Image: NVIDIA

This morning, NVIDIA revealed that it would be limiting the cryptocurrency mining efficiency of its GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards by around 50 percent via software driver. A representative has now claimed that this solution can’t be bypassed, which may have inadvertently opened an invitation for hackers to try restoring the midrange GPU to its full Ethereum mining potential.

“[…] the software cannot be hacked to remove the limiter,” an NVIDIA representative told PC Gamer in a succinct but amusingly bold statement.

The rep also clarified that the GeForce RTX 3060 would be the only graphics card to be neutered with a crytocurrency mining limiter. NVIDIA is “not limiting the performance of GPUs already sold,” they said.

It isn’t clear how effective NVIDIA’s crytocurrency mining limiter solution might be for ensuring that more GeForce RTX 3060 stock goes to gamers when it launches on February 25 for $329 (MSRP). Many enthusiasts already say that the gesture is pointless, as miners will continue to spring for the more powerful Ampere models (e.g., GeForce RTX 3070 and GeForce RTX 3080). Scalping is also sure to be an ongoing issue.

“With the launch of GeForce RTX 3060 on Feb. 25, we’re taking an important step to help ensure GeForce GPUs end up in the hands of gamers,” NVIDIA stated in a press release this morning. “RTX 3060 software drivers are designed to detect specific attributes of the Ethereum cryptocurrency mining algorithm, and limit the hash rate, or cryptocurrency mining efficiency, by around 50 percent.”

“That only makes sense. Our GeForce RTX GPUs introduce cutting-edge technologies — such as RTX real-time ray-tracing, DLSS AI-accelerated image upscaling technology, Reflex super-fast response rendering for the best system latency, and many more — tailored to meet the needs of gamers and those who create digital experiences.”

NVIDIA went on to introduce a new lineup of GPUs called the Cryptocurrency Mining Processor (CMP), which were developed specifically to address the needs of cryptominers. These GPUs include various features for more optimal mining, such as a fully open, airflow-optimized bracket and lower peak core voltage/frequency.

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17 Comments

  1. So, just looking around the mining reddit’s it appears the limiter has already been bypassed. The card’s BIOS looks for a specific sequence of data being written to the card memory. Known as the DAG for ethash. What they’ve done is have it refresh the DAG every 55 seconds, which bypasses the BIOS’s checker schedule.

    They’re also working on a new miner that writes the DAG to system memory, which will completely bypass the card’s BIOS’s ability to limit hashrate. And a custom BIOS is being developed.

  2. [QUOTE=”Riccochet, post: 29900, member: 4″]
    So, just looking around the mining reddit’s it appears the limiter has already been bypassed. The card’s BIOS looks for a specific sequence of data being written to the card memory. Known as the DAG for ethash. What they’ve done is have it refresh the DAG every 55 seconds, which bypasses the BIOS’s checker schedule.

    They’re also working on a new miner that writes the DAG to system memory, which will completely bypass the card’s BIOS’s ability to limit hashrate. And a custom BIOS is being developed.
    [/QUOTE]
    Writing DAG to system memory – does that mean 4GB cards will be able to mine again?

  3. Zero faith here that this won’t be broken, but we will see.

    Edit*
    Saw that post above me too late!

  4. [QUOTE=”THUMPer, post: 29901, member: 111″]
    Writing DAG to system memory – does that mean 4GB cards will be able to mine again?
    [/QUOTE]

    It would, in theory. But, that would also mean that the rig would need 4.1 GB of system RAM per card since the DAG has exceeded 4 GB. Which would lead one to believe that a run on DDR3 and DDR4 would happen. As all those people with piles of 4GB cards would be able to use them again.

  5. It’s all just silly.

    Just make the mining only cards at less $$ and same performance.
    Screw the custom drivers and bios etc.

  6. I hope that the miners realize that they are literally shooting themselves in the foot by bypassing it.

    If a software solution doesn’t work the next step is a hardware solution which I have no doubt NVIDIA will have no problem doing.

  7. [QUOTE=”Auer, post: 29913, member: 225″]
    It’s all just silly.

    Just make the mining only cards at less $$ and same performance.
    Screw the custom drivers and bios etc.
    [/QUOTE]
    Right idea, wrong direction.

    Hardware limit the gaming cards to some dismal amount of hashrate. create mining cards at like 3x the cost, as its obvious that miners will pay the higher prices.

  8. [QUOTE=”Endgame, post: 29917, member: 1041″]
    Right idea, wrong direction.

    Hardware limit the gaming cards to some dismal amount of hashrate. create mining cards at like 3x the cost, as its obvious that miners will pay the higher prices.
    [/QUOTE]
    This is the only way it would affect the market, but it would also have the effect of nV making vastly more mining cards than gaming cards, since they have a higher margin.

    I suspect that’s what AMD is doing now, and why we see next to no RX6000 cards – most of their wafer allocations are going to CPU production and custom business (Consoles), since those are higher margin.

  9. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 29918, member: 96″]
    This is the only way it would affect the market, but it would also have the effect of nV making vastly more mining cards than gaming cards, since they have a higher margin.
    [/QUOTE]
    In effect you’re saying that miners would get more cards than gamers with this change…. but that is different from now how?

  10. [QUOTE=”Endgame, post: 29919, member: 1041″]
    In effect you’re saying that miners would get more cards than gamers with this change…. but that is different from now how?
    [/QUOTE]
    It’s not different at all – it’s better for nVidia. It just isn’t a fix for the problem of Gamers not getting cards. There’s only so much Fab capacity available – it’s 110% booked right now, and it takes a while for new capacity to come online. That… or the crypto market crashing, are the only solutions that do get more cards to gamers.

  11. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 29922, member: 96″]
    It’s not different at all – it’s better for nVidia. It just isn’t a fix for the problem of Gamers not getting cards. There’s only so much Fab capacity available – it’s 110% booked right now, and it takes a while for new capacity to come online. That… or the crypto market crashing, are the only solutions that do get more cards to gamers.
    [/QUOTE]
    If the crypto cards are dramatically better at crypto than the gaming cards, then they could, at least, split production in half and gamers get some cards. Heck, for the initial release you could use all the reject chips for the gamers, and the mid generation revision could be to give the gamers the full chip once the miners no longer want them.

  12. I don’t see the crypto market crashing anytime soon. At least not to levels where mining is not profitable. Also consider that a lot of miners aren’t in it for the short game. So, they don’t really care if the market corrects. They’re in it for the coins on the long game.

  13. Nvidia saying they will make “mining only” GPU’s certainly indicates they believe this is not something that will crash/end soon.

  14. [QUOTE=”Auer, post: 29944, member: 225″]
    Nvidia saying they will make “mining only” GPU’s certainly indicates they believe this is not something that will crash/end soon.
    [/QUOTE]
    Maybe. I think these are just going to be salvage bins of existing production runs, so it costs them next to nothing to put out there. And they garner some good will from the market that got them to where they are at today by playing lip service to them.

    When they start designing and making dedicated silicon for it – then I will believe they are believers.

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