In China, desktop graphics cards using mobile Nvidia GPUs appear to be freely available. I Leak VN, a Twitter user, discovered various RTX 30 series designs on China’s Taobao online marketplace and published mining performance tables using these unauthorized devices. This news was picked up by VideoCardz, who discovered a photograph that purports to show a large number of these graphics cards being prepared for shipment.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 mobile GPU packed desktop graphics card looks to be the most popular of these unauthorized mobile / desktop mashup goods available presently, based on the Taobao listing photographs. On average, they cost approximately 3,800 Yuan, which is around $560 at the time of writing.

For the gaming power that an RTX 3070M provides, the asking price isn’t exactly a steal. A decent desktop RTX 3070 costs roughly $600 in the United States. If you’ve been considering RTX 30 laptops and desktops, you’ll know that mobile and desktop GPUs aren’t created equal. 

The most major difference between the two graphics systems listed above is that the mobile version has much fewer CUDA cores and slower GPU clock rates. Furthermore, it uses far less electricity. The mobile GPU’s TDP of 115W was based on how it was often installed in the cramped confines of a laptop. The majority of Chinese hybrid systems use dual fan coolers and have higher TDPs (single 8-pin power connector on the card).

So, what good is an RTX 3070M desktop graphics card if it isn’t much less expensive, its content creation and gaming performance isn’t as excellent as the original desktop model, and the brand/build quality is questionable? It ultimately boils down to the efficiency of cryptomining. Nvidia’s laptop GPUs lack LHR technology, which prevents them from reaching their full potential in the silicon mines.

If you buy a new GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card today from one of the major manufacturers, it will come with LHR technology, which reduces ETH mining performance to around 30 MH/s. Nvidia recently retaliated against a NiceHash workaround that successfully increased the ETH mining hash rate of the desktop RTX 3070 GPU back to roughly 60 MH/s. Buyers of the RTX 3070M desktop graphics cards, on the other hand, won’t have to worry about this whack-a-mole game because they won’t be purchasing LHR GPUs, which can accomplish up to 65 MH/s. They may also be more energy efficient during mining, potentially lowering mining expenses.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen RTX 30 series mobile GPUs repurposed for desktop mining cards. We reported in March that the RTX 3060 Mobile was proving to be a popular choice for gray market gaming.

It’s generally advisable to avoid these mashup mobile / desktop items if you’re only interested in PC gaming and content production. The cost of desktop GPUs is gradually decreasing to a more affordable level. With Ethereum’s’merger’ slated to take place in August and next-generation GPUs expected to arrive in Q3 and Q4, there should be plenty of GPU deals throughout the summer.