AMD making a Navi CMP -- and GlobalFoundries going public?

Posted on Monday, Mar 08 2021 @ 11:18 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
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Is AMD taking a page from NVIDIA's book by introducing its own Cryptocurrency Mining Processors (CMPs)? Last month, NVIDIA made some changes to its product portfolio by introducing Turing-based mining processors. At the same time, the green team nerfed the cryptocurrency mining performance of its new GeForce RTX 3060 video card by implementing a supposedly "unhackable" anti-mining algorithm. It's believed that future GeForce cards will get the same anti-mining protection to make gaming GPUs less attractive to miners.

AMD Navi 10 and Navi 12 mining GPUs?

Now there are indications about dedicated mining cards from AMD. VideoCardz reports evidence popped up in Linux kernel patches of Navi 10 and Navi 12 based graphics cards without display connectors.

Here's what Linux tech site Phoronix has to say about these device IDs:
– “Handle new NV12 SKU” – This change is in reference to Navi 12 coming to market and doesn’t support Video Core Next (VCN) video support as it’s going to be a headless SKU. Details on this headless Navi 12 SKU remain light and haven’t heard anything about it recently from AMD. This may be similar to the previously reported on Navi 10 “Blockchain” graphics card. That “blockchain” SKU added to the Linux driver at the end of last year also disabled the DCN and VCN driver paths since it’s obviously headless. Given NVIDIA just announced their CMP mining cards perhaps AMD will soon be announcing these Navi 1x Bitcoin mining SKUs… — Michael Larabel, Phoronix
Evidence for the Navi 10 mining GPU dates back to October 2020, the Navi 12-based model is new. The Navi 12 GPU was never released for the DIY PC market, this is a chip that was made for Apple, it's known as the Radeon Pro 5600M. Interestingly, the Navi 12 is the only Navi 1X series GPU with HBM2 memory. The original card only has 4GB RAM though -- which is not ideal for Ethereum these days.

Twitter leaker KOMACHI also claims AMD has mining cards in the works:
As noted by a known leaker KOMACHI, AMD has been working on RX 5700XTB, RX 5700B, and RX 5500XTB variants for Blockchain operations since at least November. Those could be the possible names of these new cards, but it is unclear if AMD wants its “Radeon” brand to be associated with mining.
We'll have to wait and see if these models make it to the market. It will also be interesting to see whether AMD will decide to limit the hash rate on its gaming series GPUs.

NVIDIA wins $1 billion crypto revenue lawsuit

On a related note, NVIDIA has just won a lawsuit against disgruntled investors. During the last cryptocurrency boom, way back in 2017 and 2018, the company saw major increases in the sales of its GeForce GPUs. Most of this revenue was attributed to big demand from gamers -- but later it turned out that miners were a much bigger growth driver than expected.

Investors sued NVIDIA, arguing that the green team deliberately hid the scale of its sales to the cryptocurrency mining market. Tom's Hardware writes a judge has now ruled in NVIDIA's favor:
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Nvidia misled investors over $1 billion in sales to cryptocurrency miners.

The lawsuit claimed that roughly 60-70% of Nvidia’s sales in China, its largest market, were to miners in 2017 and 2018. That alone might not have been an issue, but the company was accused of keeping the extent of the mining industry’s influence on its success a secret from investors by attributing those sales to its Gaming division.
Even today, how much GPUs end up in the hands of miners is a mystery. NVIDIA claims it has limited visibility on what its AIBs and distributors sell to miners. The company recently cited figures from financial analysts -- which point to $100 million to $300 million worth of GeForce GPUs sold to miners in the firm's fourth quarter. This compares to total GeForce revenue of about $2.5 billion during that quarter.

One thing is for sure, demand for gaming hardware is expected to remain high in the first half of this year. Everything from gaming GPUs, motherboards, and gaming laptops is heavily sought after.

GlobalFoundries planning an earlier IPO

With so much attention on chip shortages, GlobalFoundries' owners are smelling an opportunity and want to bring forward the foundry's IPO. Originally, the foundry planned to go public by late 2022 or early 2023, but the new plan is to make it happen by late 2021.

AnandTech reports GlobalFoundries expects to invest $1.4 billion this year in the expansion of manufacturing capacity around the world. GlobalFoundries is the fourth largest foundry in the world -- but the company is no longer in the cutting-edge process node race as it failed to keep up with TSMC and Samsung.
In any typical year, GlobalFoundries spends about $700 million on expansion of its production capacities, however growing demand for chips has made clear the need for faster than normal growth - as a result the company is to invest $1.4 billion on expansion this year. The money will be divided equally between GlobalFoundries' sites in Dresden, Malta (New York) and Singapore, according to Reuters. Production capacity is expected to increase by 13% this year and by 20% next year as a result of the increased funding.
At the moment, GlobalFoundries is owned by Mubadala, an investment vehicle of the Abu Dhabi government. GlobalFoundries largely consists of the former manufacturing arm of AMD. The latter spun of its fabs in 2009 and eventually gave up all shares to Mubadala because it didn't have the capital required to keep up investments in manufacturing capacityy.

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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