A turning point in fate?Dedicated GPU and SSD to help crypto miners

After a good start this year, the crypto market entered a bearish period in mid-May, leading some people to reassess their position on some fundamentals of the crypto industry.

Bitcoin’s long-term decline (Bitcoin) — More than 50% — and subsequent Difficulty of mining decreased 16%, suspected part is caused by news China intends to take tough measures Against crypto mining and trading, and Tesla’s decision Stop accepting Bitcoin as payment For its electric vehicles, this proved to be a turning point, bringing the criticism of cryptocurrencies to a new level.

In this context, some commentators and crypto enthusiasts began to talk about the possible end of the mining era. Or is this just a new beginning, a way for the industry to reinvent itself and use new solutions to appease the growing number of stakeholders?

Hardware shortage and price growth

The first bell actually rang in February this year, when GPU card buyers, whether they were miners or gamers, began to talk about There is a severe shortage of available cards, Resulting in excessively high prices.

For example, in the United States, some models of cards have increased in price by 120%. However, it should be noted that the lack of components that make up the video card played an important role in this price increase. not to mention, Global supply chain slowdown Behind the COVID-19 restrictions, it will only exacerbate the already dire situation.

In view of the spread of hysteria surrounding the shortage of GPU card supply, miners are looking for alternative ways to mine cryptocurrency because New cryptocurrencies have appeared, such as Chia (XCH)Mining this cryptocurrency requires the use of solid-state drives (SSD), which are used to store user data on personal computers and are several times cheaper than GPU cards.

Chia uses the available space on device storage, and the more gigabytes available, the faster this cryptocurrency can be mined.In addition, Bram Cohen, the creator of Chia Network, believes that his cryptocurrency is Environmental protection Compared with others, because hard drives consume much less power than GPU cards, it means less harm to the environment.Of course, critics quickly pointed out a major shortcoming of this strategy, arguing that the service life of this equipment Reduced to only 80-160 days, Which means that it must be constantly processed in exchange for new things.

In addition to alternatives to GPU cards, the emergence of Chia inevitably led to a shortage of storage devices and an increase in prices.In China, as early as April, consumers it has started Buy hard drives with a capacity of 4-18 TB, and SSDs are also very popular. In Hong Kong, this excitement immediately triggered an increase in the price of these components; depending on the model, the cost increased by US$25 to US$75.

Combat miner

After the price increase, GPU card manufacturers began to actively defend against crypto miners in February.Nvidia took the lead in launching an attack, trying to prevent mining in the following ways freed The special driver 470.05 for its RTX 3060 card is widely used to mine ether (Ethereum).However, the block does not work in most cases because the miners Bypass It uses an inexpensive HDMI port plug to simulate the operation of the display.

Failed attempts to limit the performance of GPU cards forced Nvidia to try to use hardware blocks. At the end of May, the company Announced a series of GPU cards called GeForce RTX 30 Lite Hash Rate. GeForce RTX 30 LHR series includes 3060, 3060 Ti, 3070 and 3080 series of graphics cards.

The mining protection on these cards is implemented at the hardware level: when mining Ether, the performance is reduced by half, and the overall mining efficiency is reduced by more than 50%. The sales start time is scheduled for late May to early June, but the company has not yet released the product.

Nvidia’s partners have also joined the initiative freed The GeForce RTX 30 LHR graphics card belongs to its own brand, and Zotac is one of the best. These cards are distinguished by a new label so that buyers can distinguish the cards when they buy them. There are letters “GE” or “G” in the name of the anti-mining card, such as Zotac RTX 3060-12GD6 Destroyer GE Pro.

In addition, at the end of May, PC manufacturer Asus Registered The v2 series GPU card in cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission. Most likely, this is how the company labels LHR models that have hardware and software protections for Ether mining.

It is worth noting that, as Nvidia’s only major competitor in the GPU card market, AMD has yet to make any response to its competitors’ attempts to restore the price of game cards to their previous prices. The company has announced that it has no plans to make special anti-mining modifications to its accelerator.At the same time, the company Say The computing power of mining cryptocurrencies will not be restricted, so that users can decide what to use the computing power of GPUs.

Two player game

After depriving crypto miners of the right to use game cards, NVIDIA also provide Miners provide alternatives in the form of a series of CMP HX accelerators. These products are specifically for mining, which is manifested in the presence of a special encrypted mining processor (CMP) and no external interface at all. In other words, it is simply impossible to connect a monitor to them-therefore, it cannot be used for games.

ASUS CMP 40HX will be able to provide mining efficiency of up to 43.77 trillion hashes per second, while the official figure announced by NVIDIA is 36 MH/s. The 21% increase in computing power is due to the optimization of the graphics card’s memory and power consumption.

It is expected that the dedicated mining card CMP 40HX will go on sale before the end of the first quarter of this year. Like all other dedicated graphics card models in the CMP HX series, they will be distributed by NVIDIA partners.ASUS is the first company to announce the possible price of such a card: CMP 40HX may cost $699, while the younger model CMP 30HX, its mining effectiveness It is 26 MH/s, which is about US$599.

AMD is also preparing a new GPU specifically designed for cryptocurrency mining. These cards will be based on Navi 10 and Navi 12 Bargaining chip, Which will be able to mine ether. AMD stated that the new GPUs will be released without VCN and Display Core Next DCN technology, which will prevent them from streaming video to the display, again rendering them useless to gamers.

Other well-known manufacturers of mining equipment did not stand by.Subrent Announce At the end of May, PlotRipper SSD was sold to Chia Coin miners. The main advantage of the new SSDs is their larger capacity, which will gradually be used as the drive wears out. The PlotRipper and PlotRipper Pro models contain 4TB and 8TB NAND chips, respectively.

Has the end of crypto mining been cancelled?

It is understandable that manufacturers want to separate their mining cards from game cards, especially when the company encounters production resource problems and damages its image in the process.

But in any production, it is mainly demand, which generates income. At the end of the first quarter of 2021, NVIDIA Made $155 million Sales revenue of GPUs specifically designed for cryptocurrency mining. In the second quarter of this fiscal year, it is expected to generate $400 million.

related: The top crypto mining hardware expected in 2021

AMD also released the first quarter report Revenue growth was amazing, with a year-on-year increase of 93% to US$3.45 billion. Management explained this dynamic through the surge in demand for consumer-grade Ryzen processors and Radeon graphics cards. The average selling price of CPU and graphics has been rising. In fact, the sales revenue and average price of client processors have reached record levels.