Word from the GPU grapevine is that Nvidia will soon be launching new dedicated graphics cards aimed at cryptocurrency miners. This might lead you to hope that pressure could be eased when it comes to miners pushing prices up by purchasing gaming GPUs. But sadly, we’re inclined to believe that may prove to be a false hope…
At any rate, the rumor from Crypto Mining Blog is that Nvidia is about to release new graphics cards based on the firm’s GP102 GPU (as used in the Titan X and Xp cards, and GeForce GTX 1080 Ti), with one specific board mentioned which is coming from Inno3D.
Apparently, this P102-100 mining GPU from Inno3D (pictured below) will run with 3,200 CUDA cores and a base clock speed of 1582MHz. It will have 5GB of GDDR5X video RAM and a TDP of 250W, and for cooling, will use dual-fans and five copper heat pipes.
As this is a dedicated cryptocurrency mining card, there won’t be any video outputs to connect the GPU up to a monitor. Therefore, these products are strictly for miners only.
The graphics card will be able to achieve mining hash rates of up to 47MH/s in Ethereum, and 879H/s when it comes to Monero, and the leak claims that this information comes directly from the manufacturer – although Inno3D doesn’t specify whether this is at stock clocks (as opposed to post-overclocking).
As expected, there is no indication of pricing at the moment, and that will obviously be a key talking point.
Once again, let’s underline the fact that this is speculation at this point, although the details provided by the blog concerning the spec of the purported Inno3D GPU are pretty in-depth.
If this graphics card does indeed emerge in the near future as indicated, can we then hope that this will be one of a number of fresh mining models with Nvidia GPUs? Likewise, hopefully their launch might help take the pressure off the huge demand for GeForce gaming GPUs that are currently being used for mining, pushing the prices of these cards up massively.
As we mentioned at the outset, while this is certainly a grand hope, the reality is probably very different. For starters, we have to consider that there’s a shortage of video memory affecting all GPU makers right now, and that isn’t predicted to ease until much later this year.
So, these new mining cards will still face the same issue as gaming-targeted GeForce GPUs: quite simply, there’s only so much memory to go around.
Secondly, from the chatter we’ve seen online, miners are still eyeing up GeForce models as a better overall value proposition than dedicated mining GPUs. One issue is resale value: a GeForce GTX card will carry its weight going forward in that respect, whereas a video card strictly for mining – with no possibility for usage anywhere else due to the lack of display outputs – has very limited resale prospects.
Finally, another apparent thorn is speculation about these mining cards’ pricing being pitched relatively high, so that GeForce cards may remain a more economical proposition anyway (particularly considering the aforementioned resale considerations).
This all comes together to suggest that miners may indeed buy these dedicated GPUs, but not ahead of GeForce models.
Price of profits
Naturally, a lot of this will depend on where Nvidia and third-party manufacturers pitch the price of these mining-specific offerings, and as they’re cut-down cards, we could hope for the best. But the reality is given the memory shortage and state of supply and demand in the GPU market, there isn’t any realistic incentive to chop into chunky profits.
So, how does all this add up overall? Assuming these cards are imminent, we may not see much price pressure relief in the graphics card market simply due to the way things are with the scarcity of video RAM right now.
But that doesn’t stop this being a hopeful sign for the future, if not the nearer-term. Later in 2018, when the memory shortage is forecast to ease, perhaps we’ll see more of these kind of dedicated GPUs emerging – and then the prices of gaming graphics cards could finally start to normalize again.