PC gaming GPU giants Nvidia and AMD are lining up cheaper, stripped-down crypto-specific graphics cards in the face of overwhelming demand led by Bitcoin & Ethereum miners.
As bitcoin increasingly finds itself under the mainstream’s eye amid an ongoing price boom, there is a distinct shortage of graphics cards in the gaming market. According to AMD, whose GPUs are currently sold-out at major US retailers, the blame is on a “solid demand” by “newly resurgent cryptocurrency mining markets.” Nvidia-based graphics cards, traditionally more expensive than AMD GPUs, are also seeing an increase in demand.
The gaming market remains the priority for the two hardware manufacturers who have seen a similar market swell in demand for graphics cards in late 2013 from Bitcoin and Litecoin miners. This time, AMD & Nvidia are addressing gamers’ frustration and new miners’ demands head-on.
According to a report by Digitimes, both Nvidia and AMD are both preparing to release GPUs specifically designed for bitcoin mining at reduced costs due to lower specifications compared to their gaming GPU cousins.
What’s being stripped away? Details are scarce, but the manufacturers are removing HDMI and/or Display ports as image outputs from the mining-specific hardware. They will also come with reduced 90-day warranty periods due to the intensive 24-hour operation that the bitcoin mining GPUs are likely to see.
The report from the Asian publication also reveals a name for Nvidia’s model, the GeForce GTX1060-100. There are no details about the new hardware on Nvidia’s website at the time of publishing. AMD is reportedly redesigning its entry-level 400 series hardware for cryptocurrency-miners. Both manufacturers’ GPUs are expected to be available by the end of this month, June.
GPUs based on the higher-end 500 series, the Radeon Rx 580 and Rx 570 are sold out, as reported by CCN.com yesterday.
Another factor cited by the report as a reason for a new line of bitcoin-mining GPUs is the aftermarket costs incurred by vendors during the mining boom of 2013. After the bitcoin mining trend tailed off soon after, an entire slew of miners sold their heavily-used graphics cards to the second-hand market. These cards remained under warranty and, as a result, their vendors and manufacturers saw significant maintenance-related costs in prepping up the GPUs for their second-hand owners. This would explain AMD & Nvidia lowering the warranty period for the new mining-specific hardware to a measly 90 days.
Other hardware manufacturers are also looking to capitalize on the surging demand, with some motherboard vendors reportedly pushing their products specifically designed for Bitcoin mining.
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