Nvidia is laying down the gauntlet for code-savvy miners, as it claims that its cryptocurrency hash rate limiter on the upcoming GeForce RTX 3060 12GB graphics card—which is applied in software, not hardware—is unhackable. Sounds kind of like an invitation to try, right?
Specifically, Nvidia tells PC Gamer that it believes “the software cannot be hacked to remove the limiter.”
In Nvidia we trust.
This limiter being the one intended to prevent miners from zealously chasing down graphics cards for use in blindly chipping away at cryptocurrency for a heady profit. The main cryptocurrency of choice for today’s enterprising GPU miner is Ethereum, so that’s exactly what Nvidia’s block will prevent RTX 3060 graphics cards from mining.
The new limiter will halve the hash rate of the RTX 3060 when specific parts of the Ethereum mining algorithm are detected.
The hope for Nvidia, and mild-mannered gamers everywhere, is that the block will remain in place and see these cards make their way out to gamers. Miners will then perhaps look to the mining-specific CMP, or Cryptocurrency Mining Processors, for their needs. Or the non-blocked high-end RTX 30-series cards.
The RTX 3060 will be the only card to come with the limiter in place from its arrival on February 25, Nvidia tells us, as it is “not limiting the performance of GPUs already sold.”
The RTX 3060 is sure to be a popular card, too, as all Ampere GPUs have been so far, although even more so thanks to its $329 price tag.
Whether we’ll see more stock stick around on that day as a result of lowered mining demand, we’re not yet sure. There’s still incredible demand for PC parts, and undoubtedly the cheapest Ampere GPU of the lot will be the most popular by volume, as we’ve seen in the past with popular cards such as the GTX 1060. So my guess is that it’ll still be a day one scramble like any other launch over the past five months.
Any move Nvidia can make to keep as many GPUs as possible in play for gamers will be absolutely welcome, and will hopefully at least turn miners off to the first wave of RTX 3060 graphics cards. Any uncertainty as to the hash rate of these cards is sure to turn most away initially, even if Nvidia’s unhackable limiter goes down like the Titanic later in life.
We’re hoping it’s not easily brushed aside, however, and Nvidia’s confidence offers a little hope for PC building in the first half of 2021.