The two new cards are designed specifically for the purposes of mining and can handle the 24/7 usage and related heat issues brought about by continuous mining. While Asus does not name any coins in particular, it will be best suited for coins that already are mined by GPUs such as Ethereum, Zcash, and their clones.
Do note that Bitcoin, Litecoin (Scrypt) and other coins which use mining hardware utilizing ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits), will of course still be best mined with that dedicated hardware as these new cards will offer only a modest increase in hash-rate performance compared to their normal gaming counterparts.
Some of the features unique to the Asus dedicated mining cards include:
- Dual-Ball Bearing Fans run smoother by reducing friction, further improving 2X longer card lifespan and cooling efficiency.
- IP5X-Certified Fans for dust resistant and longer fan lifespan.
- Industry Only Auto-Extreme Technology with Super Alloy Power II delivers premium quality and best reliability.
- GPU TWEAK II allows you to modify GPU clock, memory clock and voltage to gain the best hash rate.
According to Asus, the Mining RX470 will be available worldwide starting in July 2017, while the Mining P106 card will only initially be available in China and Eastern Europe around the same time period.
Sapphire, another large GPU manufacturer, also recently announced similar plans to launch dedicated mining GPUs with 4 different configurations of RX470’s (4GB, 8GB and 4 GB Samsung, 8 GB Samsung) and a RX560 (4 GB).
The timing of these releases is probably due in no small part to the recent retail shortage of recent model graphic cards, both Nvidia and AMD, due to the inrush of new home miners. This has led to a situation where even non-miners or the traditional enthusiast or gaming market segment have been frustrated as they are either unable to upgrade or have to pay a heavy premium to obtain the latest GPUs. I suspect Asus is hoping to offload some of that pressure by releasing these dedicated cards.
While this is a welcome sign as it means large GPU suppliers are now directly supporting cryptocurrency mining, I fear it may be a bit late.
As mentioned before, due to the recent inrush of new miners the most popular GPU mine-able cryptocurrency, Ethereum, has seen its network hashrate, and thus difficulty, rise to record proportions. As long as the price of a single Ethereum continues to stay high, this will only be sustainable for a little longer, however if the price drops, or even continues to remain flat, the ever increasing difficulty will soon make mining unprofitable.
When this point is reached, not only will the market for new dedicated mining GPU’s dry up, but the second-hand market will become flooded with recent GPUs as miners leave the space, forcing the retail price of the cards to also drop.