Ever-more powerful graphics cards are a boon to PC gamers and artificial intelligence programmers, but all that computing power can also come in handy when you're mining digital currencies like Bitcoin.
So graphics card maker Asus is planning to sell a version of its AMD- and Nvidia-based cards designed to cater specifically to the needs of currency fiends, CNBC reported on Tuesday. The Asus Mining P106 and Asus Mining RX 470 showed up on the company's website this week, although there's no pricing or availability information.
Asus describes the RX 470 as "seriously durable, enabling 24/7 operation for uninterrupted coin production." It's got an AMD Radeon RX 470 and 4GB of dedicated RAM. So it's not a card you'd count on to max out frame rates while playing a game at 4K resolution, but the combination of power and price should appeal to currency miners, who typically make a small amount of money by serving as a verification service for transactions that use digital currency.
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Each day, miners record transactions to the ledger and receive bitcoins for each block they record. It was once possible for individual miners to make large sums of money by "discovering" new currency, but those rewards have become increasingly difficult to come by. So a moderately-priced but powerful GPU could pique the interest of miners who know it'll take months or even years for them to recoup their hardware investment.
Opting for the Nvidia-powered P106 will increase dedicated RAM to 6GB, though most of the other specs match the RX 470.
Nvidia declined to comment on the new mining-specific GPUs, and AMD and Asus did not immediately respond to requests for comment. AMD told CNBC in early June the "newly resurgent cryptocurrency mining markets" were driving demand for its graphics cards.