Cryptocurrency miners are buying new RTX Ampere laptops to bypass the GPU shortage

mongeese

Posts: 476   +109
Staff member
In a nutshell: Nvidia’s new mobile RTX GPUs started to become available around the world last week inside a smattering of enticing new gaming laptops. But in some regions, the release was mutilated by Ethereum miners purchasing them directly from the manufacturers.

The price of Ethereum increased fourfold in 2020, and after a sudden acceleration in January it exceeded its previous all-time high from late 2017. The rise has helped the cryptocurrency mining industry experience an unfortunate renaissance that could lead to a repeat of the 2017 disaster.

Normally, it's only possible to mine profitably with desktop GPUs sold alone. Prebuilt systems and laptops have a higher markup, and include components that aren't helpful to miners. But those disadvantages have recently been negated, partly because of crypto rising prices, and partly because of improved performance offered by new Nvidia GPU releases.

So it's become profitable to mine with cheap gaming laptops. Some miners, in China, have purchased shipments of new laptops and installed them in dedicated mining racks. The images below are of brand new laptops, possibly with RTX 3070s and RTX 3060s inside.

Mining has also gotten easier. A mining rig can be configured in just a few minutes with the aid of simple (evil) software and informative (evil) articles from disreputable news sites. It's so easy that you can do it on the go, as one Chinese content creator demonstrates in this hilarious video.

If you don't want to watch the video in Chinese, here's a rundown: she's just bought a new Asus laptop with an RTX 3060, and she's taken it into a Starbucks. Plugged it in. Started mining Ethereum. Brought a coffee. Done some work. And two hours later, she's recouped the cost of the coffee and she goes home. It's ridiculous.

Fortunately, laptop mining is unlikely to be profitable except at scale in specific regions, so it shouldn't affect global availability. But it does highlight the potency of cryptocurrencies.

Permalink to story.

 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,416   +4,899
an unfortunate renaissance that could lead to a repeat of the 2017 disaster
Unfortunate? I think this will be the best outcome, really.

If crypto maniacs start going bust, the price of video cards will collapse, which will be great for all computer buyers.

It feels like this article was written by someone who is a big proponent if crypto mining. And that's annoying.
 

eforce

Posts: 142   +144
When Tether dies the party will be over and the market will be flooded with cheap GPU's.

They've been pumping the crypto market since mid 2013 and are currently facing multiple law suits/US investigations.
 

neeyik

Posts: 1,793   +2,066
Staff member
It feels like this article was written by someone who is a big proponent if crypto mining. And that's annoying.
Not half as annoying as somebody who is either trolling or completely missed this entire section of the article:
Mining has also gotten easier. A mining rig can be configured in just a few minutes with the aid of simple (evil) software and informative (evil) articles from disreputable news sites. It's so easy that you can do it on the go, as one Chinese content creator demonstrates in this hilarious video.

If you don't want to watch the video in Chinese, here's a rundown: she's just bought a new Asus laptop with an RTX 3060, and she's taken it into a Starbucks. Plugged it in. Started mining Ethereum. Brought a coffee. Done some work. And two hours later, she's recouped the cost of the coffee and she goes home. It's ridiculous.
Edit: And to mitigate folks misinterpreting my response to VitalyT's post, I'm not being a serious meany :)
 

Kosmoz

Posts: 117   +195
If crypto maniacs start going bust, the price of video cards will collapse, which will be great for all computer buyers.
IF? Not IF, but WHEN, also:
When Tether dies the party will be over and the market will be flooded with cheap GPU's.
Both of you, have fun buying those "cheap" used 100% 24/7 GPUs and see how long those "cheap" GPUs will last you from that point on...

This situation we are in now is the opposite of great and even when the crypto collapse will inevitably come (1 year?), not even then will it be great.. It's bad now and will still be bad then... for different reasons.

The only hope is that maybe at that time we can buy the new gen GPUs and have them in stock at MSRP, the 4000 nvidia series and 7000 AMD series.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 276   +483
At this point there's not gonna be a good solution for everybody. Best I can think of is Nvidia and AMD locking compute without white listed apps on a hardware level and that's basically turning PCs into consoles, not got at all.

Other than that well, at least Laptops are far more efficient for emissions and their impact. It's still fundamentally a waste of energy that we still generate mostly by burning fossil fuels, so TERRIBLE but it's somehow less terrible if we have warehouses filled with laptops using 100-200 watts a piece vs a room for of GPUs using 3x to 4x as much power and possibly packed in even more density so more of them to boot.

