NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, the mining block is more complex than you think

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, the mining block is more complex than you think

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060

Yesterday we informed you of NVIDIA's move designed to limit the purchase of the new GeForce RTX 3060 by miners, leaving gamers, true recipients of the product, with a dry mouth. Initially, through a message published on the official blog, the Californian company had talked about procedures for detecting the use of algorithms for mining the Ethereum cryptocurrency implemented with drivers that would have reduced the efficiency of the card in the calculations by about 50%, limiting the hash rate. Many have wondered how the system worked, as well as thinking of possible "loopholes" in order not to trigger this limitation.

Apparently, the situation is more complex than expected. In fact, as stated by Bryan Del Rizzo, GeForce director of global PR, the anti-crypto technology is not only implemented by the drivers, but also includes the GPU itself and the BIOS. This allows you to enable it not only, for example, in Windows, but also in Linux, the operating system used by "professional" miners, and therefore it will not be possible to bypass it easily. Furthermore, according to the well-known leaker @ kopite7kimi, who previously revealed the specifications of the Ampere graphics cards before their official presentation, it seems that Jensen Huang (CEO of NVIDIA) intends to start a war against miners, at least as regards consumer (GeForce) and this technology could also be implemented in future products of the company, as well as in updated models of current cards.

We remind you that NVIDIA, to meet the specific needs of miners, will make available CMP (Cryptocurrency Mining Processor), a professional product line, sold through authorized partners, optimized for mining operations and without video outputs, allowing for better airflow. In addition, CMP products will have lower clock voltages and clock rates in order to increase energy efficiency.

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NVIDIA Unveils New Mining GPUs And A Bold Move To Funnel GeForce RTX 3060 Cards To Gamers

NVIDIA's Endeavor HQ Building


NVIDIA is set to launch a new mainstream gaming graphics card on February 25th but with the introduction of its new $329 GeForce RTX 3060, the Silicon Valley GPU giant is also making bold moves to address critical shortage and supply/demand dynamics that are keeping its products from getting into the hands of more PC gamers around the world.

As HotHardware detailed earlier this month, NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3060 will be officially launched next week and at a price point more palatable for the average PC gamer on a budget. The new GeForce card will also bring 50% more on-board GDDR6 frame buffer memory than the higher-end GeForce RTX 3060 Ti card that slots in just above it in NVIDIA’s product stack. Though the new RTX 3060 has fewer CUDA cores (3584 vs 4864 in the Ti variant) and a narrower 192-bit memory interface (256-bit for the Ti), in a move targeted towards delivering more value competitively, NVIDIA is equipping this new midrange GeForce RTX 3060 with a full 12GB of GDDR6, where the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is outfitted with only 8GB. However, beyond just this strategic design decision, NVIDIA is also stepping out with a couple of other major announcements, in concert with this new GeForce product launch, that could have even more market impact.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Card

HotHardwareOf Hash Rates And Outputs: Addressing Market Dynamics And Demand

What gamers may also find special about the new GeForce RTX 3060 is that the card will actually be limited by NVIDIA in such a way that it will be of much less value to cryptocurrency miners. Specifically, the NVIDIA’s drivers for the new card will actively detect the “attributes of the Ethereum cryptocurrency mining algorithm” and lop the card’s hash rate in half, making it much less efficient to use for mining. These drivers will presumably be tied to the card in such a way that this software “governor” of sorts will not easily be hackable. In short, this rather bold move by NVIDIA should alleviate nearly all of the demand of crypto-miners for the new RTX 3060, leaving its supply mostly unscathed for gamers looking to get ahold of NVIDIA’s new, lower-cost gaming GPU. However, NVIDIA is throwing cryptocurrency miners a major bone as well that should further alleviate mining industry demand pressure on its GeForce gaming product stack.

Today, the company is also announcing a new line of products dubbed NVIDIA CMP, or Cryptocurrency Mining Processors. However, before gamers get up in arms that NVIDIA is in some way peeling off silicon supplies to specifically cater to miners, the reality of this move is actually squarely aligned with the interests of gamers as well as market demand.

NVIDIA notes, “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.” 

NVIDIA CMP products also won’t have display outputs since they’re not required for mining and also as a result will have been airflow out of their rear brackets, making them more efficient as well for densely packed, multi-GPU installations. The cards will also have optimized power characteristics will make them significantly more efficient for cryptocurrency mining. But is this really a proverbial win-win for all parties involved? Afterall, NVIDIA has been down this path before.

My quick-take analysis of these major announcements by NVIDIA is that yes, out of the gate at least, it’s a notable win for gamers, miners and of course NVIDIA itself. What NVIDIA is obviously doing here is not only targeted at alleviating the crushing demand from miners on its GPUs that results in fewer PC gamers getting access to its GeForce products, but also this is a sort of yield loss mitigation strategy. In this case, the company is making better use of GPUs that otherwise don’t make the cut as GeForce gaming graphics cards but are perfectly suitable for cryptocurrency mining with a little bit of optimization. Sure, this is going to take qualification and other resources of NVIDIA to bring CMP products to market, but the company is not resource-limited in these areas, and this should result in less overall strain on supply chain partners for materials and silicon resources that are destined for PC gaming graphics cards. After all, NVIDIA’s GeForce 60-series cards have historically been the company’s biggest volume movers.

My only reservation is that we’ll have to see how the market and community reacts to these changes and announcements by NVIDIA. The company is once again blazing a trail that has not been traveled, by limiting the hash rate of its new GeForce RTX 3060, and I applaud them for the move in conjunction with its CMP products announcement. How the market and ecosystem reacts from here will be interesting to watch for sure.

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