The popular tech blogger Linus Sebastian from the Linus Tech Tips YouTube channel got a specialized graphics accelerator NVIDIA CMP 170HX, designed exclusively for cryptocurrency mining. The novelty turned out to be special in every sense.
As Linus points out, this graphics accelerator is not listed on the NVIDIA website, so it is impossible to download the same drivers for it from the manufacturer’s website. The map was given to him by the Vipera store. The cost of the accelerator is $ 4700. In the same place, the technoblogger received the necessary driver for his work.
Unlike other models of specialized video cards of the CMP series, which are produced by NVIDIA partners, the CMP 170HX model is produced directly by NVIDIA itself. The card lacks an active cooling system, since its purpose is server racks, already equipped with the necessary ventilation system, which should remove heat from the massive copper radiator of the video card. The blogger did not find a server rack, so Linus had to print a special casing on a 3D printer, and then install it on the video card along with a fan to cool the accelerator components.
Like the previous CMP series cards, the CMP 170HX does not have any external video connections. An additional interesting detail of the accelerator is its equipping with an 8-pin auxiliary power connector. Only it is not PCIe, but the same as for powering the processor on the motherboard. The set includes a special adapter.
Linus took apart the card and found that it was based on the GA100-105F GPU. The GPU-Z utility was unable to determine all the characteristics of this chip. However, she pointed out that it uses 4480 CUDA cores. This processor is a significantly stripped-down version of the GPU used in the NVIDIA A100 SXM data center accelerators and has 6912 CUDA cores. The latter is manufactured using TSMC’s 7nm process technology, and not Samsung’s 8nm process technology, like all Ampere series gaming video cards.
An equally curious detail of the CMP 170HX chip was its equipment with a huge heat-distributing cover, which covers the entire area of the GPU PCB. This is explained by the fact that under it there is not only a graphics chip, but also two HBM2e memory chips with a total volume of 8 GB, with a bus width of 4096 bits and a maximum bandwidth of 1493 GB / s.
During the tests, it turned out that the CMP 170HX lacks support for all graphics APIs. It doesn’t work with DirectX or Vulkan. Also, despite having CUDA kernels, the card refused to work in Blender software.
With a declared power consumption of 250 W, the performance of the video card in Ethereum mining is about 165 MH / s. At the same time, the card does not allow any manipulations to change the frequency of the GPU and memory. It is only allowed to optimize its energy consumption. For example, when the power indicator drops to 200 W, the accelerator produces 160 Mh / s.
Linus calculated that in all possible optimizations, the CMP 170HX will pay off in about 378 days. At the same time, outside the cryptomarket, the video card is of no value.