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AMD Seems To Be Preparing New Blockchain GPU For Cryptomining

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Linux news outlet Phoronix has spotted a couple of Linux patches that allude to an unreleased AMD blockchain graphics card for cryptocurrency mining. The description refers to a "navi10 blockchain SKU," implying that the Navi 10 silicon is at the heart of this new graphics card.

The blockchain graphics card in question presently lacks one of AMD's fishy codenames and carries a device ID that corresponds to 0x731E. As Phoronix noted, the major difference between this mysterious blockchain graphics and your normal Navi 10 offering is that the Display Core Next (DCN) and Video Core Next (VCN) engines are disabled. The lack of support indicates that the graphics card will likely arrive without any display outputs.

The Navi 10 silicon is based on AMD's RDNA 1.0 architecture, and it's a product of TSMC's 7nm FinFET manufacturing process. Checking in with a die size of 251 mm², Navi 10 houses up to 10,300 million transistors. Overall, the Navi 10 die houses 40 Compute Units (CUs), totaling to 2,560 Stream Processors (SPs). 

AMD Navi 10 Graphics Cards

Graphics CardGPUStream ProcessorsBase / Game / Boost Clock (MHz)Memory CapacityMemory Speed (Gbps)Memory BusMemory Bandwidth (GBps)TDP (W)
Radeon RX 5700 XTNavi 10 XT2,5601,605 / 1,755 / 1,9058GB GDDR614256-bit448225
Radeon RX 5700Navi 10 XL2,3041,465 / 1,625 / 1,7258GB GDDR614256-bit448180
Radeon RX 5600 XTNavi 10 XLE2,3041,130 / 1,375 / 1,5606GB GDDR612192-bit288150
Radeon RX 5600Navi 10 XE2,0481,130 / 1,375 / 1,5606GB GDDR612192-bit288150

At present, AMD uses the Navi 10 silicon for four of its Radeon gaming graphics cards, including their corresponding Pro and mobile variants. The Navi 10 XT and Navi 10 XL power the Radeon RX 5700 XT and Radeon RX 5700, respectively. Meanwhile, the Navi 10 XLE gives life to the Radeon RX 5600 XT, while the Navi 10 XE resides in the Radeon RX 5600. It's uncertain if AMD's Navi 10 blockchain graphics card will take after one of its mainstream models, or appear as a completely different animal.

According to Phoronix, the timings of the patches probably means that this Navi 10 blockchain graphics card won't debut until early next year. AMD's idea seems sound because it would discourage cryptominers from buying out the chipmaker's mainstream graphics card. Not that it matters, given that Navi-powered parts are still widely available.

Alternatively, AMD could just be getting rid of leftover Navi silicon as the chipmaker will be announcing the new Radeon RX 6000-series graphics cards next week that will leverage Navi 2x dies.

Navi might be more energy-efficient than Vega or Polaris, but we're unsure if the cryptomining performance is there. The latter are dead-cheap nowadays, so a Navi-based model might not be enough to win cryptominers over. Furthermore, cryptomining has shifted away from graphics cards, and the emergence of custom-tailored ASIC miners have practically replaced them. Nonetheless, it still depends on the type of cryptocurrency you're into since certain algorithms still heavily favor the graphics card.  