My guess is that gaming consumers won't be able to have anything not in APU form for all of 2021 and maybe 2022 will get better. But this at least lessens the most negative aspect of cryptos imo.
 

emmzo

Posts: 275   +241
Unless all crypto goes full ASIC, like Bitcoin, I suspect, in the following years, for gamers to get accustomed to pay by default double MSRP for a videocard.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 636   +883
It feels like this article was written by someone who is a big proponent if crypto mining. And that's annoying.
Are you being serious? They called it evil, which is about as hysterical as you can get about crypto mining.
When Tether dies the party will be over and the market will be flooded with cheap GPU's.

They've been pumping the crypto market since mid 2013 and are currently facing multiple law suits/US investigations.
Except for the dozens of other stablecoins now in operation, including Paxos's, which is about a white-collar and by the book as they come. Crypto isn't dying and isn't "one kill shot away" from going away.
Unless all crypto goes full ASIC, like Bitcoin, I suspect, in the following years, for gamers to get accustomed to pay by default double MSRP for a videocard.
Ethereum, which is the primary crypto that can still be profitably mined using video cards, is on the cusp of going proof-of-stake, and sunsetting mining. There are many alts that still function using proof-of-work, but none of them are anywhere near as profitable as Eth, and chances are that many of them may also take Ethereum's lead and go POS as well.

It'd be nice if Techspot would cover stories and information like that instead of constantly stoking hatred of cryptocurrency with this kind of clickbait sensationalism.

 
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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,580   +4,924
Once again, cryptocurrency arises to waste resources, energy and equipment.

Fortunately, I managed to get my own cards prior to the madness.

They're even trying to convince people to mine on their smartphone.

Sure, it might not be so bad if you have two or three older smartphones and can set them up on Wifi while plugged in, but this is just ridiculous.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,574   +3,459
IF? Not IF, but WHEN, also:

Both of you, have fun buying those "cheap" used 100% 24/7 GPUs and see how long those "cheap" GPUs will last you from that point on...
This isn't the 70's or 80's when capacitors going bad was the number 1 cause of failure in electronics. I actually have a 1070ti that was a mining card and it's still running fine 24/7 3 years later.

electronic components are far more robust than they use to be, I will happily buy a mining card when they start to become available. The less people interested in buying them further drives the cost down. I don't remember what MSRP was but I got my used mining card for $120 US
 

Bulllee

Posts: 156   +114
This isn't the 70's or 80's when capacitors going bad was the number 1 cause of failure in electronics. I actually have a 1070ti that was a mining card and it's still running fine 24/7 3 years later.

electronic components are far more robust than they use to be, I will happily buy a mining card when they start to become available. The less people interested in buying them further drives the cost down. I don't remember what MSRP was but I got my used mining card for $120 US
I bought a 1070 that was used for mining about 2 years ago and still using it with no problems.
I figured out they would be over cooled and under worked and not fried through overclocking.
 

brucek

Posts: 739   +1,007
TechSpot Elite
Unless all crypto goes full ASIC, like Bitcoin, I suspect, in the following years, for gamers to get accustomed to pay by default double MSRP for a videocard.
If miners were consistent buyers for years, there would be sufficient capacity built for them. You don't hear gamers complaining about office workers hogging all the CPUs, even though office workers buy many more CPUs than gamers, because the industry has always included office workers, and is sized around them.

The trouble with miners is their flash in the pan nature. Their demand spikes up suddenly, they'll overpay to get it all right now, and then they're gone. You can't invest in capacity for them because they won't be there by the time the capacity comes online.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 636   +883
The trouble with miners is their flash in the pan nature. Their demand spikes up suddenly, they'll overpay to get it all right now, and then they're gone. You can't invest in capacity for them because they won't be there by the time the capacity comes online.
The 2017 "flash in the pan" was cryptocurrency first breaking into mainstream consciousness via the news media; I remember the first time I had family asking me about it was around then, when I was still a nocoiner skeptic.

The current market is not primarily the result of retail investor FOMO the way 2017 was: lots of institutional money is pouring in because the writing is on the wall for the USD. Unless there is another catastrophic market panic a la the March 12th 2020 COVID crash, I don't think we're going to see another bottom dropping out on it the way we did in 2017.

