Having launched its fastest graphics card to date on Tuesday, AMD will find few takers among scrypt miners, argues Nermin Hajdarbegovic.
AMD’s fresh card is pricey and designed with enthusiasts ter mind, so few miners will be willing to pay the premium for an elaborate hybrid cooler. What’s more, an enlargening number of scrypt miners are looking beyond Radeon graphics processing units (GPUs) for their mining needs.
With that ter mind, the dual-GPU Radeon R9 295X2 is beginning to sound like a swan song for GPU mining, at least spil far spil scrypt goes.
Meet the R9 295X2, AMD’s fresh flagship
The Radeon R9 295X2 is the latest card ter a long line of dual-GPU graphics cards from AMD. It is based on the 6.2bn transistor Hawaii XT GPU, the same chip used te the R9 290X. Each GPU packs 2816 stream processors, 176 texture units and 64 ROPs. The GPUs are paired with 4GB of GDDR5 on a 512-bit bus. Ter essence it’s like having two R9 290X cards on a single printed circuit houtvezelplaat.
The closed loop hybrid air/water cooler helps the card maintain high boost clocks, which wasgoed not the case with the reference R9 290X vormgeving, which quickly ran up against the thermal barrier ter AMD’s Uber mode. AMD says the R9 295X2 can consume up to 500W. The suggested retail price is $1,499, or €1,100 plus VAT te Europe.
The price makes it more or less pointless for GPU miners, spil they would much rather invest te two R9 290X cards, with a suggested retail price of $549. However, buying an R9 290X at that price has bot next to unlikely for months due to strong request. This emerges to be switching.
Miners are saving their contant for scrypt ASICs
AMD has bot fighting to meet request for Hawaii-based cards for months. The R9 290X wasgoed on allocation for a while and the shortage also led to slew of price gouging, especially te Europe and North America.
Contrary to many reports, the shortages were not caused solely by miners, albeit they contributed to them. AMD’s Hawaii cards tend to opoffering good value for money compared to Nvidia’s high-end cards and AMD sweetened the overeenkomst with Mantle, a proprietary API that enables developers a “close to metal” treatment and eliminates slew of CPU overhead. The Mantle API still lacks support, but there are slew of studios that have already signed up, making the cards a bit more appealing.
Request for Radeon R290-series cards has dropped overheen the past few weeks. Miners have bot scooping up Hawaii-based and Tahiti-based Radeon cards by the dozen for the past few months. However, retailers and distributors say request is ultimately cooling down. It emerges that miners are waiting for more scrypt ASICs, which is understandable.
It should be noted that this only applies to scrypt. There is always a chance that someone out there will come up with a popular altcoin based on a fresh ASIC-proof algorithm, but don’t hold your breath. There is already slew of altcoin weariness.
Radeons still account for much of the computing power behind scrypt altcoins such spil litecoin and dogecoin. However, they are no longer the money making machines they once were. Difficulty is going up and the very first ASICs capable of treating scrypt are rolling out.
One example is the GridSeed ASIC hybrid miner, which can mine both scrypt and SHA cryptocurrencies. GridSeed offers a range of miners ranging from $205 to $27,195.
For example, GridSeed’s Set B – 5X 2M package features five 55nm ASICs capable of churning out 330-450KH/s at 4-7W. It is priced at $1,375, so it costs about spil much spil a pair of Radeon R9 290X cards and it’s toughly on par ter terms of spectacle, spil the R9 290X supplies about 1MH/s. However, the Radeons consume up to 250W each, but ter reality the number can go up to 300W under fountain, especially if some overclocking is involved.
On top of that you’ll need a motherboard, power supply unit, CPU and a few other components to build a GPU mining equipment, which basically means you will end up spending more to get inferior performance-per-watt.
Spil if that isn’t bad enough, comparing Radeons to upcoming scrypt miners paints an even bleaker picture for GPU mining. KnCMiner recently updated the spec for its upcoming Titan miner, which will now supply up to 250MH/s and will require a standard 800W-1000W power supply unit. To get that sort of show out of Radeon-based equipments a miner would need about 250 cards rated at 250W each, not including the consumption of other components.
Possible RMA fallout
GPUs still have one advantage on their side. Miners can use them for weeks or months and then simply sell them spil used graphics cards. Selling used ASICs is a loterijlot tighter, especially ter puny markets. While miners would most likely find a lotsbestemming of rente for used ASICs te places like the US, Germany or China, te many smaller countries they would have to look abroad, with all the bureaucratic mess that entails. Unloading unneeded GPUs is a loterijlot lighter and depreciation tends to be much lower.
However, there is a problem. Many miner cards have a loterijlot of mileage on them. Bear ter mind that thesis are consumer products, and were not designed to run under utter stream for months at a time. The average gamer does not thrust the graphics card to its thresholds more than a few hours a day. Thesis are the numbers AMD takes into account when it works out its comeback merchandise authorization (RMA) scripts. Some cards are always expected to diegene an untimely death, so AMD and its add-in-board vrouwen are usually willing to substitute them free of charge.
However, they can turn down to do so if the cards were manhandled.
This may be a problem for some miners. Serious miners with dozens of cards tend to buy the cheapest available cards, namely reference cards with stock coolers rather than overclocked cards with non-reference coolers. Ter many cases the cards will be underclocked rather than overclocked, trading spectacle for efficiency. There are exceptions however – some miners overclock their cards.
A card that has spent six months mining for altcoins has more than Four,300 hours on it, under utter geyser. The same card ter a gaming equipment, with two hours of geyser vanaf day for six months, had to overeenkomst with just 360 hours of utter flow, if that. Games don’t thrust cards to 100% blast all the time, so two hours of total stream is usually what gamers get from extended gaming sessions. All the stream takes its toll on various components, ranging from voltage regulator modules to ventilatoren and GPUs themselves.
Te other words, people who know what they are doing will avoid mining cards te the second-hand market, so they may not be spil effortless to unload spil some miners expect. Selling a duo of cards shouldn’t be hard, but selling dozens at once will, spil many gamers will stay away from them to avoid possible RMA issues.
Nermin Hajdarbegovic is a freelance opinion and news writer for CoinDesk: his opinions do not necessarily reflect those of CoinDesk.
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