  • watzupken
    While I hate to say this, but the mining market is certainly more lucrative than the gaming market. After all, miners need a lot of GPUs at one go if they are utilizing GPUs for mining. If Nvidia has got a stranglehold of the gaming market, at least AMD is still able to sell their GPUs to a secondary market if required.
    Reply
  • Deano_AlpacaMaster
    As an actual crypto miner, I might be interested in these mining dedicated GPU cards.
    NVIDIA made some of these a couple years ago (the P102 and P104 cards), and they are still used by some crypto miners (not me). I have a couple of rigs full of Radeon 5700XT GPU's and they are reasonably solid and decent cards. They crunch a decent amount of hashes and are also fairly efficient in terms of hash vs. power consumption. For crypto miners that's the secret sauce, and I tune my GPU cards down (main and memory clock rate and mem and core voltages) to squeeze all the hashing performance per watt out of my GPU's.
    If AMD were to make a version of these 5700XT cards with all of the video and display portions of the card disabled and no display ports, I would certainly try one out and put it on my test rig and see what kind of hashing performance per watt I can tune it to. If it was competitive with the 5700XT's I already have I'd probably buy a rig or two full of them and run the heck out of them. They would likely be less expensive than 5700XT "gaming cards", so that would be a plus.
    Reply
  • Olle P
    Deano_AlpacaMaster said:
    As an actual crypto miner, I might be interested in these mining dedicated GPU cards.
    ... Radeon 5700XT GPU's ... are also fairly efficient in terms of hash vs. power consumption. ...
    Do you think some optimised drivers could improve performance even further?
    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    As a crytpo miner myself, I wouldn't be interested in these cards. You can't resell them to gamers when their hash rate becomes economically unfeasible. I've seen so many people get burned with 480 and 580 4GB mining cards. They are essentially paper weights without the video engine chips installed now that the DAG size for ETH has exceeded 4GB. Moreover, they are usually not that much cheaper than the gaming versions, so what's the point?
    Reply
  • Clarence_Darrow
    jasonelmore said:
    As a crytpo miner myself, I wouldn't be interested in these cards. You can't resell them to gamers when their hash rate becomes economically unfeasible. I've seen so many people get burned with 480 and 580 4GB mining cards. They are essentially paper weights without the video engine chips installed now that the DAG size for ETH has exceeded 4GB. Moreover, they are usually not that much cheaper than the gaming versions, so what's the point?
    You make a good point - I am a crypto miner as well, and the resale value of GPUs I purchase is a factor in my decision to buy. I use mostly Polaris and Navi cards - (Eth mining) I only purchased Polaris cards with 8gb VRAM, knowing the DAG size would eventually become an issue. Frankly, the Polaris cards have been so reliable I will probably just mine them until they burn out and not bother trying to resell them. I make sure temps/voltage are as low as possible and repaste problem cards. I am very curious to see what kind of performance I can get out of these alleged new mining Navi10 cards. Whether or not I buy them will depend on how much better the numbers are. Knowing that I can fairly easily liquidate GPUs on the secondary gaming market is very reassuring to my accounting ledger. This is especially true when once considers the volatility of the cryptocurrency market. Mining cards and ASIC miners become, as you put it, paper weights if for whatever reason mining is no longer viable. Quite concerning if a miner finds themselves having to liquidate hardware due to market forces.

    My 5700/5700XT rigs are all performing very well. Some of my MSI cards are running hot memory temps, but that is due to MSI putting substandard thermal pads on their cheaper models. The ones I replace show noticeable reductions in temp and fan speed. Long-term viability of the cards still remains to be seen, the 5700s havent been out nearly as long as the Polaris cards.

    As an aside, my favorite GPU is the Radeon VII - I've got them undervolted and running very cool, hashing about 90ish. Too expensive to buy them now.
    Reply
  • neojack
    dual gpu for the new Navi 10 ? did i read well ?
    since crossfire is dead (software based with drivers), it would mean it's hardware based this time ? so OS-agnostic ?

    if it's a really dual GPU card that the OS sees as only one adapter but double the power, that would be very interesting on water
    Reply
  • jkflipflop98
    At this point, you need a dedicated ASIC for mining. Anything else is going to cost you more than you make.
    Reply
  • zodiacfml
    Yep, sell the cards as single dvi-d port with a price similar as the Navi 10s?!🙄
    They could take the 5600 GPU but have the memory found in the 5700 so that a GPU mining card only costs slightly above a 5600 XT GPU. However, unlikely for them to do that pricing since the parts essentially makes 5700 so they'd sell no less than a 5700. This is the reason why there's no good Mining card that has existed yet
    Reply