NVIDIA attempts to close the stable door after the horse has bolted by pulling GeForce driver that disables crypto mining limiter for the GeForce RTX 3060
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Earlier this week, we reported that people had bypassed NVIDIA's ETH mining limit on the RTX 3060, albeit not with any special measures. Instead, NVIDIA published GeForce 470.05 development driver that restored the RTX 3060's ETH mining performance to between 45 MH/s and 50 MH/s. Previously, NVIDIA's ETH mining limit would reduce performance to 25 MH/s, seemingly to discourage people from using the RTX 3060 for crypto mining.
Initially, NVIDIA declined to comment, but it has now done so privately to us and, as Andreas Schilling's tweets demonstrate, to others too. NVIDIA's statement on the matter is as follows:
A developer driver inadvertently included code used for internal development which removes the hash rate limiter on RTX 3060 in some configurations.
Unsurprisingly, NVIDIA has removed the driver from its website. However, removing the development driver will not prevent people from downloading it from other sources. A cursory search online reveals that people have already re-uploaded the driver multiple times, so we doubt that GeForce 470.05 will disappear anytime soon.
Andreas Schilling has explained what NVIDIA means by 'in some configurations' too. As he explains on Hardware Luxx, installing GeForce 470.05 removes the ETH limiter only when using the RTX 3060 as a primary card and with a display output connected. If you have an RTX 3060 running as a secondary card or without a display output attached, then the ETH limiter will kick in after a few minutes, even with GeForce 470.05 installed.
Ultimately, the GeForce 470.05 development driver contradicts public statements made by NVIDIA employees. In February, Bryan Del Rizzo, Senior PR Manager at NVIDIA, insisted that a 'secure handshake' exists 'between the driver, the RTX 3060 silicon, and the BIOS' that prevents someone from removing the ETH limiter. The GeForce 470.05 development driver somehow breaks this 'secure handshake', although we are unsure how, currently.