Remember those times Graphics Cards were used for mining? Yep. Bitcoin topped over $10,000 (19,783.06) a coin in mid-December of 2017! Etherium coin, which is kind of a GPU exclusive currency, reached $1,448 a coin in January 2018. Although most of the cryptocurrencies have died out by now, some are still on the rise. And one of the most popular and easiest ways to mine these things is by using a GPU.
Since you’ll always have a CPU around (You can’t really run a PC without a CPU), the fastest way to level up your farming game is to get a GPU.
But the GPU prices because of cryptocurrency mining were over the charts! Nvidia decided to counter this issue in their own exclusive way by developing a Mining-exclusive series.
These are cheap GPU cards don’t have any display outputs. In other words, you can use these cards for their power, to compute stuff, but you can’t render on them. At least, that was the theory.
Linus Tech Tips recently did a video on one of these Nvidia cards, the Nvidia P106, which comes without an HDMI port and all display capabilities have been disabled in its own firmware.
Now of course, he didn’t use a normal version of the Nvidia P106 Mining GPU, but a Chinese modified version of the Nvidia P106 mining GPU, that claims to have a modified version of the firmware, allowing you to use video output, if you can.
The basic theory that Linus wanted to test was if you could really use your integrated GPU (Intel or Ryzen) as a bridge of sorts.
Basically, the Nvidia P106 Mining GPU would be used for the big labor while your iGPU would be the middle-man and sell all that performance to your PC. It took Linus (and his guest friend, Anthony) some very uncomfortable steps to finally get the GPU to work.
The card actually worked and had amazing performance. When compared to the most similar card, Nvidia GTX 1060 6 GB edition (Linus used the eVGA version), which costs around three times what this mining card does, this card’s performance is absolutely mind-blowing.
Linus tested out Shadow of the Tomb Raider, on 1980×1080 resolution (max settings), without Motion Blur, and there was a mere 3-5 FPS difference, which was possibly due to the fact that the iGPU was being used as a middleman and that this mining card wasn’t overclocked.
They had to DDU all the previous GPU drivers (which ultimately means that you possibly won’t be able to SLI this thing). The next step was that they would need to install custom drivers on their P106 (be careful, the firmware linked is Nvidia P106 Mining GPU exclusive. You can’t use it on any other cards).
Then, they had to set the P106 graphics card as the default graphics card for their game. You can find a link on how to do that here on: Changing Default Graphics Card to Dedicated GPU.
Do note that you may need to disable Secure Boot, if you wish to install unsigned, custom drivers on your Windows PC. Disabling secure boot is definitely not recommended as you may become vulnerable to a lot of viruses and malware, so only do that if you know what you’re doing.
Of course, this raises a lot of questions in the Gaming world. Why is a card with this level of performance being sold for so cheap. Or rather… why are the consumer graded graphics cards so expensive?
Will we have to shift to the mining graphics card world and find ways, just like this one, to make gaming affordable? In this era of ever-so-expensive graphics cards, are geeks like Linus Tech Tips our only option?