We are gamers, through and through. We obsess about new gaming features, new architectures, new games and tech. We designed GeForce GPUs for gamers, and gamers are clamoring for more.

Yet NVIDIA GPUs are programmable. And users are constantly discovering new applications for them, from weather simulation and gene sequencing to deep learning and robotics. Mining cryptocurrency is one of them.

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.

Halving Hash Rate

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.

Crypto miners have been using top-of-the-line graphics cards to optimize the gathering of cryptocurrency for a while now, but Nvidia is about to limit crypto mining on all RTX 3000 cards moving forward.

The upcoming re-release of Nvidia RTX 3000 cards and upcoming RTX 3080 Ti will offer a new cryptocurrency mining limiter that may create a dent in the crypto mining industry. The new GPUs are differentiated as “Lite Hash Rate,” but this term is only visible to AIB partners and not on the packaging of the cards.

RELATED: Nvidia Wants Gamers to Use GeForce Now While 3080 Stock is Low

Lite Hash Rate isn’t being used as a marketing term, and these Nvidia cards will offer the same performance in games as the cards already on the market.

Nvidia’s RTX 3090 graphics card is the only exception to these adjustments as the card will not limit hash rates in the same way that the other RTX 3000 re-released cards do. This is apparently due to the model being less popular with crypto miners due to its $1,499 price tag.

Nvidia’s previous attempts at limiting mining performance on its chips released with the RTX 3060, but the preventative measures failed due to a released driver that didn’t work as intended.
Due to the new changes, Nvidia cards may become more readily available as crypto miners discover each of the new Nvidia RTX 3000’s has reduced hash rates.

NiceHash also says that the software won’t accelerate mining performance on newer GeForce cards that use version 3 of the LHR algorithm, a list that (for now) includes the RTX 3050 and the 12GB version of the RTX 3080 but which will presumably grow as Nvidia releases new GPUs and updated revisions for older GPUs.Advertisement

Miners have been trying to find ways to circumvent the LHR limitations since they were introduced. The first card to use LHR, the GeForce RTX 3060, was defeated by a botched driver release from Nvidia.
Other workarounds have included flashing alternate BIOSes and mining multiple cryptocurrencies on the same card.

But LHR workarounds can also be too good to be true.

We believe this additional step will get more GeForce cards at better prices into the hands of gamers everywhere,” the company said in a blog post.

NVIDIA’s attempts at troubleshooting haven’t exactly been an overwhelming success. Earlier this year, it flip flopped on the hash rate limit of the RTX 3060 cards by releasing a driver update that undid the caps, before fixing them again.

(Those wishing to mine could just stick with the mistakenly uncapped driver, though.)

The company’s bid to directly target the crypto mining crowd may have fared better, however. It launched four Cryptocurrency Mining Processors (CMP) in February, including the 30HX, 40HX, 50HX, and 90HX, which start from $599.

Nvidia is extending its cryptocurrency mining limits to newly manufactured GeForce RTX 3080, RTX 3070, and RTX 3060 Ti graphics cards. After nerfing the hash rates of the RTX 3060 for its launch in February, Nvidia is now starting to label new cards with a “Lite Hash Rate” or “LHR” identifier to let potential customers know the cards will be restricted for mining.

“This reduced hash rate only applies to newly manufactured cards with the LHR identifier and not to cards already purchased,” says Matt Wuebbling, Nvidia’s head GeForce marketing.
“We believe this additional step will get more GeForce cards at better prices into the hands of gamers everywhere.”

These new RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070, and RTX 3080 cards will start shipping later this month, and the LHR identifier will be displayed in retail product listings and on the box.

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.

To address the specific needs of Ethereum mining, we’re announcing the NVIDIA CMP, or, Cryptocurrency Mining Processor, product line for professional mining.

CMP products — which don’t do graphics — are sold through authorized partners and optimized for the best mining performance and efficiency. They don’t meet the specifications required of a GeForce GPU and, thus, don’t impact the availability of GeForce GPUs to gamers.

For instance, CMP lacks display outputs, enabling improved airflow while mining so they can be more densely packed.

These re-released Nvidia RTX 3000 and RTX 3090 Ti cards will only be compatible with drivers that limit crypto mining, a further measure to sort out the graphics card market through preventative measures. Nvidia is also adding Resizable BAR support for the new 3000 cards, boosting frame rates in certain games by up to ten percent.
These adjustments may not require a vBIOS update according to a recent update from Nvidia to its partners.

Beyond this update for AIB partners, Nvidia hasn’t clarified what to expect from the crypto limiters in the new RTX 3000 cards, potentially adding another layer to its attempt at reducing the amount of crypto mining utilizing the power of Nvidia cards.

By Summer, most of these graphics cards on store shelves will likely offer crypto limiting, which should help fix the graphics card stock issue from the reduced demand.

Another group promised LHR-defeating drivers in February, but they didn’t do what they said they’d do and ended up being full of malware.

Whether this LHR unlock has an impact on the pricing or availability of GPUs remains to be seen. Bitcoin and Ethereum prices have been falling recently as interest rate increases and stock market turmoil have pushed investors toward safer bets.
Ethereum’s “merge,” which will switch the currency from a mining-driven “proof-of-work” system to an ownership-driven “proof-of-stake” system, is also allegedly a few months away, though that has been the case for several years now.

GeForce RTX GPUs have introduced a range of cutting-edge technologies — RTX real-time ray tracing, AI-powered DLSS frame rate booster, NVIDIA Reflex super-fast response rendering for best system latency, and many more — created to meet the needs of gamers and those who create digital experiences,” Wuebbling wrote.

The GPU manufacturer had suffered a rocky launch of the new GeForce generation, to say the least. Once the graphics cards hit the market, crypto miners and resellers snagged them all up, causing the rest of the stock to skyrocket in price.

Nvidia and its partners are still trying to meet market demand but haven’t had a great deal of success.
Earlier this year, the company even shipped a batch of RTX 3060 cards with a reduced hash rate.

Scalping and price gouging have been all too common for those GPUs that do become available.

It’s not leaving miners empty-handed. The firm is launching a new CMP (Cryptocurrency Mining Processor) line of add-in cards that doesn’t do graphics, but is fine-tuned for crypto mining performance.

The absence of video ports allows for greater airflow and more densely-packed cards, for example. The first CMP designs are the 26 megahash per second 30HX and 36 megahash 40HX, both of which should be available this quarter from vendors like ASUS, EVGA and Gigabyte.

More powerful 50X (45MH/s) and 90HX (86MH/s) boards are due in the second quarter.

This probably won’t please miners who were looking forward to the RTX 3060’s February 25th debut with interest, and a similar hash restriction for other NVIDIA GPUs wouldn’t alleviate shortages for a while.

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