A recent report from RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves that has been echoed around the web suggests that the reason there’s very limited stock of Nvidia Ampere GPUs at retail is because NVidia sold the GPUs directly to crypto currency miners. This is unlikely to be true. Here’s why:
The report assumes that ASIC miners will no longer be used to mine Ethereum because the network is set to reach a DAG file size that’s over most ASICs 4GB limit. DAG is a data block uploaded to the device memory when a miner launches, this helps devices find blocks, ensures network security, and is responsible for assigning the reward for the completed work. Every 30 thousand blocks the DAG file size grows by 8MB.
In my view the RBC report is incorrect in estimating that GPUs will grow in demand for mining because ASICs can no longer mine due to the DAG file size, as the A10 Pro ETHMiner ASIC for instance features 6GB and the A10Pro+ also featuring 6GB which can mine Ethereum at 720mh/s is launching at the end of December.
Secondly, it will continue to be possible to mine Ethereum Classic even with 4GB GPUs after the DAG file size exceeds 4GB in mid-December as an update to lolMiner introduces an aptly named “Zombie Mode” that enables devices with 4GB to continue mining, albeit at a reduced hashrate.
So it’s important to note that the RBC report is based off a single analyst making assumptions, and estimating (in my opinion incorrectly), that NVidia sold $175M worth of Ampere GPUs to miners because some existing ASICs are no longer up to the task. Seems like an incredible stretch.
Granted, obviously it’s possible that some Ampere gpus are being used for mining but those went through the same channels that gamers got them from.
sources linked throughout the article