Skip to main content

25% of the GPUs sold in the first part of 2021 went to crypto miners

Cryptocurrency mining was a major driving force of add-in board (AIB) graphics card sales in 2020, and that trend is continuing in 2021. A new report from Jon Peddie Research (JPR) says that miners purchased around 700,000 high-end and midrange cards in the first quarter of the year, totaling a market value of around half a billion dollars.

JPR calculated the number of cards sold by using the trending attach rate of graphics cards and the actual attach rate of graphics cards. With data showing a clear spike in 2017 and 2018 — when the previous crypto boom happened — this model can tease out a fairly accurate estimate of how many graphics cards miners are purchasing. In Q1 2021, the trending attach rate was around 30%, while the actual attach rate was above 45%. Given the model, JPR predicts around 25% of all GPUs sold in Q1 2021 went to miners.

Graph of trending and actual GPU attach rate in Q1 2021.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s important to clarify that the model doesn’t take into account “casual” miners. According to JPR, the model doesn’t include gamers or other users who may use a graphics card for mining on the side. The attach rate method, instead, looks at the number of graphics card sales that didn’t go inside a traditional PC and were instead used as part of a dedicated mining rig.

JPR points out Nvidia’s dedicated CMP crypto-mining cards and the Lite Hash Rate (LHR) GPU featured on new RTX 30-series graphics cards as way to lower demand and protect the company from “another 2018-style crash.” Last week, JPR released a report showcasing the growth in GPU sales in Q1 2021 and warned chip suppliers of a potential market crash. Nvidia’s efforts could help avoid a stock crash similar to the one the company experienced in 2018.

The report contrasts Nvidia’s approach with AMD, which hasn’t taken any specific steps to combat cryptocurrency mining demand. Although AMD’s stock crashed in 2018, it didn’t crash as far as Nvidia’s. With a thriving CPU business that’s separate from any crypto mining, AMD doesn’t seem concerned with its stock price should the market crash.

Regardless, it’s clear that cryptocurrency miners are still a major driving force of GPU sales and demand. Nvidia recently bolstered production of RTX 30-series cards, likely in response to the falling prices of popular coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum. It remains to be seen, however, if demand from miners will drop throughout the rest of the year.

Editors' Recommendations

Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
Nvidia fined $5.5M for allegedly hiding crypto impact on GPU sales
Cryptocurrency mining rig from computer graphic cards.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has fined Nvidia $5.5 million for allegedly failing to disclose the influence crypto mining had on its GPU sales during 2018.

The agency said it settled charges against Nvidia “for inadequate disclosures concerning the impact of cryptomining on the company’s gaming business.”

Read more
GPU shipments soared in 2021, but getting one was impossible
Three graphics cards on a gray background.

The GPU shortage and the inflated prices for graphics cards had no impact on the industry’s shipment volume during 2021. In fact, the amount of boards shipped last year actually increased by a considerable amount compared to 2020.

As reported by Tom’s Hardware and GraphicSpeak, unit shipments for add-in boards (AIBs) in 2021 reached the 50 million mark. Comparatively, 42 million units were shipped in 2020, which is when various aspects such as the pandemic, supply chain bottlenecks, and logistical issues all contributed to a GPU shortage.

Read more
Hackers try to cash in on crypto mining tool for Nvidia GPUs
Cryptocurrency mining rig from computer graphic cards.

Contained within the data that was stolen from the Nvidia hack is reportedly the algorithm behind the company’s crypto mining limiter for its GPUs. The hackers who orchestrated the cyber breach itself are now attempting to sell a tool based on the blueprint for a hefty fee.

LAPSUS$, which is said to be a South American hacking group, posted a new message on its Telegram channel where it’s been providing any developments surrounding the hack. Embedded in the latest update is an offer to buy the tool it claims to be in possession of for a flat $1 million.

Read more