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Nvidia Mulls Restarting Cryptomining GPU Production

Asus
(Image credit: Future)

Nvidia is thinking about beginning production of crypto-mining specific Ampere graphics cards that come without display outputs, but first, it needs to find out whether there's enough mining demand for the latest graphics processors. 

"If crypto demand begins or if we see a meaningful amount, we can also use that opportunity to restart the CMP [mining-specific GPUs] product line to address ongoing mining demand," said Colette Kress, chief financial officer at Nvidia, at the 19th Annual J.P. Morgan Tech/Auto Forum Conference (via SeekingAlpha). 

Demand for gaming graphics cards, high-performance processors, and game consoles has exceeded supply for months as people spend more time at home and entertain themselves playing the latest game titles. Cryptocurrency valuations have skyrocketed recently, reactivating miners who rushed to get graphics cards, further increasing demand for GPUs. Nvidia has had a hard time understanding how demand from cryptominers affects its current sales, but it is mulling restarting the production of mining-specific graphics cards. 

"We don't have visibility on how much of the GeForce RTX 30-series end demand comes from mining," said Kress. "So, we don't believe it's a big part of our business today. Gaming demand is very strong, and we think that's larger than our current supply." 

It doesn't always make a lot of sense to mine Bitcoins using Nvidia's latest GPUs, which tend to be pretty expensive. There are special accelerators designed for Bitcoin mining, and those ASICs tend to be considerably more efficient than graphics processors. In contrast, GPUs are used to mine Ethereum, which has been gaining price in recent weeks, just like Bitcoin. 

Since demand for Nvidia's products has generally been high in recent months, it isn't easy for Nvidia to understand how significantly cryptominers affect this demand, especially keeping in mind the fact that select makers of graphics boards have mined cryptocurrency at their own facilities before releasing these cards to the market.  

It is beneficial for Nvidia to clearly understand how many of its GPUs are needed by cryptominers. Since miners only need compute capabilities of a GPU, they do not need display outputs, and they do not care if the GPU they use comes with disabled texture mapping units or lacks video processing capabilities. As a result, Nvidia can sell them graphics processors that would otherwise go to waste. Those come in the form of the aforementioned CMP GPUs. 

But before making such chips available to add-in-board (AIB) manufacturers, GPU designers need to figure out the total available market that they are trying to address so they don't bin chips that aren't needed. Before that happens, GPU developers may just enjoy additional demand for their products.          

  • Phaaze88
    Due to what the past already taught us:
    The mining specific cards have worse resale value via the lack of display options, and the low power optimized Vbios.
    While that latter part isn't as bad as the former, most people aren't too keen on messing around with Vbios flashing to get it to work like the original model...

    It's just going to make more e-waste. Besides, the smart miners won't buy them because they'd already know the above.
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    Yeah, I hate the idea of dedicated cryptomining cards because:
    They can only be used for mining (no display outputs)
    Miners will still buy non-mining cards if neededIt guarantees some percentage of chips go to mining cards but does nothing to stop miners from grabbing other cards. And frankly, unless the mining SKUs are actually provably better for mining, or at least cheaper, who cares?
    Reply
  • Chung Leong
    Why bother with mining when you can create cryptocurrency at will? How many people are buying Bitcoins to for business transactions after all?
    Reply
  • jkflipflop98
    Chung Leong said:
    How many people are buying Bitcoins to for business transactions after all?

    That's why most people view this Bitcoin explosion as simple Tulip Mania. Bitcoins don't mean anything. They have no actual value backing by anything. No real company uses Bitcoins for anything. They use dollars. Portland here is one of the most "bitcoin friendly" places to do business and I've seen one single place that takes them - a taco truck.

    Can you use them to buy coke and hookers over the internet? Yup. But that's about as far as the actual usable value goes. Other than simply trading them back and forth, of course.
    Reply
  • korekan
    i think nvidia should restrict cryptomining or use AI chip to slow the cryptomining in consumer VGA. so they only bought the specific VGA for them
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    JarredWaltonGPU said:
    Yeah, I hate the idea of dedicated cryptomining cards because:
    They can only be used for mining (no display outputs)
    Miners will still buy non-mining cards if neededIt guarantees some percentage of chips go to mining cards but does nothing to stop miners from grabbing other cards. And frankly, unless the mining SKUs are actually provably better for mining, or at least cheaper, who cares?
    Ever since windows 10 you can reroute your output as long as you already have any output, so any intel CPU any AMD APU on a mobo with video out or any old GPU as long as it works.
    _rxFxdvO3fQView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rxFxdvO3fQ

    JarredWaltonGPU said:
    or at least cheaper, who cares?
    If they have a low power optimized Vbios as stated above that would make them cheaper to operate which is the big deal with mining anyway.
    Reply
  • Olle P
    Article said:
    ... understand how many of its GPUs are needed by cryptominers.
    Cryptominers need as many as they can fit within their physical limits (space and power draw).

    jkflipflop98 said:
    ... Bitcoins don't mean anything. ... No real company uses Bitcoins for anything. They use dollars. ...
    As of right now many major investors move from USD to BTC since FED water down the USD to finance all the pandemic aid programs. That's why BTC is valued so high.
    Reply
  • King_V
    jkflipflop98 said:
    Can you use them to buy coke and hookers over the internet? Yup. But that's about as far as the actual usable value goes.

    Don't underestimate the Coke And Hookers market. :LOL:


    EDIT: but, on a more serious note:
    Since miners only need compute capabilities of a GPU, they do not need display outputs, and they do not care if the GPU they use comes with disabled texture mapping units or lacks video processing capabilities. As a result, Nvidia can sell them graphics processors that would otherwise go to waste.

    So, if there are chips that could not be used for a proper GPU, but the miners could use them, then I'm all for this. Let the miners buy the chips that couldn't be used for gaming.

    I still don't like the whole concept of cryptocurrency/cryptominig, but it seems like this strategy might slightly reduce the mining drain on the supply of regular GPUs.
    Reply
  • Phaaze88
    King_V said:
    So, if there are chips that could not be used for a proper GPU, but the miners could use them, then I'm all for this. Let the miners buy the chips that couldn't be used for gaming.

    I still don't like the whole concept of cryptocurrency/cryptominig, but it seems like this strategy might slightly reduce the mining drain on the supply of regular GPUs.
    Still need to solve the problem of e-waste and resale.
    Once the boom crashes, they will be looking to sell off all their used cards for some extra bank. Mining dedicated cards will not sell as well - if at all - compared to their gaming counterparts.
    They'll just end up throwing the mining-centric cards away, and will be cautious of buying such cards in the future.
    It's a stop-gap at best.
    Reply
  • jkflipflop98
    You guys aren't thinking far enough on this one. If they make a mining-specific ASIC, then it won't compute graphics at all. There won't be a flood of banged-out claptrap GPUs flooding the market because they aren't GPUs to begin with.

    If Nvidia starts selling mining asics that can crunch hashes 2x-4x faster than a GPU, they could charge $10k a pop for them and it wouldn't affect the gaming GPU market at all.
    Reply