to HPC consumers in China. The final assembly, which includes internal components and the passive cooler, is allegedly done in Vietnam to circumvent U.S. restrictions on technology exports to China. Radeon Instinct accelerators are reportedly on the blacklist, so customers and vendors had to get creative.
PROHARDVER claims that China previously obtained AMD's accelerators through Middle Eastern countries. However, the U.S. was quick to detect that route and closed it down. Consequently, AMD's partners are allegedly utilizing Vietnam to put in their orders. The scheme supposedly consists of AMD shipping the GPUs to a store in Vietnam, where the factories put everything together before shipping the accelerators to Chinese HPC projects. The Hungarian news outlet believes that the U.S is aware of the new route and will likely find a way to block it in the near future.