Older NVIDIA (NVDA) Product Tops New AMD (AMD) Product in Bitcoin Mining - RBC

June 6, 2017 7:18 AM EDT
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RBC Capital analyst Mitch Steves had an interesting take on NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) vs. Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD) as it relates to cryptocurrency mining and the power consumption from GPUs. The analyst found that despite comparing an older Nvidia product (GTX 1070) to a newer AMD product (Radeon Rx 580), they found that Nvidia's product allows for more performance when adjusted for electrical costs.

As a thought experiment, Steves used cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin and Etherum) to represent an increased need for power efficiency. He notes increasing workloads cause more demanding power consumption (data center vs. high performance desktop) which emphasizes the importance of long-term power efficiency.

"To make the comparison difficult for Nvidia, we compare the GeForce GTX 1070 (June 2016) to the AMD Radeon Rx 580 (Released April 2017)," the analyst commented. "In a small scale environment (mining Etherum) the profitability is higher given that the Network rate is materially lower at ~38K GH/s when compared to Bitcoin at 4.858 billion GH/s. This simplistic example shows the de-minimis impact of electrical costs for environments that are not mission critical. Importantly, if we switch to building a full Data Center environment, electrical costs become increasingly more important (Bitcoin environment) and the older Nvidia GPUs outperform AMD over the course of a year."

Meanwhile, the analyst notes Nvidia's DGX-1 is significantly faster. "Despite using basic GPUs in this example (retail accessible product) we note that Nvidia's new Tesla V100 has 21B transistors (compared to just 7.2 transistors on a GTX1070). In addition, we note that a data center environment would require a DGX-1V with 8 Tesla Voltas (replacing 400 servers) further emphasizing the 1) increasing workloads, 2) power requirements and 3) importance of computing power."

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