Crypto miners could target laptops next: Nvidia's mobile RTX 3060 Max-P GPU is actually fast enough for ETH mining
GPU crypto mining is not what it used to be back in 2017. For the most part of the last three years, altcoin prices remained low, and mining profitability was almost non-existent due to ever-increasing algorithm difficulties. However, Bitcoin’s price explosion that started in late 2020 also boosted the value of the other major altcoins like Ethereum, so we are currently seeing renewed interest in GPU-based mining, especially with the launch of the new generation of Nvidia and AMD GPUs. There is one huge issue, though. The new GPUs are heavily affected by ongoing shortages, and prices are nowhere near MSRP. Gamers are blaming scalpers and miners, while Nvidia and AMD are struggling to increase production. Now, based on some performance leaks posted on the Baidu forums, it looks like the new mobile GPUs are quite good at mining Ethereum, so maybe miners could direct their attention at laptop solutions as a more affordable alternative to desktop GPUs.
As it turns out, the mobile RTX 3060 SKUs actually come with more CUDA cores than the desktop models. We are talking about a 256 CUDA core difference here, but this is probably intended to compensate for the lower TDPs that can only reach 130 W on the mobile solutions versus the 170 W for the desktop ones. Even with the lower TDPs, the mobile RTX 3060 is able to reach 48.99 MH/s while mining Ethereum, which is almost as fast as a desktop RTX 2080 SUPER, or 19% slower than the new desktop RTX 3070. Apparently, these speeds were recorded with a Max-P version also benefiting from 14 Gbps memory overclocked 2125 MHz (17 Gbps effective speed). Still, the GPU was not running at full TDP, as it was limited to 105 W and the core clock was running at 1576 MHz. Mining speeds could possibly be improved with a maximum 130 W TDP.
Since the desktop RTX 3060 cards are expected to be available in late February, miners might first jump on the mobile versions, which should be available in early February. VideoCardz points out that the mobile solutions should offer better price/performance ratio, but this may not really be the case. Miners cannot buy the mobile SKUs without an actual laptop, so the final price would come close to a desktop RTX 3070 that currently costs more than $1,000. We must also consider the supplies. If Nvidia cannot really provide better mobile SKU supplies, miners could quickly upset laptop buyers, just as they did with the desktop gamers.