Why are AMD’s GPUs so good at Mining?

It’s all about the int’s…

AMD Radeon Logo 2013If you’ve ever wondered what secret sauce allows AMD’s Radeon chips to so handily out perform Nvidia’s offerings when it comes to crypto-currency mining operations then look no further than this slide. Basically the performance gap is a product of AMD’s focus on integer compute performance, and Nvidia’s relative lack of interest in that aspect of GPU performance. To be clear this is not a software issue, but rather an architectural design trade-off that Nvidia made to de-emphasize integer compute in order to meet their other design goals.


We reached out to the developers of a few different GPU miners who asked to remain anonymous but were all clear on the fact that until Nvidia’s GPU architecture is redesigned with greater per core integer compute performance their GPUs will always be at a major disadvantage to AMD’s chips in mining applications. Of course integer compute is but one aspect of GPGPU performance and Nvidia obviously has strength in other areas. Nonetheless it’s clear that at least for the foreseeable future AMD is the only game in town for crypto-currency mining.S|A

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Thomas Ryan is a freelance technology writer and photographer from Seattle, living in Austin. You can also find his work on SemiAccurate and PCWorld. He has a BA in Geography from the University of Washington with a minor in Urban Design and Planning and specializes in geospatial data science. If you have a hardware performance question or an interesting data set Thomas has you covered.