ASRock, the Taiwanese hardware giant is supposedly entering the cryptocurrency mining market and the GPU market, according to a leaked slide tweeted by the graphics hardware oriented site Videocardz. In the tweet, they show a series of gaming cards, and the segment to which the product is oriented is clearly mining.
In the leaked slide we can also see that something rather interesting is detailed: the memory manufacturer alongside the memory clocks, something that it is not detailed on normal GPUs oriented for the gaming market, because memory overclock-ability is not an issue there. Some manufacturers make their memory chips using better processes and therefore, their chips overclock better than the other. With this move, ASRock is giving that information to the potential buyers so they can choose it beforehand. Mining is an activity where memory overclocking can lead to significant gains in performance, as opposed to gaming, where only marginal gains can be achieved.
ASRock is a reputable brand (the third motherboard brand worldwide, according to Wikipedia) and it entering the GPU market with these cards is big news. But this move in the actual state of the market does not seem very wise. Clearly, these AMD cards are directed to the Ethereum miner enthusiast; but the Ethereum market is being disrupted by the announcement of the launch of Bitmain’s ASIC Ethash miner. The E3 is, according to its specs, vastly superior, cheaper and efficient than any GPU rig out there. So, maybe they had decided on a date for the launch and this took them for surprise.
With Bitmain occupying the ASIC market for Ethereum, the demand for GPU’s for this same purpose is expected to drop significantly. Of course, this considering that no hard fork has been announced or even proposed in the Ethereum dev community.