A fully "certified and tested" $14,800 ASRock cryptomining server made in collaboration between ASRock and AMD has been spotted by Twitter's Komachi. Most interestingly, the system features twelve AMD BC-250 APUs that push it to a surprisingly powerful 610 MH/s. What are these APUs? The Twitter tipster thinks they might be PS5 "Oberon" processor cast-offs, and we, too, have heard the same story from a source familiar with the matter. This all means that AMD has apparently found yet another use for its defective PS5 silicon in addition to the AMD 4700S we reviewed.
ASRock is one of the most cryptomining-friendly PC and components makers, alongside Biostar. Perusing its site, you will find crypto-purposed motherboards as part of its BTC+ series and useful accessories and guides to getting started in cryptomining. However, it makes crypto mining servers too and sells barebones and fully populated servers to favored customers.
Komachi highlighted one of ASRock's mining rigs for sale in Slovenia. Described as an "ASRock Mining Rig Barebone 610 Mhs 12x AMD BC-250," the system is listed at €13,499, or approximately $14,800. The advert says that what is up for sale is a "quality computer for cryptocurrency mining operations with a guarantee made by a recognized manufacturer ASRock." It goes on to claim that the certified and tested system is the result of "cooperation between AMD and ASRock."
The ASRock mining rig listing shows the system from a number of angles. From the top-down view, you can see twelve PCI cards lined up with no obvious branding. The listing says these are "12 x AMD BC-250 mining APU passive design," meaning each board houses a PS5 APU. Elsewhere in the server is 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, five cooling fans, and a pair of 1200W power supplies.
You will note that there is no system CPU listed. However, one of the PS5 APUs may have working CPU cores used for general processing and housekeeping duties. This theory tallies with the 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, which is how the Sony PlayStation 5 is configured.
Some other details of this ready-to-roll cryptomining system are that it can hit approximately 610 MH/s when mining Ethereum (ETH). For reference, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 can mine ETH at approx 120 MH/s while consuming 300W. (It's the only GPU from Nvidia that isn't locked via the LHR limiter these days, along with the newly launched GeForce RTX 3090 Ti.)
A quick check of US stores, and we see RTX 3090 cards available at $2,200. To match the performance of the ASRock server, you will need about five of these cards ($11,000) plus other components, like powerful GPUs that ensure 1500w for the GPUs alone.
The AMD BC-250 appears to be a known entity in the cryptomining world. For example, an ETH mining profitability calculator site in Norway lists a single BC-250 as being capable of just over 50 MH/s, which tallies with the ASRock server advert (12 x 50 MH/s = 600 MH/s). It adds that running one of these APUs in a mining capacity will make about $3 a day, depending on your electricity costs and the ever-changing value of ETH.
AMD 4700S and 4800S Desktop Kits Sidelined?
Rather than surplus PS5 APUs being used in cryptomining, some would prefer these APUs with active and working RDNA2 graphics cores were used in the AMD 4700S and A4800S Desktop Kits or similar.
Despite recent valuation gains, ETH mining is increasingly difficult, taking the edge off its attractiveness to GPU miners. Moreover, it is expected to transition to Proof of Stake in the coming months, making investments like $14,800 in the headlining ASRock cryptomining rig seem nonsensical.