AMD, Nvidia coin mining graphics cards appear as gaming GPU shortage intensifies

Gamers will likely still struggle to find affordable hardware, though.

It’s damned near impossible to buy a reasonably priced graphics card right now. First AMD’s Radeon cards disappeared, then GeForce cards began to dry up too. The culprit? Cryptocurrency miners chasing price bubbles in Etherium, Zcash, et cetera. But new mining-dedicated graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia’s hardware partners might help ease the dearth of gaming hardware.

Maybe? Hopefully? Okay, probably not.

A swarm of coin mining cards have hit online e-tailers over the past few days, as AnandTech reports. Most are based on AMD’s more mining-friendly Radeon “Polaris” GPUs, but you'll also find a couple of cards based on Nvidia designs. Notably, those use “GP106” branding—that’s the name of the GPU itself—rather than being called GTX 1060 cards.

We’ll get to other crucial differences in a bit. First, here’s a rundown of the coin mining cards available so far—in theory. In reality, they’re already all sold out. Surprise!

Asus: MINING-P106-6G and MINING-RX470-4G

Sapphire: 11256-31-21G, 11256-21-21G, 11256-35-10G, 11256-36-10G, 11256-37-10G, and the 11256-38-10G are all based on the older Radeon RX 470, with varying memory, clock speed, and power configurations that can affect mining speed. The 11267-11-10G is based on the RX 560—an odd choice, since that low-powered graphics card isn’t compelling to most miners.

MSI: P106-100 Miner 6G

PC Perspective reports that Inno 3D, EVGA, Zotac, and Colorful are also working on dedicated mining cards, and that mining cards based on the GTX 1070’s “GP104” GPU are on the way as well.

This mining hardware differs from consumer graphics cards in key ways, with warranty length being one of the most important. Sapphire’s mining cards on Overclockers UK list a one-year warranty, while the versions sold on Newegg offer a scant 180 days of protection. The company’s consumer graphics cards are guaranteed for two years, by comparison. Miners keep GPUs churning 24/7 so the limited warranty makes sense.

The new gear looks similar to traditional graphics cards—almost. Since you don’t need to hook mining hardware up to a monitor, many of the cryptocurrency-dedicated cards ditch display connectors completely, while others limit themselves to a single DVI port. That should make it easy to spot these gaming lemons if unscrupulous folks try to pass them off as proper graphics cards whenever the mining bubble bursts.

The impact on you at home: That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Inflated prices have made it impossible to build a budget gaming PC, or to buy anything but extremely low-end or high-end graphics cards right now.

Don’t expect these mining cards to be a savior though.

Miners are gobbling up all the hardware they can find right now. These new coin mining cards are just more food for that hungry maw. And while the limited warranties and display connections probably let PC vendors create cards from GPUs that failed quality assurance for consumer hardware, the intense specialization might make them less attractive for hardcore miners. Cryptocurrency mining is all about the return on investment, and reselling graphics cards after bubbles burst is a big part of that calculation. No gamer would want to buy these used.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AMDnvidia

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?