NVIDIA: $100m to $300m worth of GPUs sold to miners in Q4

Posted on Thursday, Feb 25 2021 @ 09:45 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
During yesterday's fourth-quarter earnings call, NVIDIA CFO Colette Kress tried to quantify the impact of the booming cryptocurrency market. The prices of various crypto coins are going up at a stellar rate and this phenomenon is once again driving a lot of Ethereum miners to the GPU market.

NVIDIA claims it's hard to estimate how many GPUs are bought by miners because the firm has limited visibility at what video card makers and distributors do with inventory. Over the past couple of weeks, there have been reports that some NVIDIA add-in board partners directly sell to miners. Furthermore, there's evidence that the mining craze is so big right now that some miners are even buying GeForce RTX 30 series laptops in bulk to mine coin.

Kress points out that financial analysts calculated that crypto mining contributed about $100 million to $300 million to NVIDIA's fiscal fourth quarter. For comparison, NVIDIA generated almost $2.5 billion in gaming GPU sales last quarter. If the estimates are accurate, this means that a maximum of 12 percent of GPUs ended up in the hands of miners.

Demand for GPUs is very high right now and unfortunately, supply can't keep up. NVIDIA believes channel inventories will likely remain low throughout the firm's first quarter. Given that gamers are long-term clients, and miners are not, NVIDIA prefers shipping GPUs to gamers. As such, the company's new GeForce RTX 3060 has an anti-mining algorithm that aims to roughly halve the hash rate. The anti-mining algorithm is not solely a driver solution, but it remains to be seen whether it can be hacked via a software or hardware mod.

To capitalize on the crypto boom, NVIDIA rolled out a dedicated line of Crypto Mining Processors (CMP). These are basically Ampere-based cards without display connectors. Existing Ampere GPUs will not receive this limitation, but there are some rumors that NVIDIA may roll out new anti-mining SKUs of existing models. NVIDIA expects CMP will contribute about $15 million to its first-quarter revenue.
Analyst estimate suggest that cryptomining contributed 100 million to 300 million to our Q4 revenue were relatively small portion of our gaming revenue in Q4. Cryptocurrencies have recently started to be accepted by companies and financial institutions and show increased signs of staying power to address – to address industrial Ethereum mining demand, last week we announced a new line of NVIDIA CMPs or crypto mining processors. Shipments will start in March. CMPs lack display outputs and have other optimizations that improve crypto mining power efficiency. CMP products will let us gain some visibility into the contribution of crypto mining to our overall revenue.

For Q1, we estimate that CMP will contribute approximately 15 million. We plan to sell these products to industrial miners. We will quantify their contribution each quarter for transparency. - NVIDIA

NVIDIA: Most mining GPUs do not end up on second-hand market

Another interesting tidbit from the conference call concerns what happens to GPUs after a mining boom. NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang stated that, despite what was previously believed, most of these cards do not end up on the second-hand market. Huang points out that industrial-scale miners really believe in Ethereum, so when it becomes unprofitable to mine they don't sell cards but keep them in inventory for when the profitability returns. This allows Ethereum miners to quickly scale up again, without having to rebuy tons of cards.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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