Nvidia planned to shift $50 million worth of CMP, or Cryptocurrency Mining Processors (opens in new tab), in its first quarter of 2021. It sold $155 million. And if that wasn't a sign of the increasing demand for graphics cards intended for the sole purpose of mining virtual coins, Nvidia expects to more than double that figure in Q2 CMP sales.
During its Q1 2022 earnings call transcript (Nvidia's corporate calendar is very odd), Nvidia reports an assumed outlook of $400 million for CMP graphics card sales in Q2.
"To help address mining demand, CMP products launched this quarter," Colette Kress, Nvidia CFO, says (via Seeking Alpha (opens in new tab)). "Optimized for mining performance and efficiency because they don't meet the specifications required of a GeForce GPU, they don't impact the supply of GeForce GPUs to gamers. CMP revenue was $155 million in Q1 reported as part of the OEM and other category. And our Q2 outlook assumes CMP sales of $400 million."
The initial CMP cards, the 30HX and 40HX, were available in Q1, meanwhile the 50HX and 90HX arrive in Q2. That could explain the sudden increase in value, as the latter two cards are much more performant in mining.
The key bit there for us gaming lot is that Nvidia says that production of these chips doesn't hit that of GeForce GPUs. That is to say, these GPUs aren't cut out for life as a gaming GPU, so says Nvidia.
With a grand total of $555 million worth of CMP cards, that sure is a lot of GPUs not quite up to spec. Plenty to use up through other means if there hadn't been a mining boon, anyways. That concept is nothing new, however, and the performance/inventory balancing act would usually influence the product stack and what chip goes where. In the past, inventory decisions have even lead to GPU mismatches, such as the RTX 2060, which can occasionally be found housing the GPU of an RTX 2080.
Perhaps we'll see less of that with the RTX 30-series as miner's scoop up what's left on the cutting room floor. It's still early days, though, and mining hopefully won't stick around forever—Ethereum, the most popular crypto for GPU miners, is ditching mining altogether (opens in new tab) in a matter of months.