Cryptocurrency miners drive high demand for AMD CPUs with large L3 caches

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Now that cryptocurrency miners and their scalpers alike have managed to take all of our precious GPU stock, it seems they are now betting on another thing that gamers appreciate: AMD CPU supply. According to a report in UK Bitcoin PressPart of the reason it’s so hard to find a latest generation AMD CPU for sale anywhere is because of a crypto currency called Raptoreum that uses the CPU to mine instead of an ASIC or GPU. Apparently, its mining is greatly accelerated by the large L3 cache built into CPUs such as AMD Ryzen, Epyc, and Threadripper.

Raptoreum was designed as an anti-ASIC currency, as they wanted to keep the more expensive hardware solutions out of their blockchain as they believed it reduced profits for everyone. To do this they chose the Ghostrider mining algorithm, which is a combination of Cryptonite and x16r algorithms, and the addition of unique code to make it highly randomized, hence its preference for L3 cache.

In case you didn’t know, AMD’s high-end CPUs have more cache than their Intel competitors, making them a hot item for miners of this specific currency. For example, a chip like the Threadripper 3990X has 256MB of L3 cache, but since it’s a $ 5,000 CPU, miners are settling for the still-robust Ryzen chips. A CPU like the Ryzen 5900X has 64MB of L3 cache compared to just 30MB on Intel Alder Lake CPUs and just 16MB on 11th Gen Intel chips. Several AMD CPU models also have this amount of cache, not just flagship silicon including the previous generation Ryen 9 3900X CPU. However, really affordable models, like the 5800X, only have 32MB of L3 cache.

According to Raptoreum Mining Profitability Calculator, just one AMD 5950X can generate 181 Raptoreums per day, which at its current price is around $ 4. That means you could theoretically pay off the cost of the CPU in about six months, aside from electricity costs. AMD CPUs are also favorable in this situation, not only for their L3 cache but also for their excellent performance per watt, as they have been more efficient than Intel chips for some time, although of course the company hopes to change that with Alder Lake. However, Bitcoin Press notes, “Rough estimates of power consumption for the Ryzen 9 3900X system are rated at 190W at OC settings,” which is arguably better than any CPU currently on the market.

Making things potentially even worse, AMD’s next update for its Ryzen CPUs it will include the addition of V-cache, which is an L3 cache stacked vertically on the die, with 64MB per chiplet. These L3 updates are sure to make its chips even more desirable for Raptoreum miners, assuming the currency still exists when the updates arrive in early 2022.

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