US computer processor manufacturer AMD has said that it will not follow Nvidia’s lead in limiting crypto mining on its chips. Following news that Nvidia GPUs would limit crypto mining, many had been wondering if the company’s competitor AMD would follow suit. However, the semiconductor company has now confirmed it will not be taking any such measures.
During a pre-briefing call, AMD product manager Nish Neelalojana said: “The short answer is no. We will not be blocking any workload, not just mining for that matter.
“That said, there are a couple of things. First of all, RDNA was designed from the ground up for gaming and RDNA 2 doubles up on this. And what I mean by this is, Infinity Cache and a smaller bus width were carefully chosen to hit a very specific gaming hit rate.
However, mining specifically enjoys, or scales with, higher bandwidth and bus width so there are going to be limitations from an architectural level for mining itself.”
Neelalojana is correct when he says that AMD’s RDNA 2 graphics card isn’t optimal for crypto mining in the way that Nvidia’s 24GB GeForce RTX 3090 is, which offers up to 120MH/s.
However, the RDNA 2 chips still manage around 58-64MH/s, so they aren’t completely useless when it comes to mining. And as more and more cryptos continue to rise in value, miners are able to make use of just about any graphics card worth its salt.
Neelalojana reiterated that the chips are optimized for gaming, but did comment on their effect on the market:
“All our optimisation, as always, is going to be gaming first, and we’ve optimised everything for gaming. Clearly gamers are going to reap a ton of benefit from this, and it’s not going to be ideal for mining workload. That all said, in this market, it’s always a fun thing to watch.”
What does this mean for crypto mining?
Neelalojana’s comments come after Nvidia tried to stop its chips being used for crypto mining. This was done in an attempt to ease the shortage facing video game players as the recent surge in cryptocurrencies fuelled demand for the graphics cards.
Nvidia said that it was limiting the capacity of some of its most popular chips to make them less able at making the calculations needed to mine on the Ethereum network. The graphics cards in question are the RTX 3080, RTX 3070, and RTX 3060 Ti.
Although the increased demand for the chips has led to a surge in profits for Nvidia, it’s also meant that many video gamers – who for so long have been the core of its customer base – have been unable to buy the latest graphics cards.
It’s also seen Nvidia’s earnings become more and more tied to the volatile swings seen in the crypto market.
The company had already limited the mining capacity of its RTX 3060 card earlier in the year. However, it accidentally released a developer driver which removed the limiting code, allowing miners to circumvent it, before removing said driver from the download site.