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Nvidia Repurposes Turing Silicon For CMP Crypto-Mining GPUs

Nvidia CMP
Nvidia CMP (Image credit: Nvidia)

In an attempt to relieve some of its Ampere stock, Nvidia recently introduced the Cryptocurrency Mining Processor (CMP) product line that specifically targets Ethereum mining. While the chipmaker was reluctant to share more details, the truth has come to light in the latest GeForce Game Ready 461.72 WHQL driver.

When Nvidia launched CMP, the chipmaker was firm on the fact that it wouldn't impact the supply of its GeForce gaming graphics cards. Since CMP was designed to solve the cryptocurrency mining situation with Ampere, it would make sense that the graphics cards were based on older silicon. VideoCardz dug into the 461.72 driver and discovered that the device IDs for the 30HX and 40HX are closely related to Turing.

There were little clues that suggested that CMP wasn't based on Ampere from the start. For one, the CMP units presented higher power consumption with much lower hash rates. Furthermore, the some of the SKUs, such as the 30HX and 40HX resembled the GeForce GTX 1660 Super and GeForce RTX 2070, respectively, in terms of memory capacity, power draw, power connectors and hash rate performance. Therefore, it's very plausible that the 30HX is based on the TU116 silicon, while the 40HX is built around the TU106 silicon.

Nvidia CMP Specifications

Model30HXGeForce GTX 1660 Super (TU116)40HXGeForce RTX 2070 (TU106)50HXGeForce RTX 2080 Ti (TU102)90HXGeForce RTX 3080 (GA102)
Ethereum Hash Rate26 MH/s26 MH/s*36 MH/s37 MH/s*45 MH/s50 MH/s*86 MH/s98 MH/s*
Rated Power125W125W185W175W250W250W320W320W
Power Connectors1 x 8-pin1 x 8-pin1 x 8-pin1 x 8-pin2 x 8-pin2 x 8-pin2 x 8-pin2 x 8-pin
Memory Size6GB6GB8GB8GB10GB11GB10GB10GB
Starting AvailabilityQ1N/AQ1 N/AQ2Q2Q2N/A

*Data from Minerstat

On the other hand, the 50HX and 90HX won't be available until the second quarter of this year so these two models aren't in Nvidia's driver yet. However, we have some suspicions that that the 50HX may be using the TU102 silicon, which is the one that powers the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. The 50HX appears to be a lower clocked version of the past flagship with 1GB less memory.

The 90HX seems to take after the GeForce RTX 3080. If so, it would be the only CMP device to leverage the Ampere silicon, more specifically the GA102. Our take is that Nvidia is probably recycling defective GA102 dies that don't meet the specifications for the GeForce RTX 3080 or RTX 3090 and sticking them into the 90HX. It's a great way to maximize yields after all.

GeForce Game Ready 461.72 WHQL driver (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Reutilizing Turing to cushion Ampere's shortages is a good idea given that Turing is still on TSMC's older 12nm process node. Additionally, it'd allow Nvidia to dump leftover Turing silicon. Since Nvidia tapped into Samsung's 8nm process node for Ampere, CMP production has no impact on its latest GeForce gaming graphics cards. But whether CMP can convince cryptocurrency miners to lay off Ampere is another question.

There is still a lot that we don't know about Nvidia's CMP offerings though. Since CMP is based on Turing, there should be headroom for hash rate optimization. It will be interesting to see whether Nvidia will put a lock on CMP's performance like it did with the GeForce RTX 3060. More importantly, we'll need to look at the pricing for CMP because if it isn't priced right, cryptocurrency miners would just continue to scavenge GeForce products instead.