The GeForce RTX 3090 is currently one of the most expensive graphics cards on the market, but that hasn't stopped cryptominers from snapping up available stock and contributing to the ongoing GPU shortage. With the recent boom in Ethereum prices, cryptocurrency mining has exploded in popularity over the last few months – resulting in some ludicrous builds.
The most recent of these attention-grabbing rigs was created by a group of Vietnamese cryptocurrency miners, who are clearly not content with using stock cooling fans or even water coolers, instead opting to submerge eight RTX 3090 GPUs in a tank of mineral oil.
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Well oil be
... with oil cooling = the craziest mining ever in the worldhttps://t.co/beYwz9pAux@elchapuzas @hms1193 @harukaze5719 @hardwareluxx_de @nbc_net @VideoCardz https://t.co/QSSaUxOPwG pic.twitter.com/WVW3dNmo7CMarch 10, 2021
This particular build was spotted by @I_Leak_VN , who posted a video of it in action to Twitter. It's hard to decipher the specifics of what temperature or voltage is being used due to the fuzzy quality of the video, but it seems to be operating and running some GPU tuning software.
Mineral oil cooling does have certain advantages over water or air cooling, in that you can ensure all components are cooled to the same consistency, but this doesn't make a submerged system the best option. We can't imagine the group who created this build will be happy to clean off every component to resell, which could leave them in a sticky (or greasy?) situation when the current cryptocurrency rush falls off a cliff.
The process to create such a rig is extremely time-consuming and certainly not the nicest thing to look at, but mineral oil has been shown to potentially give your PC components some longevity – an important factor for miners who are trying to make the most out of their investment, especially as undervolting is already an established technique used when mining cryptocurrency to keep parts like GPUs running for longer. LinusTechTips actually has a video series running through how you could cool your PC using this method if you choose.
If you've attempted to buy graphics cards like the new Nvidia RTX 3080 or AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT since they released in late 2020, then you've likely been unsuccessful. While the stock shortage is due to a combination of factors, such as slow production, automated bots and scalpers, many gamers looking to get their hands on the latest GPUs are especially not taking kindly to cryptominers looking to make a quick buck.
Efforts are being made by companies like Nvidia and MSI to create purpose-made mining products to keep gaming card stock available for the PC gaming community. Whether this will be successful or not is unforeseeable, and it's likely we will continue to struggle to acquire these GPUs for some time.
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Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.