Nvidia’s recently released CMP cards designed for cryptocurrency mining brought in more than $155 million in revenue in the company’s first fiscal quarter. Sales of cryptocurrency mining cards are projected to reach $400 million in the current quarter.
The company originally launched its CMPs (cryptocurrency mining processors) as a way to distract Ethereum miners from buying up limited inventory of gaming video cards. While CMPs are not designed for use in computers, they can be used to mine Ethereum currency. The company, like others in the semiconductor industry, is having trouble supplying its gaming graphics cards, including the recently released RTX 3000 series of GPUs. The CMP release was part of Nvidia’s effort to divert cryptocurrency miners away from its core line of graphics cards, thereby keeping a limited supply for gamers.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said the company’s core gaming business is the largest he has seen, and Nvidia can’t risk upsetting gamers by having cryptocurrency miners siphon off the company’s limited GPU inventory, according to a report on CNBC. The CEO said he hopes CMPs will do their part to meet the needs of miners.
It’s unclear how much money Nvidia has received in total from cryptocurrency miners. In addition to $155 million in CMP sales, miners also bought traditional GPUs, which are traditionally designed for games, workstations and data centers. In one case, a mining rig consisting of 78 RTX 3080 GPUs generated $20,000 a month in revenue for one miner.
Since then, the company has made other efforts to separate crypto mining and gaming, including adding a hash rate limiter to GeForce RTX gaming cards to limit their appeal to miners. Nvidia has been criticized by its gaming fans because of the limited availability of its latest graphics cards, which are based on the Ampere architecture, and supply constraints. Combined, these factors make Nvidia’s GPUs hard to come by, and industry insiders expect that shortages are likely to continue into next year.
However, Nvidia CFO Colette Kress doesn’t want to blame miners for the GPU shortage, noting that it’s difficult to determine the extent to which cryptocurrency has affected demand, according to a CNBC report. The worldwide pandemic likely contributed to supply constraints, making it difficult for Nvidia to produce cards, and scalpers also affected GPU prices.
Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3000 series starts at $399, though prices can go as high as $1,499 for a top-of-the-line configuration. Impatient gamers who don’t want to wait for Nvidia to restock their cards have resorted to secondary markets such as eBay, where scalpers ask for double or triple the suggested retail price of the card.
Because of the huge demand for GPUs, Nvidia’s core business is still healthy. The company reported that revenues were up 106% over the previous year.
And despite the shortfall, Nvidia is believed to be introducing new GPUs at Computex in June, and there are rumors that the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti could be unveiled at the show in Taiwan.