As anyone who was in the market for a GPU between 2020 and 2022 would recall, the prices of graphics cards skyrocketed due to the high demand from miners. This shortage was exacerbated by factors related to the pandemic, with GPUs being particularly sought-after for Ethereum mining. Fortunately, the situation started to improve in September 2022. However, as we find ourselves well into 2024, a new mining crunch seems to be emerging, this time centered around CPUs, specifically the AMD Ryzen variety.

An analysis by Wccftech delves into the mining profitability of several proof of work (PoW) coins that are best mined using CPUs. The profitability of mining has seen a surge following Bitcoin reaching new all-time highs. This uptick in profitability has a ripple effect on the alt-coin market. Despite some of these coins being considered of low value, the potential for financial gain attracts miners, subsequently driving up the demand for PC hardware.

At present, the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X is sold out on Newegg, with a list price of $741, exceeding its original launch price of $699. This price point also surpasses the current price of the 7950X3D at $592. The fact that supply issues persist over a year after the 7950X’s launch indicates a significant demand-side factor at play. The primary driver behind this increased demand appears to be mining activities.

The RandomX algorithm used by Monero and other PoW coins has led to a dominance of high core count AMD chips in CPU mining. Benchmarks conducted using XMRig highlight the favorable performance of AMD CPUs, particularly the Ryzen 7000-series, in mining activities. These CPUs exhibit strengths such as large amounts of L3 cache, AVX instructions, and power efficiency, making them highly appealing to miners.

With the possibility of miners increasingly turning to CPUs for mining activities, the availability of Zen 4 chips for gamers may still be maintained at an affordable price. However, there are concerns regarding the upcoming Zen 5 models from AMD. The potential adoption of AVX-512 could further enhance the mining performance of AMD chips, surpassing those of Intel competitors lacking AVX-512 support. Speculation also surrounds the release of low hash rate versions of Zen 5, akin to Nvidia’s LHR graphics cards.

As Bitcoin continues to rise and capital flows into the crypto market, the profitability of both established and lesser-known cryptocurrencies is expected to increase. This scenario poses a challenge for individuals planning to purchase high core count Zen 5 CPUs in the coming months. The evolving landscape of cryptocurrency mining and its impact on CPU availability remains to be seen as the situation continues to unfold.


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