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The Return Of GPU Cryptocurrency Mining
Quote:As a result, demand for AMD graphics cards is straining and suffocating supply, and it could be that NVIDIA will go the same route, should recent optimizations continue. It would seem that both companies understand the strain this puts on general customer who really just want to play a game with their graphics cards, but are finding pricing and availability an insurmountable challenge. Both companies are thus reportedly working on specialized editions of their graphics cards specially geared for cryptocurrency mining. These would apparently eschew any gaming capability, and likely display output connectors as well, which are unneeded for mining farms. NVIDIA is said to be prepping a special edition GeForce GTX 1060 with their GP106-100 GPU, and AMD is rumored to be working on some adaptation of their Polaris graphics cards as well. Sources point towards only 90 days warranty on these NVIDIA GTX 1060 cards, which will also be cheaper than gaming models, and be distributed by add-in board partners.
Quote:Recently, new miners optimized for NVIDIA's Pascal architecture have been making waves in the market, and there's even been a recently-launched NVIDIA-based mining station. There have even been analysts' articles detailing how more efficient NVIDIA cards are in mining, in a purely $/W perspective, even if they aren't the fastest yet. Much like AMD has been reaping the benefits of market and customer recognition for their cards' mining prowess, so does NVIDIA stand to gain, and the soaring shares from the company in the last few days could culminate in the company crossing the $100 billion threshold much sooner than expected.
Looks like AMD is going to be getting relief soon.
Quote:Hold on to your ETH hats: you will still be able to cash in on the ETH mining craze for a while. However, you should look towards your 3 GB and 4 GB graphics cards with a slight distrust, for reasons that you should know, anyway, since you have surely studied your mining cryptocurrency of choice. Examples are the GTX 1060 3 GB, or one of those shiny new 4 GB RX 480 / RX 580 which are going at ridiculously premium prices right now. And as a side note, don't you love the mechanisms of pricing and demand?
Currently, an epoch takes about 4 to 5 days to conclude until a new one is started. That means that in around five month's time, a user with an RX 470 4GB will see an almost 30% decrease in hash-rate, with the same power consumption of today. And as you know, in mining, power/performance ratio is all that counts for profitability. It is expected that NVIDIA cards being used currently, such as the GTX 1060 3 GB, will see decreases as well. And there are other performance-affecting details that originate from the increased worker size as well, such as TLB (Translation Lookaside Buffer) trashing, which could see performance degradation even before the memory pool of your graphics card of choice is fully loaded, provided the TLB is itself being overflowed... With Polaris, AMD implemented a TLB cache which was, before, absent from the GCN architecture. The small size of this TLB cache means that Polaris graphics cards will likely see performance penalties from TLB trashing before the DAG size increases to their memory limits. Just another point for you to consider.

Now granted, if you know anything about Ethereum, you probably won't even care about this: the passage from PoW to PoS (Proof of Stake) is expected to occur by November 1st of this year. This means that ETH mining will simply cease to be a thing (though this implementation could see some delays, unlikely as that is.) And it lines up nicely with the 5 month, 30% computing power decrease estimation above. So maybe you don't have to worry that much about ETH mining ceasing to be profitable in 5 month's time. But if you are looking to buy into the mining craze and invest in hardware, you should study this market, and this technology, first (and pay attention to this article as well.) Likewise, if you have just recently bought into the mining hardware market with those exorbitantly-priced RX 400 and RX 500 - do the math and be ready to look for alternatives, either in cryptocurrencies or mining solutions. Don't let yourself be burned just because you want to follow the train.
Quote:A user on Reddit lamented that GTX 1060 pricing is "skyrocketing," which is an exaggeration of the situation, though not totally off base.
We decided to do some digging and as it turns out, he appears to be onto something.

One of the cheaper GTX 1060 cards out there is MSI's GTX 1060 Aero ITX 6TG OC. It is the least expensive 6GB 1060 on Newegg, which as the Reddit user noted is priced at $270. Over at Amazon, only third-party vendors offer the same card, albeit starting at $294—yikes!