That means until Ethereum has finished its transition from proof of work to proof of stake, we're going to see sustained high demand from miners for GPUs.
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 309   +295
This isn't the 70's or 80's when capacitors going bad was the number 1 cause of failure in electronics. I actually have a 1070ti that was a mining card and it's still running fine 24/7 3 years later.

electronic components are far more robust than they use to be, I will happily buy a mining card when they start to become available. The less people interested in buying them further drives the cost down. I don't remember what MSRP was but I got my used mining card for $120 US
Uhm silicon chips degrade over time, for reference jaytwocents and Steve from gamersnexus Have covered these subjects and how you dont know how hard and overclocked they have been or how overheated in racks they were.
The longer and hotter the card sits running the more of a chance it will die early typically the RAMDAC will be the first thing that dies. In 90% of any dead GPUs I have seen this is the case, don't know about others in the forum.

Caps have long past since the days where they go bad, I mean if you buy a Foxxcon $40 mobo it could still be an issue, but would you care at that price.
 

Karlos95

Posts: 155   +64
If miners were consistent buyers for years, there would be sufficient capacity built for them. You don't hear gamers complaining about office workers hogging all the CPUs, even though office workers buy many more CPUs than gamers, because the industry has always included office workers, and is sized around them.

The trouble with miners is their flash in the pan nature. Their demand spikes up suddenly, they'll overpay to get it all right now, and then they're gone. You can't invest in capacity for them because they won't be there by the time the capacity comes online.

https://scontent-syd2-1.xx.fbcdn.ne...=3263c50014687f008b303264dd099761&oe=60472F62

Looks pretty consistent to me.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 636   +883
Uhm silicon chips degrade over time, for reference jaytwocents and Steve from gamersnexus Have covered these subjects and how you dont know how hard and overclocked they have been or how overheated in racks they were.
The longer and hotter the card sits running the more of a chance it will die early typically the RAMDAC will be the first thing that dies. In 90% of any dead GPUs I have seen this is the case, don't know about others in the forum.
What I heard a while ago, and still wonder about the truth of, is that it's not running hot by itself that damages silicon overtime, it's cycles of heating and cooling that does it.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,574   +3,459
Uhm silicon chips degrade over time, for reference jaytwocents and Steve from gamersnexus Have covered these subjects and how you dont know how hard and overclocked they have been or how overheated in racks they were.
The longer and hotter the card sits running the more of a chance it will die early typically the RAMDAC will be the first thing that dies. In 90% of any dead GPUs I have seen this is the case, don't know about others in the forum.

Caps have long past since the days where they go bad, I mean if you buy a Foxxcon $40 mobo it could still be an issue, but would you care at that price.

It's been my understanding that mining cards are often run at stock speeds or below stock speeds because you get diminishing returns from power consumption. We often see chips running in the 70's and even into the 80's fairly regularly, I come from a time when anything over 50C was insanely hot.

I honestly need more evidence before I'll believe in thermal degradation of silicon when under normal operating temperatures. Especially since "normal operating temperature" has climbed by almost 30C over the last 15 years. Also, JaysTwoCents is one of the most obnoxious tech channels out there, but I digress....

And I thought that Gamers Nexus concluded that you have to get stuff very hot for very long periods of time to see any degradation, as in 90C+ for months, even years.
 

mongeese

Posts: 476   +109
Staff member
It'd be nice if Techspot would cover stories and information like that instead of constantly stoking hatred of cryptocurrency with this kind of clickbait sensationalism.
Noted.
It feels like this article was written by someone who is a big proponent if crypto mining. And that's annoying.
Noted.

Cryptocurrencies are cool and the tech involved is cooler. But gaming GPUs should be sold to gamers, obviously. However... I would love to learn/write about mining accelerators from AMD or Nvidia. That would be awesome.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 636   +883
Noted.

Noted.

Cryptocurrencies are cool and the tech involved is cooler. But gaming GPUs should be sold to gamers, obviously. However... I would love to learn/write about mining accelerators from AMD or Nvidia. That would be awesome.
Thank you

WRT "gaming gpus should be sold to gamers", I'm not sure how that would be enforced. For one, what about hobbyists like me that us their GPUs to game after work and then set them to mine during work and sleeping hours? Or gamers that put together rigs from server parts?

I agree that the mining farms that are so frequently focused on these articles are not a good thing - not to gamers that can barely afford one PC for themselves, and not to me, who is wary about the rise of mining farms that centralize mining power in the hands of few, which goes against the ethos of decentralization. Unfortunately the power to discourage mining farms rests with Nvidia and AMD choosing to make many small sales to individual buyers rather than bulk sales to institutional buyers, which makes less sense to *them*. It's a very complex issue but snap, black and white judgements have the potential to do exponentially more harm than good to everyone, not just miners and gamers.
 

