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Graphics cards are currently in such high demand that Nvidia has attempted to placate its gaming community by asking retailers to put gamers before miners, and this hardware is either sold out, on pre-order only or overpriced by many sellers.
Gamers may be frustrated, but the demand for graphics and ASIC chips capable of supporting mining rigs used to mine cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin — in the days when it was financially viable for average consumers to do so — Ethereum, and others, also represents an opportunity for manufacturers.
Samsung has stepped up its game in the processor industry recently, having recently booted Intel off its perch as the top semiconductor manufacturer worldwide.
It seems, however, that the South Korean tech giant also wants a slice of the cryptocurrency business to stay top dog.
Speaking to TechCrunch, a Samsung representative confirmed that the company is now manufacturing ASIC chips suitable for mining rigs.
“Samsung’s foundry business is currently engaged in the manufacturing of cryptocurrency mining chips,” a company spokesman told the publication. “However we are unable to disclose further details regarding our customers.”
The company, however, declined to offer further comment.
Korean local media reported earlier this month that Samsung completed the design for the ASIC chip in 2017 and began mass production in January.
Samsung has also reportedly secured a contract with an unnamed Chinese Bitcoin mining hardware company, potentially to supply chips suitable for commercial mining rigs.
Dedicated chips designed for cryptocurrency mining are more efficient than graphics cards as the latter was never developed for such tasks. Miners — at least, commercially — have begun to move away from graphics cards and towards ASIC hardware, but for miners in the general population, graphics cards are still the most accessible.
Samsung is already mass producing 10-nanometre 16Gb GDDR6 DRAM which can make mining more efficient through graphics cards, but a potential shift towards dedicated chips could be a fresh revenue outlet for the company as long as interest in cryptocurrency stays strong.
Samsung also recently announced the production of the Eyxnos 9810 application octa-core processor, a chip with AI-supporting features and four 2.9GHz cores.
Previous and related coverage
- Samsung commits to unlock the FM radio chip in future phones
- Samsung begins production of AI-boosted Exynos 9
- Samsung pushes aside Intel, snaps up top spot in memory market: Gartner