We headed over to CamelCamelCamel to see how this card has been trending, and sure enough the asking price is as high as it's ever been.

About a month and a half ago, this same card sold for around $220 on Amazon, via third-parties. So in other words, pricing has risen 34 percent in the span of about six weeks.

A similar situation seems to playing out in GeForce GTX 1070 territory as well. Take the Asus GeForce GTX 1070 8GB ROG Strix OC Edition (STRIX-GTX1070-O8G-GAMING). Amazon has this one in stock for $470, versus $399 as recently as May 22. Have a look:

For the most part, this fluctuated between $420 and $450 for several months for dipping down to $399, but has now ballooned to a new high.

So what does all of this mean? We can't say with 100 percent certainty that cryptocurrency miners are the culprit, but it sure seems that way. That's where AMD's hardware partners pinned the blame the shortage of Radeon RX 580 and 570 cards, and with those being out of stock, it makes sense that miners would turn to alternative hardware—in this case, GeForce GTX 1060 and 1070 cards.
Another reason we're seeing this play out among Pascal cards is that Nvidia GPUs are proving nearly as profitable as AMD GPUs with some cryptocurrencies. While AMD's GPUs are still generally better, some of Nvidia's card's are cheaper and consume less power.

Hopefully AMD and Nvidia both can get handle on things by increasing production and/or building a separate set of cards specifically intended for miners. Otherwise, your best bet is to pounce on a good deal when you find one, as the aforementioned Reddit user wishes he had done.
Quote:VideoCardz compiled a small list of unreleased crypto-currency mining cards based on the P104 and P106. These include cards from popular NVIDIA GeForce add-in card (AIC) partners, such as ASUS, MSI, and Colorful. The mining-segment cards look almost identical to the GeForce GTX 10-series cards they're derived from; but lack display outputs. Pictured above are the ASUS MINING-P106-6G, MSI P106-Miner, MSI P104-Miner; and Colorful P106-100 WK1 (in that order). It remains to be seen how NVIDIA and its partners price these cards, but if they're pricier than their GeForce GTX siblings, this whole exercise will be rendered futile, as miners will simply buy up the GeForce GTX inventories.
Quote:The good news is that the appears to be stabilizing. A few GTX 1070s have dropped in price--the EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 FTW Gaming ACX 3.0 is now $460 on Amazon instead of $500, like it was over the weekend.They still aren't the best option, considering you can get better performance from a GTX 1080 without upping your investment too much, but they are available.

At least for now: Earlier this morning a Zotac GeForce GTX 1070 AMP! Edition was briefly available from Amazon for $400, but that model sold out before we could write this article. Although these attempts to stabilize the market are a positive sign that OEMs are attempting to resolve the issue, the speed with which the $400 GTX 1070 sold out shows that we are still far from a solution to the current GPU shortage.

Perhaps the introduction of mining-specific cards will help. At the very least it will help manufacturers appeal directly to miners, which is exactly what Asus did with the Mining-P106-6G and Mining-RX470-4G. The former is based on Nvidia's P106-100 graphics engine, the latter on AMD's RX 470. Both offer a single display port (you don't need 'em for mining) and easy overclocking for "maximum hash-rate performance." These cards are made to help miners get the best return on their investment by allowing continuous operation with relatively low power draws.

This could be good news for gamers, too, if other manufacturers follow suit. Instead of eating into the supply of gaming-focused graphics cards, miners could purchase models designed specifically for them. Maybe that would help keep the price of graphics cards down and divide production between the two markets. It's not going to stop miners from buying up gaming cards, but it could at least help stabilize the market.

