People interested in mining cryptocurrency with computer graphics cards may want to pay attention to AMD — not just because its cards are usually cheaper and more competitive compared with NVIDIA, but also due to its new model set to be released soon. Though unconfirmed, rumor has it that its new RX Vega 64 drivers will increase every card’s hashing power. If true, that would be a major development.
Massive Performance Boost With New AMD Drivers?
It is always interesting to see how software updates can impact the way computer hardware behaves. Graphics cards, for instance, can be made a lot more efficient through software tweaks. In most cases, the gains are negligible, but every now and then a major upgrade comes through that proves to be a game changer. It appears the updated RX Vega 64 drivers will improve hashpower by a significant margin. In fact, the cards could reach a hashrate of 70-100 MH/s if true, which would make them by far the most powerful cryptocurrency mining cards in existence.
This news first surfaced on the VideoCardz website, which purportedly has it “on good authority.” This sort of news always needs to be taken with a few tablespoons of salt, as it is a “he said she said” kind of rumor. Then again, these indications are often somewhat right, which could spell an interesting future for cryptocurrency mining. Gamers and video editing professionals who rely on AMD GPUs will not be too pleased with this updated driver, as they will battle over card availability with mining enthusiasts.
The AMD Vega Frontier card has a mining performance of roughly 30MH/s. That is incredibly competitive, as the Geforce GTX 1080 TI is only a hair faster and has a steeper price depending on where one lives. However, the new driver update would somehow more than double the mining capacity and still leave room for improvement. If this card is capable of hitting over 70 MH/second for Ethereum mining purposes, things will get very interesting in the near future.
When rumors like these arise, the obvious question is how this boost is achieved. Boosting the hashing power from 30MH to 33MH is a 10% increase, which is not impossible. Doubling or even tripling its capacity without hardware upgrades is seemingly impossible to achieve, unless AMD has been holding the card back for quite some time now. The AMD Vega frontier card packs a ton of performance in other departments already, which could explain a thing or two.
It is possible AMD made this decision — perhaps subconsciously — to limit the card’s cryptocurrency mining performance. Just because a graphics card may be a beast for gaming does not necessarily mean it will be effective for cryptocurrency mining as well. It is possible this driver update simply unlocks its full mining potential, although that is mere speculation right now. Until the driver is released and someone posts its hashrate, we will have to wait and see whether there is any truth to this “news.”
The bigger question is how this change would affect the GPU market altogether. We have already been seeing GPU shortage issues over the past few months due to cryptocurrency miners buying up all the available stock. Ever since that time, the price of mineable cryptocurrency has been declining steadily. This performance boost would be good for AMD as they would sell more cards, but not necessarily good for Ethereum. More people mining would push up the difficulty and increase the number of coins miners would have to sell in order to break even. This could send the ETH price crashing to US$150 or lower, depending on how big of an impact the driver makes.