Nvidia and AMD target Bitcoin miners with new hardware

Mining digital currencies is exhaustive work for a machine. Like gaming, it requires a specific set-up created exclusively for that purpose. Also like gaming, a good GPU will take you far when mining Bitcoins and the like. The world’s biggest name in GPUs, Nvidia and AMD are reportedly working on dedicated graphics cards for mining cryptocurrency. CNBC recently reported that Asus has been working on cards for both AMD and Nvidia.

For the uninitiated, Bitcoin is a payment system, also known as a cryptocurrency, that functions on an anonymous and completely decentralized technology called the blockchain. Founded in 2009, it has gained notoriety in recent years and especially over the past few months as its price has skyrocketed to above $2,000 (Dh7,346) for the price of 1 Bitcoin. It’s main purpose is to carry out transactions anonymously online. Bitcoin has given birth to hundreds, if not thousands of other cryptocurrencies that function similarly or slightly differently but are based on the blockchain. A Bitcoin needs to be “mined” by solving a complex mathematical equation. For every successful solution, the miner is awarded a partial Bitcoin. The miner can then sell their Bitcoins on exchanges online. With more than $2,000 for each Bitcoin, you can see how profitable mining may seem right now.

The process of mining requires a computer or a network of systems with a high spec. The higher spec, the quicker and easier it can solve the equation and the more Bitcoins can be mined. These computers needs to run around the clock and traditional GPUs just weren’t designed for such continuous grinding. Realizing the mass interest in Bitcoin thanks to its value, the chipset makers are launching the AMD-based Mining RX 470 and NVIDIA-based Mining P106. It is basically the RX 470 and GTX 1060, fine-tuned for running around the clock.

The two cards will use special dual ball bearing fans that are smoother-running and more dust-resistant. Miners can now be at ease without fear of their cards dying out after running 24/7 for months on end. ASUS isn’t making any further optimization claims about the RX 470 variant (the tuner software is the same as for its regular cards), but it claims that the P106 is up to 36 percent faster than an unoptimized card at churning through cryptocurrency hashes.

AMD and Nvidia are staying tight-lipped on confirming these cards for now. We don’t even know for sure if there’s any other manufacturer apart from ASUS involved. A CNBC source is backing the existence of the NVIDIA board, though. There’s a clear incentive for both companies to get on board the very popular Bitcoin mining bandwagon.