In the meantime, unless you're planning to buy a GTX 1080 or the lowly GTX 1050, you probably ought to wait to buy a new graphics card.
And it looks like the AIB partners are trying to beat AMD and Nvidia to offering mining cards:
Discussion starts at time index 01:38:

Quote:Update, 7/10/17, 8:10am PT: MindFactory told us that, in addition to pulling graphics cards from its shelves, it also canceled existing orders. "We had to cancel a lot of orders because of cards we can not get anymore," the company said in an email to Tom's Hardware. MindFactory customers were informed of the cancellation via email.
But that hasn't been enough to make a meaningful difference in the graphics card market; mid-range cards are still sold out or are going for elevated prices. If MindFactory is any indicator, we might soon see retailers pull the products from their shelves entirely. There's just no sense in listing products that you won't be able to sell for who-knows-how-long.
Quote:It appears the recent gold rush surrounding Ethereum is coming to an end. The price of Ether dipped below $200, and the mining difficulty level jumped by nearly 20%. If you’re getting into Ethereum mining now, it’s probably too late.
Quote:Prices remain inflated on the midrange offerings, particularly on the AMD side, which is remains a veritable no-man's land. Prices are still up by 50 to 100 percent or more, but at least now you can actually buy the cards. Just a few weeks ago, the 570 and 580 were in the $500+ range, which is ridiculous. eBay ends up being a better option for lower prices on all of the AMD GPUs, but you end up with the risk of used hardware—something I wouldn't recommend, particularly as the cards still carry a price premium. I wouldn't be surprised if many of the cards on eBay are from people that purchased the GPUs at MSRP, and now they're just looking to turn a quick profit, but it's impossible to know for certain whether a card has been used for mining or not.

That's a topic that came up several times at AMD's recent RX Vega event. Many wondered if AMD could add some sort of an "hours of use" tracker to the cards to protect people from buying a worn-out card. AMD made non-committal comments, and obviously it's not going to help pre-existing cards. Unfortunately, that means used graphics cards will remain a questionable proposition.
Quote:Our checks with the leading GPU and motherboard OEMs indicate SepQ GPU card trends are very strong, with card shipments coming in ~30-50% ahead of flat q/q expectations on strength from cryptocurrency mining. Cryptocurrency demand is driving strength in NVDA's GTX 1060/1070 cards. The GPU/motherboard OEMs also noted GPU pricing was up ~25% in the last six months. As we have noted prior (Link - Pricing), the strong pricing and unit trends point to strong OctQ upside to NVDA's muted cryptocurrency expectations. The OEMs also noted zero inventory of GPUs in the channel and constrained short DRAM supply and pricing also affecting GPU shipments. Coming off a very strong SepQ, there are also expectations in the supply chain that DecQ GPU sales could be muted in pricing and demand on recent cryptocurrency bans and DRAM shortages.
Quote:As of this week, though, it seems that prices for midrange cards are on a road back to regularity. On the GTX 1060 6GB front, Newegg has one card in stock for its suggested price, and our EVGA favorite is just $15 more.

Radeon RX 580 8GB cards are not much more expensive. You can get this nice-looking dual-fan Asus model for $289.99, and similar versions from MSI, Gigabyte, and Aorus are all $309.99. Yes, $60 to $80 over AMD's suggested pricing for those cards is still a big ask, but at least they're in the same ballpark as competitive Nvidia products. We're still waiting for the taming of RX 570 prices, though. Those cards are impossible to recommend for the $260 or so they're commanding right now.

The slight easing of tensions may be extending to AMD's higher-end cards, too. Although Newegg still isn't selling standalone Radeon RX Vega 56 and RX Vega 64 cards yet, the Radeon Black Pack versions of both cards are not far off their official prices. One can actually pick up an MSI RX Vega 56 Black Pack for the suggested $499.99 right now, and the RX Vega 64 Black Pack from Sapphire is $619.99 (or $20 over AMD's suggested price for the combo). Whether those are good values in light of the fact that you can still pick up a GTX 1080 for $500 to $550 is debatable, but they are at least not pants-on-head stupid.

