The global chip crisis has a lot to do with the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is correct to attribute part of the responsibility, at least in the GPU sector, to the phenomenon of cryptocurrency mining, which is skyrocketing again in this period. between NFT and new Bitcoin value peaks and the like. NVIDIA pushes on dedicated CMP cards and says that in the future it will implement hardware limitations to prevent its RTX from being used in contexts outside those for which they were designed, but the latest product presented by Bitmain could help ease the pressure on a sector in trouble.
It’s called Antminer E9 , and it’s an ASIC designed specifically for mining Ethereum, one of the hottest cryptocurrencies of the period. With a rate of 3 GH / s, it is extremely more powerful than its predecessor E3 (180 MH / s) , and above all equates to the beauty of 32 GeForce RTX 3080 . The advantages do not end there: again compared to the array of NVIDIA cards, whose total TDP is close to about 7,500 W, Antminer E9 consumes about 1/3 of the current – 2,556 W, to be precise, according to the official promotional video, for a efficiency rating of 0.85 J / M.
Bitmain did not say when the system will be available for purchase or how much it will cost: prices are assumed to be between 20,000 and 30,000 dollars . Here too, in short, there could be significant savings compared to the purchase of GPUs – especially in this phase in which prices are extremely inflated compared to the price lists, precisely due to the limited availability on the market.
On paper, there should be no reason to prefer a mountain of GPUs to this ASIC (while we’re also considering the space occupied), but things aren’t that simple. The cryptocurrency market is very volatile , and ASICs are by no means adaptable. You can’t convert an ETH miner into one of, say, BTC, while GPUs can. In other words, the system may be available when the industry’s interest has already shifted to other shores – and in any case there will hardly be enough of them to have a decisive impact on the GPU market on their own. Of course, it is always better than nothing: who knows that the collective effort of everyone will allow us to return to normal in acceptable times.