General-purpose GPU computing has been on the rise for years, from OpenCL and CUDA to machine learning and self-driving cars. But cryptocurrency mining has exploded in 2017, draining the market of AMD’s latest graphics cards as mining rigs pop up from basements to warehouses all over the world. The strength of Bitcoin in international finance suggests that Ethereum, Zcash, and others “altcoins” will find their own niches. We are seeing the emergence of a new computing category.
The history of technology moves in fits and starts, but one trend trumps all else: An inevitable shift from fine-tuned specialized gear to general-purpose commodity building blocks. We see it in both hardware and software, and at all levels of the industry, from chips and wafers to operating systems and networking devices. Take a step back and you’ll certainly agree: Commodity hardware always wins (eventually).