NVIDIA's hash rate limitation will apply only to RTX 3060 for now, segregating gamers and miners with CMP cards may eventually do more harm than good
The shortage of new generation GPUs does not seem to be improving any time soon. Further complicating matters is the fact that cryptocurrency miners seem to be somehow lapping up increased numbers of these cards while gamers are left waiting. NVIDIA partly addressed the issue by launching dedicated CMP HX GPUs without video outputs aimed at miners.
Recently, NVIDIA's Bryan Del Rizzo confirmed on Twitter that the RTX 3060 will have a halved mining hash rate and that it is not just limited to the driver alone. According to Del Rizzo, "there is a secure handshake between the driver, RTX 3060 silicon, and the BIOS that prevents removal of the hash rate limiter".
While this seemingly is good news, we are hearing that the hash rate limiter will be currently limited only to the upcoming RTX 3060 for now. Speaking to PCMag, an NVIDIA spokesperson said,
We are focused on RTX 3060 currently. And we are not limiting the performance of GPUs already sold.
We are also hearing that NVIDIA may phase out current Ampere cards on the market and introduce gaming-only SKUs with limited hash rates, but that's just a rumor for now.
At the outset, NVIDIA's recent approaches towards segregating miners and gamers seem to be a good move. The bulk of the gaming market would prefer an RTX 3060, and it only makes sense to ensure this card lands in gamers' hands than miners. However, as Linus rightly opines in the video below, there's a reason for concern as well.
It remains to be seen, but for those who earn a living running mining farms hacking the RTX 3060 to get full mining potential despite NVIDIA's firmware limitations isn't going to be much of an ordeal. Besides, these CMPs are not special ASICs either — they are just rebadged GPUs sold for a different market.
Cryptocurrency profitability has never been a consistent trend. Since CMPs do not come with display outputs and operate at a lower voltage, once their utility diminishes, they will be relegated to e-waste as gamers down the line cannot purchase these cards for cheap and repurpose them for gaming.
Even if we were to assume that NVIDIA would use binning to save the best chips for gamers and use the not-so-good ones for CMP cards, eventually the good bins will also make it to the mining cards as yields improve over time. Besides, those not-so-good bins can actually be used to make cheaper gaming cards as well.
Ultimately, nerfed RTX 3060 or not, NVIDIA's recent moves can potentially ensure that miners will continue to get a steady supply of GPUs while gamers will have to count on their good luck to be able to buy a card at a decent price close to MSRP.
With billions of dollars involved in the current crypto boom, miners will always find ways of gobbling up the products they need. NVIDIA may present a solution to desktop gamers, but it is nearly impossible to stop miners from bulk purchase of RTX 3060-powered laptops, which also seem to show very good mining performance.
Hi Ryan. It's not just a driver thing. There is a secure handshake between the driver, the RTX 3060 silicon, and the BIOS (firmware) that prevents removal of the hash rate limiter.— Bryan Del Rizzo (@bdelrizzo) February 19, 2021