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AMD may soon offer Navi 10 and Navi 12 headless GPUs for cryptocurrency mining similar to NVIDIA's CMP HX cards

AMD may introduce Navi 10 and Navi 12 mining SKUs soon. (Image Source: AMD)
AMD may introduce Navi 10 and Navi 12 mining SKUs soon. (Image Source: AMD)
AMD could be introducing mining-specific headless GPUs similar to NVIDIA's new CMP HX cards, according to recent patch notes spotted in the AMDGPU Linux kernel driver. While we've already seen a Navi 10 being indicated for blockchain before, the new driver refers to a Navi 12 SKU without VCN implying that AMD may offer several mining-specific RDNA1 cards to ensure gamers get some respite.
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With increasing concerns of cryptocurrency miners lapping-up most GPUs, which themselves are scarce to come by these days, GPU makers are looking at ways of catering to both miners and gamers by segregating their product offerings. We recently saw NVIDIA introduce the CMP HX GPU that is squarely aimed at miners, so that gamers may have a better chance at buying GeForce Ampere cards. Looks like AMD may also follow suit.

Phoronix has discovered patch notes for a new AMDGPU kernel driver that indicates changes to what appears to be a Navi 12 or NV12 SKU. NV12 is a "headless" graphics card, meaning it lacks support for Video Core Next (VCN) and display outputs. The entry in the new driver for Linux kernel 5.12 reads, "Handle new NV12 SKU". These changes seem to be similar to the Navi 10 "Blockchain" graphics card (NV10) indicated last year, which also lacked VCN and Display Core Next (DCN).

So far, the only Navi 12 GPUs available are the Radeon Pro 5600M in the Apple MacBook Pro 16 and the Radeon Pro V520 workstation card. Navi 12 also offers two stacks of 4 GB HBM2 VRAM each (394 GB/s) while Navi 10 uses GDDR6 memory (448 GB/s). Both Navi 12 and Navi 10 feature 40 compute units or 2,560 stream processors.

With AMD cards already known to be better than older generation NVIDIA contemporaries, these headless GPUs may find good acceptance among miners. Pushing RDNA1 for mining ensures better availability of RDNA2 for gamers as miners obviously wouldn't be needing features such as ray accelerators or Infinity Cache.

While this is a good move in general, it does not really stop miners from getting their hands on what they think is the best GPU choice for their mining rigs. Besides, it once again brings forth the concerns of e-waste as these headless cards do not have any resale value and cannot be repurposed for gaming once the crypto craze eventually dies down.

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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1353 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 03 > AMD may soon offer Navi 10 and Navi 12 headless GPUs for cryptocurrency mining similar to NVIDIA's CMP HX cards
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2021-03- 6 (Update: 2021-03- 6)