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ASRock’s New Pickaxe

ASRock has entered the mining market with its H110 and H81 motherboards, both of which are viable mid- and low-end options for your mining rig. The company has recently revealed its Phantom Gaming series and confirmed to Coindesk four mining graphics processing unit (GPU) variations which are built on AMD’s 14nm FinFET architecture.

What does ASRock have to offer?

The release of its motherboard range offers increased stability and scalability for mining rigs. The H110 model offers a combined total of 13 PCIe slots to host your GPUs. Compared with conventional motherboards, this is a vast improvement as they often have limited slots available and are not always stable in multi-GPU support past 2x SLI. A first glance of the mining series leaked specs (below)  don’t reveal much of the edge these cards may have. The core clock speeds are consistent across the models and are similar if not lower than existing RX 570 models (1340 MHz). You cannot gauge overclock (OC) potential from specifications alone, as this will be determined by the production standard of the chipsets.

Mining card specs

Performance and features

Graphics processors have varying build qualities which result in increased stability for higher overclocks. If memory manufacturer information is as readily available at the point of sale (as above), getting your hands on the perfect card may not be down to luck. Samsung is known in the mining community for producing more stable memory and would be the first choice due to its greater earning potential. Miners are specifically interested in overclocking potential, as it results in increased performance. Higher core clocks mean more hashing power to find more blocks within the blockchain. Memory-dependent algorithms like ones used for Ethereum mining do benefit from memory OCs. Notably, there is an 8GB variant (256 memory bus) but as far as performance goes for mining, cards with a lower memory bus will start to see a decline in performance. Once benchmarks are available, we can have a more accurate comparison of the effectiveness of the cooling and overall performance of the cards.

The GPU market

It will be interesting to see what the card has to offer in the existing competitive market. Will better prices be offered for mining variants? Will this sway miners to purchase this variation over gaming alternatives? Or will they opt for the ASIC alternative? ASRock seems to be looking to gain a segment in the expanding GPU market. With the card based on the popular mid-range 500 series, it will be a welcome addition and increase the variety in the market. With current GPU production limited by a lack of GDDR5 and HBM memory, new market additions will unfortunately not solve the GPU crisis.

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