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AMD CPUs Caught in Cryptocurrency Mining Frenzy as Bitcoin Soars

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Just when you thought the great graphics card shortage was over, another crypto mining craze is emerging - and this time, it's AMD's powerful CPUs caught in the crosshairs of insatiable demand.

As Bitcoin scales new heights and cryptocurrencies experience a renaissance, miners have turned their attention to alternative digital coins that can be profitably extracted using high-performance processors. AMD's gaming-focused Ryzen chips, with their bounty of cores, ample cache, and energy-efficient design, have become the jackpot targets.

At the center of this frenzy is AMD's flagship Ryzen 9 7950X processor, a 16-core beast lauded for its potent content creation and gaming capabilities. But its attributes also make it a crypto mining juggernaut, capable of generating up to $3 per day in profit mining the relatively obscure Qubic coin after accounting for energy costs, analysts estimate.

The intense demand has already sparked product shortages and price surges. The 7950X is currently sold out at major U.S. retailers like Newegg, Best Buy and Micro Center, with availability scarce even for in-store pickups. On Newegg, the chip's price has inflated to $741 - over $40 above its $699 launch MSRP from over a year ago.

"It's a disturbing callback to the great GPU drought of 2021, when graphics cards became nearly impossible to purchase at reasonable prices due to crypto miners scooping up the entire supply," said Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, AMD's chief rival. "Now it seems the mania has extended to CPUs as well."

While the current shortages are isolated to AMD's highest-end desktop processors, there are growing concerns about the impact on the company's next-generation "Zen 5" CPUs slated for later this year. Leaked specifications indicate Zen 5 will double the AVX-512 performance vital for certain mining workloads compared to Zen 4, making the chips even more enticing for industrial-scale mining operations.

"AMD could face immense demand that quickly depletes supply channels, especially for flagship 8-core and above models," said Anand Srivatsa, chip analyst at Gartner. "We may even see a return of 'lite hash rate' anti-mining countermeasures from AMD, akin to Nvidia's LHR GPUs, if the situation escalates."

For average consumers, yet another crypto-induced silicon scarcity could make upgrading gaming rigs or multimedia workstations an even costlier endeavor over the coming months. The crisis could also shift the battle for desktop performance dominance in Intel's favor, as leaks suggest their upcoming Arrow Lake CPUs will lack AVX-512, reducing attractiveness to miners.

As the crypto wildfire rages, all eyes are on AMD to deftly manage supply and demand for its highest-performance chips. One misstep could mean its powerful new products being hoarded by cryptocurrency prospectors rather than reaching the hands of legitimate PC enthusiasts and professionals. With great mineral-extracting power comes great responsibility in Silicon Valley.

About author

Kelvin Maina

Kelvin Maina is a dedicated content creator. He has a Bsc. Computer Science, and has worked for companies such as Investingcube.com, and cryptopolitan.com as a financial research analyst. At Shortfi, he mostly focuses on the latest technologies, gadgets, and technologies companies making progress in advancing humanity through innovation.

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