All told, we can only hope that graphics card prices continue to cool off. Once again, we've got our fingers crossed. If you need a midrange card today, though, now is the best time to buy one that we've seen in months.
Quote:DigiTimes is reporting that graphics cards vendors and AIB (add-in board partners) to both AMD and NVIDIA are increasing their orders for GPUs. Citing sources from the upstream supply chain, the report says that the reason for this is an expected increase in sales due to higher demand for cryptocurrency mining workloads.
Steam is no longer accepting Bitcoin:
Quote:The thing with futures trading is that it takes the initial pricing of Bitcoin as a baseline, almost setting it in amber. Bitcoin futures (XBT) valuation will reinforce street pricing of Bitcoin, in such a way that predicting Bitcoin's pricing to be at $18,600 per Bitcoin with an expiration of January 17th 2018 (as they currently are), will increase the likelihood of an increasing valuation of Bitcoin up to that moment. It's really circular thinking - and now there's another way for investors to accrue value from bitcoin, while skirting the risk and hassles of actually holding the coin. In fact, traders can now even short the cryptocurrency - but your mileage may vary on the results obtained from that one move.

Whatever your opinion of Bitcoin or crypto in general, this futures trading in one of New York's foremost exchanges is bound to bring increased legitimacy to the cryptocurrency, as is being hailed as a sign of maturity for the cryptocurrency ecosystem at large.
Quote:INNO3D, a leading manufacturer of awesome high-end multimedia components and various innovations enriching your life, introduces its new P104-100 Crypto-Mining Accelerator. The new range will be available in TWIN X2 edition. The P104-100 has been designed with no less than 40% more mining power than its predecessor allowing the miner to enhance ETH, ZEC, etc. number crunching to levels, that have never been seen before.
Quote:The folks at HotHardware have put an NVIDIA Titan V through its paces in Ethereum mining, eager to see this Volta-based chips' prowess in this type of workloads. Titan V reveals itself as a graphics card that achieves 69 MH/s at stock settings - and an even more impressive 82 MH/s when slightly overclocked. Overclocking methodology was simple - increase temperature and power targets for the Titan V, and then increase memory frequency until a bottleneck was found. And voila. The Titan V was happily churning out 82 MH/s in version 10.2 of the Claymore Miner - more than double the output of an RX Vega 64 and Titan Xp. Power consumption wasn't detailed in this test, and the Titan V would almost definitely consume more power than a Titan Xp - the chip is double the size - but when we take into account the fact that its TDP is the same, that it's built on a 12 nm process against the Titan Xp's 16 nm, and that it uses HBM2 memory instead of GDDR5X... Well, the differences likely aren't anything to write home about. But the performance is. I'll leave it over to our expert miners to say whether they'd invest in a Titan V for mining - all $2,999 of it.
Quote:Prices of mid-range and high-end graphics cards could rise over the course of 2018, warns a report by Taiwan-based industry observer DigiTimes. The report quotes a USD $5-20 increase (we're guessing that's bill-of-material/BOM cost). Tight supply of memory chips and GPUs are attributed to the price hikes. Crypto-currency mining is a key factor, according to the report. Demand for graphics cards by miners hasn't waned (perhaps associated with Ethereum's all-time high value), which could further strain graphics card supplies throughout 2018.
A good 10 minute summary of the damage that cryptocurrency is doing to PC gaming:

The final words of this have stuck with me: "Sweetspot products turn bitter sooner than you think."
India is sending mixed messages:
GN is reporting that AMD and Nvidia are increasing MSRP on their GPUs, and AMD has allegedly become officially affiliated with Etherium:

Lloyds Banking Group place some restrictions on buying Bitcoin:
Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase have joined Lloyds Banking Group in restricting Bitcoin purchases:
The bigger problem is the broad market selloff that we just saw today. Combined with Friday's drop, the stock market plunge over the past two days is extremely concerning.

I view Bitcoin and crypto as a long term play. I think it's the future of money. It's going down like crazy lately but I think we'll see a huge swing upward again before the end of the year.
Quote:In recent interviews with manufacturers, we learned that 8GB of GDDR5 has increased in manufacturing cost, and has increased BOM, by $20-$30. From what we understand, GDDR5 price movements are typically on a scale of +/- $5, but the $20-$30 hike necessitated some vendors to officially raise GPU MSRP (not just third-party retail price, but actual MSRP).

