At least one warehouse in China is packed with hundreds of gaming laptops all working away on the same task: mining cryptocurrency.
Pictures and video from Weibo user BTCer (via Videocardz (opens in new tab) and Twitter user harukaze5719 (opens in new tab)) show the gaming laptops in action. There are a handful of pictures (opens in new tab) of upturned gaming laptops inside a house, covering most of the floor and furniture, but it's a video from the same user (opens in new tab) that shows the true extent of laptop farming. In that you'll spot hundreds of laptops sitting atop of one another on shelving units within a small warehouse, in a configuration that's sure to make even the most hardened laptop gamer squeamish, and all plugging away at collecting crypto.
Last week, the same user also posted a smaller collection of gaming laptops (opens in new tab) setup for mining. In these pictures, you can also see makeshift at-home cooling in the form of heaps of PC fans hooked up together and stuck inside a window.
It's no secret that cryptocurrency mining on gaming hardware has come back like a bad rash, and unfortunately that means increased demand for powerful graphics cards.
Bitcoin surged in value towards the end of 2020 and into 2021, although that was swiftly followed by a sudden decline in value as the market corrected somewhat. It's once more on the rise, however, as recent interest from billionaire Elon Musk, including direct investment from Tesla buying into the currency, has sent prices skyrocketing.
Some believe the value will only further increase over the course of the year, while some signs indicate a larger-than-life evaluation for the cryptocoin, which is starting to feel the pressure from regulators.
Yet these laptops pictured are not mining Bitcoin. They're mining Ethereum, a cryptocurrency that enjoyed a significant rise in value a few years back—later becoming the crypto of choice for at-home miners—before once again gaining value alongside Bitcoin.
pic.twitter.com/XJrfH9Fx7VFebruary 9, 2021
Even during the great crypto-boom just a handful of years ago, when GPUs were once again gold dust, we never saw anything quite like a mining farm running entire gaming laptops.
One would assume that's due to the lack of more suitable desktop graphics cards, which can be stacked together for an optimal hash rate using specially designed motherboards plastered in PCIe ports.
The laptops pictured are reportedly those from Chinese manufacturer Hasee (opens in new tab), although it's not clear what can actually be found running inside them.
It's also unclear whether the practice of picking up gaming laptops for cryptocurrency mining has gained much traction among those running the biggest mining farms, and as such the actual impact it may have on availability is not clear. It's probably not a good sign, though, as there's clearly a quick buck to be made mining crypto even with high-price per unit gaming hardware and not enough discrete GPUs to go around.