Nvidia will add anti-mining flags to the rest of its RTX 3000 GPU series

Enlarge / Coming quickly: Practically an identical variations of those GPUs, solely with “LHR” logos—and new measures to scale back their mining hash charges.

Sam Machkovech

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3000-branded graphics playing cards are receiving an replace off the manufacturing facility traces beginning this month: hardware-level flags meant to decelerate the mining of the favored cryptocurrency Ethereum. Nvidia’s Tuesday announcement confirmed that almost all consumer-grade GPUs popping out of the corporate’s factories, starting from the RTX 3060 Ti to the RTX 3080, will ship with a brand new sticker to point a “Lite Hash Fee,” or “LHR,” on the {hardware}, driver, and BIOS stage.

If this transfer sounds acquainted, that is as a result of Nvidia already took an enormous swing on the cryptomining drawback, solely to whiff, with February’s RTX 3060. That GPU’s launch got here with guarantees that its Ethereum mining charges had been lower in half from their full potential fee—a transfer meant to disincentivize miners from shopping for up restricted inventory. And within the GPU’s pre-release interval, Nvidia PR Director Bryan Del Rizzo claimed on Twitter that “it is not only a driver factor. There’s a safe handshake between the driving force, the RTX 3060 silicon, and the BIOS (firmware) that stops elimination of the hash fee limiter.”

But shortly after that card’s business launch, Nvidia launched a developer-specific beta firmware driver that unlocked the GPU’s full mining potential. Bear in mind: that is firmware, not a BIOS rewrite or something significantly invasive. With that cat out of the bag, the RTX 3060 eternally turned an Ethereum mining possibility.

“A distinct machine {hardware} ID”

All of this brings us to this week’s information and Nvidia’s new assurance that this time, scout’s honor, a beta driver leak will not do the identical factor to LHR variations of the RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070, or RTX 3080. The $1,499 RTX 3090 is not slated to obtain an LHR model as of press time, and Nvidia has not indicated that current RTX GPUs shall be affected.

The corporate’s weblog put up would not go into technical particulars on what’s totally different this time round. As a substitute, Wccftech delivers additional context, albeit with none citations to both Nvidia representatives or different leakers, in regards to the new, mildly tweaked SKUs for these GPUs.

In Wccftech’s estimation, the largest distinction is a “totally different machine {hardware} ID” on these SKUs that can give Nvidia “a further parameter” to dam older, crytpo-friendly BIOS firmware variations. In our estimation, with out one other errant beta firmware leak, this may depart miners with a troublesome—however not unattainable—problem to beat.

Wccftech additionally factors to the brand new RTX 3000 sequence’ SKUs, together with one welcome perk out of the field: the playing cards’ VBIOSes are all pre-patched to help Resizable BAR. Present GPU house owners who wish to reap the benefits of the IO-minded replace should take the weird step of updating their very own GPUs’ VBIOS.

However Nvidia has as soon as once more solely talked about Ethereum in its anti-mining appeals, which is a reminder that different algorithms are on the market within the wild and arguably not as affected by Nvidia’s top-level {hardware} replace. [Update, 2:18 pm EDT: In an email interview with Ars, Del Rizzo clarifies that “Ethereum represents more than 90 percent of GPU-mineable coin rewards, so that’s our focus currently.” He also points to the new SKUs’ hashing rate being affected by “a similar process to what we announced with the original RTX 3060, in that the lite hash rate uses a secure handshake between the driver, the RTX GPU silicon, and the BIOS (firmware).”]

As we speak’s announcement additionally leaves out the truth that Nvidia is glad to promote crypto-unlocked variations of the identical GPUs, which they’ve dubbed Cryptocurrency Mining Processors (CMPs), albeit at increased costs and with their video-out performance stripped out. Whereas Nvidia hasn’t formally introduced the CMP playing cards’ costs and availability, TechRadar spotted an entry-level Nvidia CMP with a hash fee akin to a hobbled RTX 3060 (whose MSRP is $329) priced at roughly $720 at a Romanian reseller.

Tuesday’s Nvidia weblog put up concludes with an assurance that “we imagine this extra step will get extra GeForce playing cards at higher costs into the fingers of players in all places.” However in a market savaged by chip shortages and aggressive scalpers, and with a product line that has already taken one botched stab at crypto-halving measures, we’re not satisfied that miners will not swoop in to purchase Nvidia’s LHR fashions and take their probabilities. Both means, with CMPs on the rise in Nvidia’s gross sales portfolio, we’re assured this is not the final of Nvidia’s assurances about anti-mining efforts in consumer-grade playing cards.

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