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AMD destroys Nvidia at Bitcoin mining, can the gap ever be bridged?

by on May 28, 2013
 

BTC-PerformanceExtremeTech takes a look at the popularity of GPU Bitcoin mining and wonders why AMD routinely stomps NVidia in every bitcoin benchmark.

Ouch. The Radeon 7790, a $149 GPU, offers 80% of the GTX Titan’s performance for 15% of its price. The Radeon 7970 is twice as fast at half the price. Even the CUDA-accelerated kernel doesn’t bring Nvidia hardware into the same league as AMD’s — a point hammered home if we compare system power consumption. Keep in mind that the Titan is a 7.1B transistor GPU with a 561 mm sq die. The fact that the Radeon 7790 nearly matches its performance at 112 sq. mm and 2B transistors points to a fundamental bottleneck within Titan’s architecture as the source of the problem.

I ran an experiment a few years ago and found identical results using hardware back then. Of interest is how does this difference in performance translate over to other GPGPU compute-loads, like traditional HPC?  Bitcoin mining is an SHA-style process, heavily integer based, and that’s one of the main reasons AMD wins.  Most HPC workloads are not integer based, relying heavily on floating point (or even, *gasp* double-precision).  In these workloads, Nvidia comes out the far winner.

Now, if researchers find ways to translate their floating-point problems into integer problems (perhaps via Fixed-Point math?), then NVidia may be in trouble.  But for now, I think Nvidia is content to let AMD keep their reins over the Bitcoin markets.

AMD destroys Nvidia at Bitcoin mining, can the gap ever be bridged? | ExtremeTech.