Nvidia's GTX 1060 GPU is coming out of retirement to mine cryptocurrency

Nvidia GTX 1060
(Image credit: Nvidia)

The venerable Nvidia GTX 1060 looks like it might be making a return to the GPU crypto-mining coal-face, with Palit today registering a whole bunch of new P106 cards with the Eurasian Economics Commission. The original Nvidia P106 cards were introduced at the height of the mining boom times in 2017. 

They were purely designed for mining Etherium using the same Pascal-based GPU that powered the immensely popular GTX 1060—the GP106 GPU.

(Image credit: Future)

Looks like Palit might have tracked the GP106 down to the farm that the aged mercenary disappeared off to back in the haze of 2018, bringing it out of retirement again for one last big job. I can see a grizzled, cigar-chewing GPU being dropped into a mining rig, growling "I'm getting too old for this shit…"

The original Palit P106 cards had slightly different product codes, with these newly registered versions sporting a similar designation to the GTX 16-series cards. Though I doubt these will be updated to use the TU116 GPU, otherwise we'd be seeing the P116 listing instead.

Back during the last big cryptocurrency mining craze both AMD and Nvidia responded to the then-unprecedented demand by massively upping its GPU manufacturing, though when the bottom fell out of the market second-hand cards started flooding the market. That meant no-one wanted to buy new cards, which left both the green and red teams—and their graphics card partners—with a huge amount of excess stock sitting in warehouses across the globe. 

That was one of the big reasons Nvidia's Turing generation took so long to get released, and why you can still buy AMD RX 570 graphics cards today.

But the P106 GPUs were effectively dumb GTX 1060 cards with the outputs lopped off as they weren't designed to plug into displays. That made them useless for anything other than mining, and gave them no resale value without crypto as a going concern. 

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Nvidia has itself announced it's releasing specific CMP cards specifically for GPU mining, as a way to take the pressure off the GeForce market, and that those GPUs are a mix and match of one Ampere chip at the high end and a bunch of older Turing silicon making up the bulk of the Nvidia CMP lineup.

The P106 GPUs aren't bad Etherium mining cards if you bunch them up, after all. The lowest of Nvidia's Turing-powered CMP cards comes in with a hashrate of 26MH/s while the P106 holds its own with a listed hashrate of around 24MH/s.

So, it's possible that encouraged Palit to dust off a warehouse full of unsold P106 cards and try to capitalise on the shortage with a bunch of cheap GPUs.

It is worth noting, however, that EEC listings, especially from Palit, have the potential to be more speculative than concrete in terms of cards that will actually hit the shelves. The EEC doc lists 12 different product codes, while, as far as I know, the company only released a single P106 card back in the day.

Though it is a powerful potential hint that Palit is bringing a P106 card out of retirement, and the fact the P106 is even being mentioned at all makes me think a rerelease is coming, it's still by no means a dead cert.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.