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Hong Kong Customs Busts GPU Smugglers, Seizes 300 Nvidia CMP 30HX GPUs

Nvidia CMP 30HX
Nvidia CMP 30HX (Image credit: TVB News Channel)

Graphics cards, more specifically Nvidia's Cryptocurrency Mining Processor (CMP), are the new commodity among Chinese smugglers. TVB News reported that the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department busted a smuggling ring and recovered up to 300 CMP 30HX graphics cards.

The story seems like it came out of a movie. The Chinese authorities detected a suspicious fishing boat anchored just outside the Hong Kong International Airport. The sea smugglers were loading boxes from the fishing boat to a speedboat at 2 am. When their cover was blown, the shady men hopped on the speedboat and sped away towards mainland waters. A high-speed boat chase ensued (insert Bourne chase music), but the astute gang got away. However, the officers managed to detain the owner of the fishing boat.

The confiscated goods included typical exotic foods, such as sea cucumbers and shark fins, and tech products, like smartphones and computer gadgets. Much to the authorities' surprise, there were up to 300 unidentified graphics cards inside the boxes. According to the report, the lot of tech products is valued at HK$2 million (~$257,000).

The graphics cards lack branding or stickers that can provide a clue to their origins. Given the lack of display outputs, these graphics cards are unquestionably CMP offerings. They feature a black and grey cooler with two cooling fans. The pricing for Nvidia's CMP graphics cards remains a mystery, but we've seen the CMP 30HX hit the overseas market for as much as $723. With an estimated Ethereum hash rate up to 26 MH/s, the CMP 30HX isn't even that good for mining Ethereum. However, the graphics card shortage is likely affecting cryptocurrency miners as well, so they'll jump on any opportunity to make a profit. Besides, a contraband CMP 30HX is more affordable than buying directly from Nvidia or its partners.

With Ethereum's value soaring through the roof, there is a strong demand for graphics cards. Even the big corporations are getting in on the fun. Hut 8 Mining Corp. recently purchased up to $30 Million of Nvidia CMP graphics cards. Sadly, there are no signs of when the suffering will end for gamers.

  • lazyabum
    How do I get one, with the Display ports added ? What a waste.
    Reply
  • escksu
    Lol.... Back then they smuggle drugs, now they smuggle gpus!!
    Reply
  • velocityg4
    I guess you can say. Bitcoin mining wasn’t in the cards for them.
    Reply
  • LolaGT
    It is likely a little more complicated than just needing ports added to the board. There might be traces still in the board, but likely not components in line that are needed for outputting a display signal.
    I'm not a tech though, so don't really know, I only guessing. It would be sad to think a bunch of these might end up in a landfill or scrapped in a couple years when they would still have years of life left in them potentially.

    lazyabum said:
    How do I get one, with the Display ports added ? What a waste.
    Reply
  • Incipient
    "Sadly, there are no signs of when the suffering will end for gamers."

    That is objectively not correct. When eth moves to PoS there is a strong sign demand from miners will drop off, at least at the current price point. The next best altcoin is about half as profitable as eth, and that's before the massive hash rate moves from eth!
    Reply
  • Giroro
    LolaGT said:
    It is likely a little more complicated than just needing ports added to the board. There might be traces still in the board, but likely not components in line that are needed for outputting a display signal.
    I'm not a tech though, so don't really know, I only guessing. It would be sad to think a bunch of these might end up in a landfill or scrapped in a couple years when they would still have years of life left in them potentially.

    It depends on how lazy Nvidia was when "redesigning" a GTX 1660S reference board into a mining card. My guess is "very lazy".
    It's pretty likely to be the same leftover boards, with some parts left unpopulated.
    Nvidia could just populate those missing parts and sell the cards to gamers... but I think they are enjoying the part of all this where people in the market for a $200 card are now forced into desperately paying $1100+ for a $600 card with a $700 (reference) MSRP. They have no incentive to even attempt to serve the low/mid range for at least the rest of the year.

    The funny thing is I actually managed to get a 6900 XT direct from AMD for MSRP. I don't even want this card, but that was the page that I misclicked on first when AMD restocked. I guess it's just the card I have to use now. Maybe I'll finally get DLSS, better encoders, and usable ray tracing in a 2-3 generations when I feel like I've gotten $1000 worth of use out of this toy.
    It's just sitting on my desk; I can't decide if I should open it or sell it or what. It's not like I could trade it for an RTX 3080, because those are priced way higher right now.
    The cat is out of the bag now. I doubt Nvidia's board partners are ever going to charge less than $1,000 for a 3080, even after stock stabilizes. I'm also quite sure that the 3000 Super/ 4000 series will have much higher starting prices when they eventually come around. Midrange gaming is going to be dead for the next several years, if not longer.
    Reply
  • Heat_Fan89
    escksu said:
    Lol.... Back then they smuggle drugs, now they smuggle gpus!!
    At least no one has been found stuffing them in their orifice.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    Giroro said:
    It's pretty likely to be the same leftover boards, with some parts left unpopulated.
    Nvidia could just populate those missing parts and sell the cards to gamers...
    Between the ESD protection diodes and all of the tiny filter components, this is easier said than done on a board that has already been soldered, probably not worth Nvidia's time especially for GPUs it has already been paid for.
    Reply
  • LolaGT
    I was more kind of more musing when these are common in the wild if some tech junkies will pick one up and see if they can get it to function.
    No one ever believed nvidia would redo them to function as gpus, no reason for them to, they are getting paid for not doing that.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    LolaGT said:
    I was more kind of more musing when these are common in the wild if some tech junkies will pick one up and see if they can get it to function.
    There is no point in third-parties bothering with it either: provided Nvidia didn't go so far as completely disable all video output capabilities from firmware or prevent it from being used for 3D, you can skip the need to painstakingly install all of those 0201 components by hand by simply routing video output through the IGP or a secondary GPU as people have done with previous "mining" cards.
    Reply