How in the heck can something be good, but bad at the same time? One not-so-subtle example is when a product is targeted at one audience, but disappears from store shelves due to another. I’m of course talking about currency mining, and the current craze of running as many GPUs at one time as possible in order to maximize potential revenue. It’s paid off handsomely for some, but for others, it’s prevented them from getting a new graphics card for gaming.
During a group briefing with top Radeon brass last weekend, someone asked AMD about its thoughts on miners snatching up all of the cards. Many have come to believe that AMD simply doesn’t care about gamers, or that the company’s happy regardless of who buy its products. The company shot that thought down quick, saying that it does care about the gamer, but it has no control over how its cards are sold once they’re in etailer hands.
A follow-up question asked whether or not AMD would consider gimping part of its driver so that the cards are alluring to gamers, but not miners. The answer should have been obvious: no. AMD said that if it decreases the compute performance on its cards, then that directly cripples performance in games, and that’s out-of-the-question.
So with all of that in mind, how does the news that Vega could be incredible for mining strike you? “Geez, Rob. Exaggerate enough?” Nah, bear in mind that a GTX 1080 Ti peaks at 31 MH/s (per TechSpot), whereas Vega 64, per an etailer, is suggested to hit 70-100.
It’s implied that AMD has made enhancements to Vega that allow these incredible gains to be seen, but at this point in time, I’d suggest holding off for more official information. If it’s true that Vega can reach such heights, there is no question that they’ll fly off the shelves and into the hands of miners quicker than you can make a Bitcoin purchase.
When AMD announced its Vega series last weekend, it introduced different “Radeon Packs” that would let people shell out an extra $100 to get two games and a couple of (at time of purchase) discounts on a Samsung monitor, Ryzen 7 processor, and an AM4 motherboard.
It’s been assumed that the existence of these Radeon Packs would help thwart miners from snatching up every last card, which would imply that there is dedicated stock for these packs. That’s unfortunate for those who don’t want anything in the pack but see the standalone cards sold out – assuming it’ll happen, and let’s be honest, it’s going to. It was going to before this rumor of more than doubled mining performance hit the web.
AMD might have limited control over etail sales, but it feels like someone needs to do something to make sure actual Radeon fans are able to get Vega at launch. A one-per-customer limit wouldn’t fix the issue, but it’d sure help, and it’d be a simple mechanic to implement. Thinking that will happen could be naive, though, because at the end of the day, if miners buy the cards en masse, prices go up, and that’s great for the etailer selling them.
We’ll see what happens…