You can turn a NVIDIA CMP 50HX cryptomining card into a gaming GPU, but it’s not a good idea.
NVIDIA released its CMP (CryptoMining Processor) series at the leak of the previous mining craze. NVIDIA was looking for a way to sell partially broken cards at a very low cost to customers who do not need the fancy coolers or extended warranty. That way the CMP series were born.
NVIDIA launched as many as five different models featuring ether Ampere or Turing architectures and various CUDA configurations from 6400 to 1408 CUDA cores. What all these cards have in common, however, is the memory capacity between 6 to 10GB to meet Ethereum DAG file size.
NVIDIA CMP series
- CMP 170HX: GA100, 4480 CUDA, 8GB HBMe
- CMP 90HX: GA102, 6400 CUDA, 10GB G6X
- CMP 70HX: GA104, 6144 CUDA, 8GB G6X
- CMP 50HX: TU102, 3584 CUDA, 10GB G6 ⬅️
- CMP 40HX: TU106, 2304 CUDA, 8GB G6
- CMP 30HX: TU116, 1408 CUDA, 6GB G6
Sfdx Show recently purchased the CMP 50HX graphics card, equipped with a TU102 GPU and 3584 CUDA cores. It’s worth noting that these specifications are somewhat lower than the RTX 2080 Ti, which boasts 4352 cores and 11GB of memory. Nevertheless, this configuration should theoretically still deliver satisfactory performance in most games.
The CMP 50HX card, available on AliExpress for around 160 euros, theoretically offers the potential to be transformed back into a fully capable gaming card. Should that be the case, that could be an interesting alternative even to second-hand RTX models.
However, there are some important considerations to bear in mind before attempting such a transformation. The CMP cards come with a distinct BIOS and often with less efficient blower-type coolers. Moreover, they lack display connectors, limiting their use to virtual GPUs or secondary GPUs in specific scenarios.
Additionally, there are no official gaming drivers available for this GPU. To make use of it, one must engage in driver modification. This means the latest official drivers may not be directly compatible with the CMP series, but older modified 4xx drivers can be used, particularly when combined with a Windows system that doesn’t check for driver certification. Fortunately, repositories of modified driver binaries based on the latest versions can be found, which is what the modder used.
Sfdx managed to run a few games on this card, but the FPS performance was notably below what the TU102 GPU is expected to deliver. The main culprit behind this subpar performance is the limited PCIe lane width, which is restricted to just 4 lanes. Despite efforts to address this limitation, including soldering missing components and verifying the GPU’s lane connectivity, it appears that the GPU itself does not have these lanes enabled.
This decision might have been made by NVIDIA to prevent board partners from creating hybrid crypto/gaming cards once the cryptocurrency craze ends. By imposing these limitations on GPU specifications, NVIDIA effectively discourages such modifications.
This video shows that CMP cards can be used for gaming, but NVIDIA has taken steps to stop board partners from using these chips for gaming. Power constraints, PCIe limitations and limited driver support are some of the measures. As a result, modifying these cards may not be a practical choice, especially when more suitable gaming alternatives are available for only a slightly higher cost.
Source via Professional Review: