In 2021, at the height of cryptocurrency mining, Nvidia released the Nvidia CMP 170HX. Designed as a compute-only card to accelerate Ethereum’s memory-hard Ethash Proof-of-Work mining algorithm with its 1500 GB/s HBM2e memory bus, Nvidia implemented the hardware using the GA100 silicon from their Ampere architecture. Thus, the CMP 170HX is essentially a variant of the all-mighty Nvidia A100, Nvidia’s top-performing datacenter GPU at that time.
Naturally, the existence of the CMP 170HX raised many questions, including its potential in applications beyond mining. Today, following the discontinuation of Ethash, these $5000 GPUs from closed mining farms are sold on second-hand markets for $400-$500 in China. It’s time to answer these questions.
This article contains a basic performance overview, a hardware teardown, a watercooling installation guide, and a repair log.
I’m glad smart people are at least trying to turn otherwise useless hardware designed for one of the most brazenly useless applications in human history into something potentially useful.