AMD Will Not Artificially Limit Radeon 6000 Crypto Mining Performance And Here's Why

msi radeon rx 6900 xt
If you've been keeping up with the news surrounding the cryptocurrency mining craze, then you know that there are currently two separate "tracks" on the NVIDIA side of the equation. On the one hand, NVIDIA has introduced the CMP HX Series of headless graphics cards explicitly built for mining for cryptocurrencies like Ethereum.

On the other hand, the company has implemented a mining limiter on the newly released GeForce RTX 3060,which cuts the ETH hash rate in half (although that limiter was quickly defeated with a beta driver). With NVIDIA using a combination of hardware, BIOS, and driver tweaks to cripple mining performance -- and hence cut down on demand from that segment -- some are curious to know if AMD will go the same route in future RDNA 2 releases (and beyond).

The quick and simple answer is a resounding "no." According to AMD Director of Product Management Nish Neelalojanan, "[AMD] will not be blocking any workload." While that is good news at face value, AMD doesn't exactly need to put an actual hardware/software limiter on GPUs like the Radeon RX 6700 XT and Radeon RX 6800 XT to limit the appeal to cryptocurrency miners. The company's design choices during development mean that RDNA 2 GPUs are a relatively poor choice from a performance/efficiency angle.

ASRock AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT 3

"RDNA was designed from the ground up for gaming, and RDNA 2 doubles up on this," added Neelalojanan during a Radeon RX 6700 XT pre-briefing that we attended. "Infinity Cache and a smaller bus width were carefully chosen to hit a very specific gaming hit rate. Mining specifically [scales with] higher bandwidth and bus width, so there are going to be limitations from an architectural level for mining."

We've already seen this first-hand with the Radeon RX 6700 XT's alleged ETH hash rate of just 43 MH/s, compared to 54 MH/s for the previous generation Radeon RX 5700 XT (RDNA). The Radeon RX 6800, Radeon RX 6800 XT, and Radeon RX 6900 XT have ETH hash rates of 58.7 MH/s, 59 MH/s, and 60.38 MH/s, respectively. In comparison, NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3090 are dialed in at 98 MH/s and 121.16 MH/s, respectively, according to Minerstat. So, dollar-for-dollar, it doesn't make sense to mine with an RDNA 2 graphics card.

High-end graphics cards from both AMD and NVIDIA remain hard to obtain from retailers and sell at 2x to 3x their MSRP on third-party marketplaces. While NVIDIA's supply woes seem to be a combination of gamer and cryptocurrency mining demand, the RDNA 2 shortfall is likely to be driven overwhelmingly by gaming enthusiasts.