While there are several reasons why gamers are unable to find graphics cards anywhere near their MSRPs, a recent boom in cryptomining certainly plans a crucial part. Nvidia is claiming to take steps to reduce some of their cards’ desirability to miners, but AMD product manager Nish Neelalojanan made AMD’s position clear in a press pre-briefing: “We will not be blocking any workload, not just mining for that matter.”
That said, Neelalojanan also clarified that both the RDNA and RDNA 2 architectures were designed exclusively with gaming in mind. Their cards’ capabilities are tuned to optimize gaming performance, so there will be some inherent limitations, including bus width and bandwidth, that place bottlenecks on mining performance.
Still, the calculus behind mining is simple: If a card can generate more in mining than the power it takes to run, miners will be interested. AMD’s cards may or may not match the performance of their Nvidia counterparts, but profit is profit, and miners are sure to keep an eye on any new GPU release as long as cryptocurrency prices remain high enough.
AMD’s comments come as the RX 6700 XT is launching, and some reporting indicates that supplies will be less limited than the RX 6900 XT and RX 6800. However, it seems all but inevitable that gamers looking for a new card will be competing with miners for the foreseeable future.