The GPU market has been booming in recent months, and now the coveted cards are emerging in the hands of Chinese smugglers. TVP News reports that the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department intercepted a fishing boat outside Hong Kong International Airport and blew up a contraband ring that was carrying up to 300 Nvidia CMP 30HX graphics cards.
In a scene torn straight from Mission Impossible, Hong Kong authorities chased the group of smugglers in a speedboat in the early hours of the morning. Although the smugglers escaped, the owner of the boat loaded with goods did not. Among the typical feeds for smugglers, including exotic foods, skin care products and smartphones, Hong Kong authorities confiscated 300 unlabeled graphics cards in the raid at 2 a.m.
The cards appear to be the Cryptocurrency Mining Processor (CMP) from Nvidia or, more precisely, the CMP 30HX. The 30HX is the lowest in the range with an advertised Ethereum hash rate of 26 MH / s.Although the CMP 30HX is not available in the US, it was spotted at a retailer in Dubai for $ 723. That's $ 219,600 worth of graphics cards.
In some cases, a GTX 980 and GTX 1660 both have a higher Ethereum hash rate. These cards shouldn't cost more than $ 200, but both typically sell above the $ 500 mark in second-hand markets.
It is clear that gamers and enthusiasts were not the target of smuggling. Without video outputs, the CMP 30HX is well suited for cryptocurrency mining and nothing else. Maybe the mining market is bigger than most expect, or maybe consumer GPUs just aren't available for smuggling. Regardless, one thing remains clear: GPU demand is at an all-time high.
The smugglers were also made aware of other changes in the world of technology. Along with a torrential number of graphics cards, Hong Kong officials confiscated several kits of system RAM, likely in preparation for DRAM price hikes that lie ahead.
The owner of the ship was arrested by the authorities, but the other smugglers made their way to mainland China. As for the cards, they'll likely live in a cold evidence room, much to the horror of anyone looking for a bit of GPU performance.