This, we think, is the most likely actual contributor to the killing of Newegg's GPU affiliate commission. If Newegg is genuinely making an effort to keep prices at existing levels, then removing affiliate commission would assist in keeping margins profitable; however, if Newegg increases its prices to meet the new $20-$30 hike while simultaneously axing commission on VGA devices, then there's a clear attempt at increasing margins. Fortunately, plenty of other vendors are still offering reasonable prices on video cards. First-party sales, although commission-less, do offer buyers the best deals. The cards are straight-from-manufacturer, like on EVGA's webstore. B&H Photo is still offering 2-3% commission for creators, but we are uncertain of the company's stock levels and prices. Amazon has not changed GPU commission. Monoprice, Best Buy, and other less-than-likely in-stock vendors also retain commission, but probably don't have inventory.
Quote:NVIDIA Turing could be manufactured at a low-enough cost against GeForce-branded products, and in high-enough scales, to help bring down their prices, and save the PC gaming ecosystem. It could have an ASIC-like disruptive impact on the graphics card market, which could make mining with graphics cards less viable, in turn, lowering graphics card prices. With performance-segment and high-end graphics cards seeing 200-400% price inflation in the wake of crypto-currency mining wave, PC gaming is threatened as gamers are lured to the still-affordable new-generation console ecosystems, led by premium consoles such as the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. There's no word on which GPU architecture Turing will be based on ("Pascal" or "Volta"). NVIDIA is expected to launch its entire family of next-generation GeForce GTX 2000-series "Volta" graphics cards in 2018.
It just keeps getting worse, and it will keep getting worse until retailers require the presentation of a government-issued ID with every graphics card purchase.
Quote:That’s an ugly option. Reality could be even worse. When Nvidia first launched Pascal, it ran into severe shortages that continued months after launch. Even if a new GPU family is coming in the not-too-distant future, it could slam face-first into an army of cryptocurrency bots, each dedicated to snapping up cards within seconds of them being available online. Under that kind of pressure, the chances of GPUs being available to ordinary consumers are exceptionally small. The only reason we’re mentioning Nvidia instead of AMD is because AMD isn’t expected to launch a major refresh in the next 6-8 months, while Nvidia’s excellent Pascal architecture is nearly two years old.

If severe shortages aren’t enough, things could get worse than that. Consider what we know about AMD’s and Nvidia’s GPU pricing. Both companies sign contracts with suppliers to sell GPUs at a given price. All of the inflation in GPU prices that’s happened has driven cash into the hands of Newegg and retailers and, to a lesser extent, companies like MSI and Asus (the ODMs). AMD and Nvidia have benefited from being able to sell more cards, but they aren’t necessarily making big money per-GPU. In fact, they probably aren’t.

But leave prices elevated like this, and shareholders are going to start asking when and how both companies will raise their own prices to capture more of the profit. This could result in GPU performance being substantially more expensive in the future, particularly if AMD or Nvidia can exceed the performance of previous generations enough to make the price hike worth it in terms of performance per dollar. The general end of multi-GPU scaling could also feed this trend, because the idea of buying two lower-end / cheaper cards to match the performance of a high-end card won’t apply any longer. Then again, even low-end GPU prices are so inflated now, it might not have mattered anyway.

There’s good reason to take all this with a grain of salt, but it’s not some impossible idea. GPU prices could be stuck in the stratosphere for most of the next year, or even beyond. And of course, at a certain point, that’s going to spell trouble for PC gaming. Who wants to buy a new PC GPU for $800 when you can buy an entire Xbox One X for $500? High-end customers can afford to switch to boutique builders, but everybody else could find themselves priced out of the market.
Quote:These tables illustrate why we aren’t recommending anyone upgrade their GPU right now. While you can possibly swallow an extra $20 for a GT 1030, every GPU past that stacks on a larger financial hit in actual dollars for both AMD and NV. Pascal’s age also increases the likelihood that Nvidia has new hardware coming to replace it.

