Asus and Sapphire offer digital pickaxes to crypto-miners

Do you want a graphics card? Well, how do you feel about grossly over-paying for it? If your answer was "no thanks," you're out of luck, because folks hurriedly hashing out cryptocurrency have bought up every reasonably-priced graphics card on the market. Perhaps in a bid to both serve those customers and get graphics cards into the hands of gamers again, Asus and Sapphire have released some graphics cards specifically built for cryptocurrency mining.

Asus appears to have two boards available. One of the cards is called the Mining-P106-6G and is based on Nvidia's GP106 GPU. Curiously, there is no mention of GeForce or Pascal anywhere on this card's product page, and the only time Nvidia's name comes up there is on the specifications section. The Mining-P106-6G has no video connections at all, as befits its intended purpose. Besides that omission, the card otherwise matches the GeForce GTX 1060's reference specifications to a tee, down to the 1708 MHz boost clock and 6 GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 8 GT/s.

Asus' second pickaxe-oriented offering is the Mining-RX470-4G. Unlike its green-team cousin, this card actually has video output, in the form of a lone DVI-D port. Like its cousin, the Mining-RX470-4G appears to be a bone-stock reference card—this time using a Radeon RX 470 as its base—with most of the display connections stripped off and a big fat dual-fan cooler bolted on. The card boosts to 1206 MHz and comes equipped with 4GB of 7-GT/s GDDR5 memory.

While Asus' cards are up on the company's homepage, our buddies over at PC Perspective noticed pre-order listings on Overclockers UK for four Sapphire cards equally aimed at cryptocurrency miners. The Sapphire Radeon RX 470 Mining Edition comes in four versions: two cards with 4GB of memory and another two versions with 8GB. There are two models for each memory capacity because you can get the cards in their standard versions, or one that specifically uses faster Samsung memory. OCUK actually lists the cards by hashrate—that is, mining speed—and the cards with Samsung memory are apparently good for slightly higher rates than their siblings. 

All four Sapphire RX 470 Mining Edition cards have a slight factory overclock applied, giving them a maximum boost clock of 1236 MHz versus the 1206 MHz of the reference design. Regardless of capacity or vendor, the RAM all runs at 7 GT/s. None of these cards have any display connections, so you'll need to have some other video adapter in the system. Finally, there's also a Radeon RX 560 Mining Edition card that appears once again to be a standard example of its species. Like the Asus RX 470 card above, it comes with a single DVI-D connection.

OCUK's listings actually indicate that the Sapphire cards support Crossfire, which could be an interesting application for one of these boards once crypto-currency mining is no longer profitable and dozens of them end up on the used market. Just don't buy one of these cards now with that aim in mind: the cheapest RX 470 Mining Edition card goes for £249, or around $260 after VAT and the exchange rate are accounted for. Thanks to PC Perspective for the heads up.

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