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Nvidia sold fewer CMP mining GPUs than it expected

Nvidia's Jen-Hsun Huang
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia held an earnings call covering the second quarter of 2021, where it managed record-breaking revenues, particularly when it came to gaming (via Seeking Alpha). Demand for Nvidia's gaming GPUs continues to outstrip supply, resulting in the green team managing record gaming revenues of $3.06 billion, up 85% from the same period last year.

Nvidia did release the RTX 3080 Ti and the RTX 3070 Ti in that time period, which helps explain why it's done so well. We preferred the non-Ti versions of both cards, but there's no getting away from the fact that the market is absolutely desperate for graphics cards right now, regardless of how good they are.

Given how good the 30-series is, I can't help wondering how much more Nvidia could have made if supply wasn't such a problem. And you know, if cards were selling at something close to their MSRPs. Although if that was the case, then maybe AMD would have had a few more cards out there to make this a fair battle. Guess we'll never know!

When asked about when the problems with supply would end, Jensen echoed what other silicon manufacturers have been saying lately: "I would expect that we will see a supply-constrained environment for the vast majority of next year is my guess at the moment."

A sobering answer for sure, although probably a realistic one. 

Maybe Intel entering the graphics card market at the start of next year will ease the demand for Nvidia's GPUs a little, but there are a lot of unknowns about the first Alchemist GPUs so one shouldn't assume the market will instantly shift towards it. We'll have to wait and see how the new contender's hardware measures up.

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Back to Nvidia though, you may be wondering what percentage of that gaming revenue is made up from people buying graphics cards for cryptocurrency mining? It's hard to totally unpick what those cards are being bought for, although Nvidia has tried to dissuade miners with its Low Hash Rate GPUs.

Nvidia also introduced its CMP cards specifically for miners when it introduced those LHR offerings, so it can at least track those numbers. Nvidia says it 'only' sold $266 million worth of its CMP cards though, which is lower than the $400 million it expected to make in the period.

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Given that the market for crypto hasn't exactly dried up, that could indicate that buyers aren't too interested in cards that have limited resell value. No gamer is going to want a CMP card, as it doesn't even have a video output. Meaning that Nvidia's attempt to dissuade miners from buying gaming GPUs may not have worked. It'll be interesting to see if Nvidia continues down this CMP and LHR path—LHR GPUs were recently hacked as well, although that wouldn't have affected the second-quarter sales.

Regardless, it's still looking like a lucrative time to be in the graphics card business. Something that will probably continue until stock returns to normal levels.

Alan Dexter

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.