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Intel can produce cryptocurrency mining chips as long as it doesn't affect its own product supply

Intel can produce cryptocurrency mining chips as long as it doesn't affect its own product supply
 
    Intel just announced a brand new cryptocurrency mining chip. Intel's new chip, called Blockscale, promises to be more power efficient than other chips when it comes to SHA-256 hashing, which is most commonly used in bitcoin mining. Sounds great if you own a bitcoin mining farm. Although before you get frustrated with this, Intel at least says the production of this new chip won't affect the production of its CPUs and GPUs.

 
 
    That's because it's able to avoid any such compromises because of "the nature of the silicon that powers this technology." Assuming this means the process nodes that will produce Blockscale chips are different from those used by their CPUs and GPUs. This probably means it's using an older technology, but more likely it's using the closest node.
 
    Intel has previously outlined two generations of its cryptocurrency chips, called the Bonanza Mine. The first generation was more of a prototype, while the second generation was the basis for the Blockscale application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) we see today.
 
    The first-generation test cells have been confirmed to use the 7nm process node. Although this has not been confirmed to be Intel's own Intel 4 node or that of competitors such as TSMC. While Intel has its own manufacturing facilities around the world, Intel already buys supply through TSMC for its upcoming Arc GPU and other product lines, so this is likely the case.
 
    Intel hasn't confirmed which process Blockscale (2nd Gen Bonanza Mine) is using, but it has something to do with TSMC's 5nm process.
 
    This means that Blockscale may use a different process node than Intel's CPUs, which are mostly made by Intel's own foundries. and GPUs, which are made by TSMC, but may use a different process node capacity than their other products, or that won't affect further wafer capacity Intel gets with the company.
 
    yes. It sounds like Intel's chip supply won't be affected by this new mining chip. However, the capacity is still used up and we humans don't have much leeway right now.
 
    Nvidia has similarly pledged that its crypto GPU CMP won't interfere with its gaming GeForce supply, as they are expected to use chips that won't fit any GeForce SKU. Nvidia has reported that demand for these cards has slowed since launch.
 
    Although Intel's foray into cryptocurrency mining is interesting in itself. Not only has company executives, including Raja Koduri, general manager of Intel's Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, said that blockchain technology is a powerful tool for future computing, the company has also established a new custom computing group focused on accelerating workloads, including Cryptocurrency mining.
 
    As far as cryptocurrency ASICs are concerned, the Blockscale chips on which it has pinned some hopes look very efficient — that is, cryptocurrency mining is still a power-hungry job and requires power consumption comparable to that of an entire country — to 580GH/s and efficiencies up to 26 J/TH. While this only applies to a single chip, Intel touts higher speeds when many chips are combined into a single mining unit. A miner is expected to run at 135TH/s, which compares to the best of ASIC miners Bitmain.
 
    Of course, Bitcoin mining doesn't have much of an impact on the GPU supply today, as Bitcoin has moved away from the capabilities of the humble graphics card in favor of more powerful ASICs. Graphics cards were instead snapped up by ethereum miners because ethereum uses an ASIC-resistant algorithm.
 
    But as crypto mining profitability has slumped, even ethereum’s demand appears to have dipped. Whether that's the main reason we're seeing GPU restocking at major retailers is hard to say. However, at least 2022 GPU supply will look better.
 
    Jacob earned his first byline in 2017 for his tech blog in his native Wales. From there, he graduated as a hardware writer for PCGamesN, specializing in breaking things, where he later won command of the tool cabinet as a hardware editor. Today, as PC Gamer's Senior Hardware Editor, he covers the latest developments in technology and the gaming industry every day. However, when he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by camping.

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