AMD's new GPUs could be good news for gamers – and cryptominers

Close-up of Radeon logo on a Big Navi graphics card
(Image credit: AMD)

AMD is set to start 2022 with a number of new products, including two new graphics cards and the company's first dedicated cryptomining card.

Over the weekend, Lenovo may have accidentally revealed AMD's Radeon RX 6500XT by posting specs for its Legion T5 gaming PC with the unannounced graphics card on its site. Now, we have concrete evidence that the new card is inbound thanks to a Eurasian Economic Commission filing from Powercolor. 

According to the filing, not only is the Radeon RX 6500XT on its way, but the RX 6400 might be close behind it. Both GPUs have several SKUs listed in the filing, though they are all listed as having 4GB VRAM.

We've been expected the Radeon RX 6500XT for some time now, as AMD's arch-rival Nvidia is reportedly getting ready to launch its RTX 3050 desktop GPU. With CES 2022 right around the corner, there's no doubt that both AMD and Nvidia will want to start off the year with a bang, and it'll be good to see some new budget cards drop for a change.

But wait, there's a crypto-mining card, too

In addition to these new consumer-focused cards, a new AMD cryptomining card has been spotted in the wild – though it's about as expensive as you can imagine. 

Spotted on the online retailer AliExpress by Russian tech site 3D News, the new AMD BC160 graphics card is a dedicated cryptomining card (BC stands for Blockchain Compute) rather than a consumer GPU.

According to Videocardz, the BC160 cryptomining card is built off the Navi 12 GPU, which is made with TSMC's 7nm process, and features 2,304 Stream Processors, two stacks of 4GB HBM2 memory with a 1,024 bit bus, and a memory bandwidth of 512GB/s.

This gives the card a Ethereum hash rate of about 70MH/s. That puts it between the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 and the RTX 3080 Ti, which have an average hash rate of 60MH/s and 83MH/s, respectively, according to cryptomining resource Kryptex.

With a retail price of $1,999 on AliExpress, this puts the AMD BC160 closer to the RTX 3070 in price, according to Kryptex, while offering a decent bang for the buck in terms of hash rate.

Radeon RX 6700 XT

(Image credit: AMD)

Analysis: some positive news on the graphics card front?

There's no getting around the fact that it's been a tough year for gamers hoping to get their hands on graphics cards. Between scalper bots and cryptominers hoovering up all of the stock online, Nvidia Ampere and AMD Big Navi seemed destined to become a lost generation of graphics cards – a series of cards more talked about than actually seen.

Fortunately, there are a bunch of new budget graphics cards coming down shortly, and while they won't be nearly as powerful as some of the higher-end cards that everybody really wants, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT, and AMD Radeon RX 6400 all look promising in terms of performance-for-price.

And, since these are fairly underpowered cards, the odds that cryptominers are going to be especially interested in them is likely to be pretty long. Add to that the rollout of more graphics cards designed explicitly for cryptomining, and there's good reason to hope that maybe the demand pressure on the graphics card market might soon be easing up.

Obviously, you have to take any hope with a grain of salt, and even though Nvidia is confident the second half of 2022 will look better for gamers looking to buy new graphics cards, we've been disappointed before, so the best advice is to keep an eye on these cards, but expect them to sell out just as fast as the rest of this generation's graphics card line-up.

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).