AMD isn’t expected to introduce new hardware in the near-term future, but its GPU prices have been driven into the stratosphere to an even greater degree than Nvidia’s. As much as we hate to say it, some owners will find it more cost-effective to build an entirely new PC than to upgrade an existing GPU. These issues are terrible for the retail channel and individual DIY builders, but they’re great for mainstream and boutique manufacturers. In some cases, we’ve seen modest gaming systems selling for less than the cost of a high-end GPU.
A nice overview by JPR:
It's so bad now that Elric can't be bothered to do a review of the Powercolor Red Devil 64, since no gamers will actually be buying it. On top of that, people are being driven to consoles in such numbers that supply can't keep up and console prices on Newegg have more than doubled:

Looks like ASRock's getting involved in GPU mining:
(03-08-2018, 02:15 AM)SteelCrysis Wrote: Looks like ASRock's getting involved in GPU mining:

They are kind of late to the party. The mining seems like it's dying to me.
Quote:In sum: Don't expect ASRock to suddenly start competing with AIB partners with discrete graphics cards for gaming and cryptomining. According to our numerous sources (even though we have no word directly from ASRock), ASRock is simply looking to make its own MXM modules to service its mini-PC business. We'll continue to follow this story if there are any further developments from ASRock.
The mining is dying. I'm getting out of it, personally.
(03-09-2018, 07:36 AM)SickBeast Wrote: The mining is dying.  I'm getting out of it, personally.
I sure hope that's the case. It's had quite a negative impact on PC builds:
Quote:One other interesting tidbit that DigiTimes is reporting on is that Bitmain might be increasing its ASIC orders from TSMC to bring a new Ethereum ASIC miner to market. Dubbed the F3, reports around the internet have placed these ASICs as leveraging TSMC's 28 nm process in a three-mainboard system. Each mainboard is reported to pack six purpose-built ASIC processors, each paired with 12GB of DDR3 memory. Whether or not this makes sense based on Ethereum's Casper update (moving from a Proof of Work to a Proof of Stake mechanism) remains to be seen. Considering the amount of work and investment that would be required towards the development of an Ethereum ASIC, though (a natively ASIC-resistant algorithm) may very well be an indicator that Casper may be longer off in the horizon than previously thought. Let's hope this is true, though; an Ethereum-geared ASIC, even if short-lived, would certainlydraw demand away from GPUs to these purpose-built systems, and there's been nary a time in the PC world where such an event was as needed as it is today.
Quote:The overall performance between the 1050 Ti and the GTX 680 is remarkably similar. And even better, older cards like this should be largely immune from the cryptocurrency mining craze. The GTX 680 and other cards from the Kepler family were terrible at cryptocurrency mining thanks to a number of factors, including the way Nvidia organized the GPU — with 192 cores per SMX, Nvidia needed to extract very high levels of parallelism to keep each SMX unit busy. This is good news for modern buyers, since it means there’s no need to worry about the card’s having been inappropriately abused in mining workloads — though there is, of course, still the chance that they’ve been abused in general, given the age of the GPUs at this point.

Best of all, eBay prices on GPUs like the GTX 680 are pretty reasonable, with auctions and listings in the $65 to $100 range. The current lowest price on a GTX 1050 Ti, according to Newegg, is $220. Be advised the GTX 780 and 780 Ti are both Kepler-era cards with significantly more horsepower than the GTX 680, and they’re available on eBay as well, for around $100 to $150 (GTX 780) and ~$200ish (GTX 780 Ti). It’s hard to recommend people drop $200 on a GTX 780 Ti given that it’s limited to 3GB of RAM and was new in 2013, but it’s even harder to recommend people spend $220 on a GTX 1050 Ti, an entry-level GPU currently selling for 1.58x its MSRP. If the GTX 680 can match the 1050 Ti, the 780 Ti will absolutely level it.
Nvidia working on cryptocurrency mining GPU:
And they're worried about a drop in demand from cryptocurrency mining:
Now we're reportedly back to GTC for announcement, with production reportedly starting in Q3:

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