Mining specific cards are real - ASUS and Sapphire GP106 and RX 470 show up

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 26, 2017 - 12:21 PM |
Tagged: radeon, nvidia, mining, geforce, cryptocurrency, amd

It appears that the prediction of mining-specific graphics cards was spot on and we are beginning to see the release of them from various AMD and NVIDIA board partners. ASUS has launched both a GP106-based solution and an RX 470 offering, labeled as being built exclusively for mining. And Sapphire has tossed it's hat into the ring with RX 470 options as well.

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The most interesting release is the ASUS MINING-P106-6G, a card that takes no official NVIDIA or GeForce branding, but is clearly based on the GP106 GPU that powers the GeForce GTX 1060. It has no display outputs, so you won't be able to use this as a primary graphics card down the road. It is very likely that these GPUs have bad display controllers on the chip, allowing NVIDIA to make use of an otherwise unusable product.

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The specifications on the ASUS page list this product as having 1280 CUDA cores, a base clock of 1506 MHz, a Boost clock of 1708 MHz, and 6GB of GDDR5 running at 8.0 GHz. Those are identical specs to the reference GeForce GTX 1060 product.

The ASUS MINING-RX470-4G is a similar build but using the somewhat older, but very efficient for mining, Radeon RX 470 GPU. 

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Interestingly, the ASUS RX 470 mining card has openings for a DisplayPort and HDMI connection, but they are both empty, leaving the single DVI connection as the only display option.

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The Mining RX 470 has 4GB of GDDR5, 2048 stream processors, a base clock of 926 MHz and a boost clock of 1206 MHz, again, the same as the reference RX 470 product.

We have also seen Sapphire versions of the RX 470 for mining show up on Overclockers UK with no display outputs and very similar specifications.

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In fact, based on the listings at Overclockers UK, Sapphire has four total SKUs, half with 4GB and half with 8GB, binned by clocks and by listing the expected MH/s (megahash per second) performance for Ethereum mining.

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These releases show both NVIDIA and AMD (and its partners) desire to continue cashing in on the rising coin mining and cryptocurrency craze. For AMD, this allows them to find an outlet for the RX 470 GPU that might have otherwise sat in inventory with the upgraded RX 500-series out on the market. For NVIDIA, using GPUs that have faulty display controllers for mining-specific purposes allows it to be better utilize production and gain some additional profit with very little effort.

Those of you still looking to buy GPUs at reasonable prices for GAMING...you remember, what these products were built for...are still going to have trouble finding stock on virtual or physical shelves. Though the value of compute power has been dropping over the past week or so (an expected result of increase interesting in the process), I feel we are still on the rising side of this current cryptocurrency trend.

Source: Various

June 26, 2017 | 01:15 PM - Posted by RdyPlyOne (not verified)

So can I CF one of these cards with a standard RX 470? I'm going to assume these will be cheaper.

June 26, 2017 | 01:45 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I would hope they are cheaper, otherwise, what's the point?

As for CF - not sure. I would assume for AMD they wouldn't lock it out.

June 26, 2017 | 05:23 PM - Posted by Dusty

This was my thought exactly. Maybe one of the review sites will get one and let us know!

June 26, 2017 | 06:37 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Interesting idea! Hopefully AMD would allow this for the second card! NVIDIA would probably lock it out though seeing how stingy they are with regards to SLI where they only allow the higher end cards to do it now heh.

June 26, 2017 | 08:32 PM - Posted by Speely

I kinda hope the AIB's keep making these cards after the mining bullhockey dies off again. Just re-market them as Crossfire Edition cards, no display outs, 10-20 bucks cheaper than their full-function counterparts, and specifically intended to be add-in Crossfire cards only. Yes, the demand for them will die off when the miners go away, but there's still some measure of a CF-enthusiast crowd who would eat those things up.

I know I would.

June 26, 2017 | 11:45 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

True, smaller resale market/value so hopefuly they'd be a bit more cheaper up front but definitely!

June 29, 2017 | 01:35 AM - Posted by Vince (not verified)

Better still, wait until the next mining crash and pick them up cheap used??

July 5, 2017 | 01:21 PM - Posted by speely at work (not verified)

Never ever buy a used GPU after a mining bubble pops.

I got a 280X on eBay after the last mining crash. Wouldn't run 3d applications. Period. Seller swore up and down that it was in perfect working order. Eventually admitted it had been used in an etherium mining rig, but swore up and down that the other five R9-280X cards that he'd sold were all running perfectly, and that clearly I didn't know what I was doing. Said that he had "fully tested" all of them, and eventually I got him to admit that "fully tested" meant he'd booted into Windows. Direct quote - "Windows Aero is perfectly fine for testing graphics cards."

eBay disagreed and I got my money back. A few days later he had six brand new negative feedback entries in a row, all of them saying they'd gotten a card that wouldn't run 3d applications. A few days after that, his account was gone.

The used GPU market - especially for AMD cards - is going to be a straight-up wasteland for another year or so, at least, because of these cryptocoin miners.

(I am especially salty because this recent mining boom started literally the day I decided I was going to buy a new card, and went looking, to discover that $280 graphics cards were either out of stock, or in-stock with a $500+ price tag. Ugh.)

June 26, 2017 | 07:12 PM - Posted by remc86007

Serious question: Are there enough multi-gpu supported games to make it worth it? It seems like fewer and fewer games support it.

June 26, 2017 | 08:33 PM - Posted by Speely

I think that'll come down more to the developers who want to implement it on the API level, now that DX12 and Vulkan put that functionality on the developers rather than on AMD or Nvidia's driver teams.

June 26, 2017 | 01:22 PM - Posted by Stefem

It is very likely that these GPUs have bad display controllers on the chip, allowing NVIDIA to make use of an otherwise usable product.

Mmmm... shouldn't be unusable? :)

June 26, 2017 | 01:45 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Yup....

June 26, 2017 | 04:39 PM - Posted by Jabbadap

Probably not true though. Display connectors just costs physically+they add license/royalty fees.

June 26, 2017 | 04:15 PM - Posted by rcald2000

*Ryan* Thank you for this update.

- Rob C.

June 27, 2017 | 12:04 AM - Posted by Kyoto Kid (not verified)

...well this sounds like a welcome relief for those of us who use GPU cards for CG work. In particular prices for the GTX 1070 (which for many had the best combination of performance and price) have been skyrocketing to the point it is almost as expensive as a 11 GB 1080 Ti at some outlets.

June 27, 2017 | 06:55 PM - Posted by PatrickD (not verified)

Agreed -- I use these for magnetic modelling, and trying to find cards has been difficult.

June 29, 2017 | 10:06 PM - Posted by Jared (not verified)

Could these cards be used for Boinc and video rendering?

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