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Even the rarest Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPUs are being sold for crypto mining

Asus RTX 3080 ROG Strix Gundam
(Image credit: @I_Leak_VN)

As hard as it is to find where to buy the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, some limited edition models are even rarer than the mass-produced variants. And yet, even these exclusive graphics cards are still being marketed and sold to crypto miners over regular PC owners.

As spotted by VideoCardz, a Vietnamese computing store has been photographed cramming multiple Asus RTX 3080 ROG Strix Gundam cards — some of the rarest GPUs around — into mining rig-ready racks.

The Asus Gundam series, a crossover with the iconic Japanese sci-fi franchise, only had a limited production run in Asia. The series’ graphics cards are therefore both highly sought-after and extremely expensive, even by the bloated standard of generic GeForce RTX 30-series pricing: prices as high as $3,000 have been listed on eBay.

You’d think a combination of vast expense and even greater scarcity than usual would make Asus Gundam cards a less attractive target for miners. But apparently there’s no GPU prestigious enough that it can’t be put to work mining cryptocurrency. Especially not when these particular models launched before Nvidia started adding hash rate limiters to its cards, intentionally crippling mining performance for certain currencies.

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It’s a costly workaround, then, but evidently not an entirely unappealing one. Twitter user I_Leak_VN posted the original photos, showing up to eight RTX 3080 ROG Strix Gundam units squished into a rack. These appear to be designed so that they can slot easily into a pre-existing, large-scale mining operation; you can see the fan mounts for adding ventilation, given the cards themselves will be too close together for their onboard coolers to be effective.

Over in China, a government crackdown on crypto mining has been so forceful that miners are selling off their graphics cards at list price or lower. In Vietnam and elsewhere, though, the draw of Ethereum or other crypto riches will likely continue proving strong, making the latest graphics cards even harder to buy for personal use.

James Archer

As Audio Editor, James covers headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. His favorite musical genre is rock, despite once claiming the guitar is “too complicated” for humans to play. He plays bass instead.