Cryptocurrency miners have been encroaching on gamer grounds primarily by snatching up desirable graphics cards, leaving behind scant inventory and inflated price tags. Will motherboards be next? It might already be happening, though at least one company is catering to miners with specialized BIOS updates on a handful of gaming motherboards.
That company is MSI and it is now offering custom BIOS files for several higher-end motherboards that it has deemed suitable for mining. They include the Z170-A Pro, Z170A SLI Plus, Z170 Krait Gaming, Z170A Krait Gaming, Z170A Krait Gaming 3X (pictured above), Z270-A Pro, and H270-A Pro.
According to MSI, crytpocurrency miners find themselves in a bit of a bind when it comes to choosing a motherboard.
"With the rise of Bitcoin/Ethereum mining, AMD graphics cards once again became one of the top-selling graphics card series in the market. However, it is relatively harder to acquire the economic mining motherboard due to the fact that Intel slowly discontinued the H81 and B85 chipset, and this caused the shortage of mining motherboards in the market," MSI explains.
MSI says that miners have been turning to motherboards based on Intel's 100-series chipset. However, even though miners have been able to get these boards to successfully recognize as many as six graphics cards, in many cases three or four of them would have exclamation marks next to them in the Device Manager in Windows.
"And, of course, the cards with exclamation marks would not function properly during mining. MSI consistently heard such inquiries from customers," the company added.
This is what led MSI to test some of its motherboards for mining, and then develop customized BIOS updates for them. With the appropriate BIOS applied, the affected motherboards are better equipped to handle many graphics cards, though there are some specific settings and steps that MSI recommends. Those settings and steps are outlined here.
Hopefully this doesn't mean that motherboards will be in the same short supply as graphics cards as more people get into mining. There is a bit more wiggle room in the motherboard market, as unlike graphics cards, miners only need one motherboard for a fully loading mining system.