Kosmoz

Posts: 117   +195
This isn't the 70's or 80's when capacitors going bad was the number 1 cause of failure in electronics. I actually have a 1070ti that was a mining card and it's still running fine 24/7 3 years later.

electronic components are far more robust than they use to be, I will happily buy a mining card when they start to become available. The less people interested in buying them further drives the cost down. I don't remember what MSRP was but I got my used mining card for $120 US
You (and everyone else here that is clueless) should look how "well" the Ampere GPUs are being cooked when mining, because it's clear that past experiences do not apply now > GDDR6X in 3080 and 3090 Hits 110C While Mining Ethereum
 

Digitalzone

Posts: 160   +95
GPUs are ridiculously overprices also cause you can make some profit on them, I.e. cryptomoney. Just compare the cost of getting a decent CPU and getting a decent GPU... GPU is twice that much.
 

mongeese

Posts: 476   +109
Staff member
Thank you

WRT "gaming gpus should be sold to gamers", I'm not sure how that would be enforced. For one, what about hobbyists like me that us their GPUs to game after work and then set them to mine during work and sleeping hours? Or gamers that put together rigs from server parts?

I agree that the mining farms that are so frequently focused on these articles are not a good thing - not to gamers that can barely afford one PC for themselves, and not to me, who is wary about the rise of mining farms that centralize mining power in the hands of few, which goes against the ethos of decentralization. Unfortunately the power to discourage mining farms rests with Nvidia and AMD choosing to make many small sales to individual buyers rather than bulk sales to institutional buyers, which makes less sense to *them*. It's a very complex issue but snap, black and white judgements have the potential to do exponentially more harm than good to everyone, not just miners and gamers.
You make some great points.

In your case, for example, I think it is absolutely your right to do whatever you want with your GPU and if you have it mine in its downtime, that's good. That's the idea behind cryptocurrencies - you're seizing your stake in this financial system.

I'm not an expert in business. But from a theoretical economic / ideological standpoint I'd argue that there's no fair way to limit sales of GPUs so that they don't go to farms. I think the best solution is to create dedicated mining hardware that disincentives the purchase of gaming GPUs.

But what do I know? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,301   +3,241
IF? Not IF, but WHEN, also:

Both of you, have fun buying those "cheap" used 100% 24/7 GPUs and see how long those "cheap" GPUs will last you from that point on...

This situation we are in now is the opposite of great and even when the crypto collapse will inevitably come (1 year?), not even then will it be great.. It's bad now and will still be bad then... for different reasons.

The only hope is that maybe at that time we can buy the new gen GPUs and have them in stock at MSRP, the 4000 nvidia series and 7000 AMD series.
My "24/7" mining GPU that I bought used off of ebay 3 years ago is still running perfectly. And so is its twin! And I paid only 40% of MSRP.

So please continue to trash talk them, so I can keep buying them cheap.
Thank you

WRT "gaming gpus should be sold to gamers", I'm not sure how that would be enforced. For one, what about hobbyists like me that us their GPUs to game after work and then set them to mine during work and sleeping hours? Or gamers that put together rigs from server parts?

I agree that the mining farms that are so frequently focused on these articles are not a good thing - not to gamers that can barely afford one PC for themselves, and not to me, who is wary about the rise of mining farms that centralize mining power in the hands of few, which goes against the ethos of decentralization. Unfortunately the power to discourage mining farms rests with Nvidia and AMD choosing to make many small sales to individual buyers rather than bulk sales to institutional buyers, which makes less sense to *them*. It's a very complex issue but snap, black and white judgements have the potential to do exponentially more harm than good to everyone, not just miners and gamers.
Well, the first thing you would do is impose a limit of 1 laptop per CC, per customer, AND per address, making it very difficult for miners to buy laptops in bulk as we see in the article. Same thing they should have been doing with CPUs and GPUs this whole time IMO.
 
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maxxcool7421

Posts: 7   +23
Unfortunate? I think this will be the best outcome, really.

If crypto maniacs start going bust, the price of video cards will collapse, which will be great for all computer buyers.

It feels like this article was written by someone who is a big proponent if crypto mining. And that's annoying.

And people will be victimized from buying hardware that has been run 24x7x100% for it's entire lifespan the only one winning is the miner.. everyone else loses.