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August 5, 2017

New AMD Vega cards may be best yet at cryptocurrency mining, could sell out fast

by John_A

Why it matters to you

If you want an AMD RX Vega card, it would be a good idea to order one early, as they could sell out fast.

AMD’s upcoming generation of RX Vega graphics card may be destined to have the same fate as its predecessors — selling out quickly due to the interest of cryptocurrency miners. A source has claimed the cards could be as much as four times more efficient than previous AMD mining cards, meaning we could be heading for another graphics card gold rush.

One of the most frustrating trends for gamers and hardware enthusiasts this year have been price rises for cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, which have caused midrange graphics cards — particularly those from AMD — to sell out or sell for ridiculous prices. Miners love graphics cards because they are by far the most efficient way to mine cryptocurrency, easily beating even the quickest CPUs from AMD and Intel.

Because miners make a profit, they can afford to pay more for a graphics card. With the AMD Vega generation of cards looming, that problem may be about to repeat itself.

While not confirmed by AMD or its partners, this rumor stems from a statement made by British hardware retailer OCUK’s purchasing manager, Andrew Gibson. He said that based on statements made by an AMD partner he’d spoken to, the “rumored hash rate on Vega is 70-100 per card.” As PCGamesN highlights, that’s between three and four times what an RX 580 is capable of.

This would be quite a surprise if true, as the Vega Frontier Edition card that let down a number of excited AMD fans with its gaming performance was said to have quite middling mining performance. It’s possible with tweaks and driver optimizations that Vega RX cards are far better than that, but that has yet to be shown.

Although Ethereum prices have come down in the past couple of weeks, it’s still possible that even if Vega isn’t as good at mining as the rumors suggest, it will still be a popular buy for those building huge mining rigs. That could lead us once again to gamers being out of luck when it comes to upgrading.

Some steps to combat the problem suggested by other OCUK forum members fall in line with moves made by Gibson and OCUK when we spoke to him previously about graphics card pricing. The main one people want to see is restrictions on the number of cards people can buy, though forum members also want to reserve their Vega cards in advance.

It may be that we’ll see mining-focused Vega graphics cards released in the future, though there hasn’t been much word of that. AMD has said it wants to launch Vega with a lot of stock so that no one misses out. Only time will tell if that plays out.

AMD Vega cards are set to go on sale on August 14.




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