Nvidia's RTX 3060 GPU is getting a driver that limits cryptocurrency mining efficiency

Nvidia wants the RTX 3060 to make it to gaming PCs, so it's added a driver that limits cryptocurrency mining, as well as announcing new processors specifically for cryptocurrency.

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With the launch of Nvidia’s RTX 3000 Series of GPUs, a new generation of powerful and efficient visuals are within the grasp of PC gamers… or they would be if players could find places to buy them. With the rush of aftermarket resellers, bots, and particularly cryptocurrency miners buying up RTX 3060s, 3070s, 3080s, and 3090s, it’s been difficult for the average PC builder to get their hands on any of these cards. On the matter of cryptocurrency, Nvidia itself addressed the problem and, at least in the case of the RTX 3060, is doing something to try to ensure cryptocurrency miners are deterred and some of its GPUs end up in the hands of gamers.

Nvidia released a blog post addressing the cryptocurrency matter with its GPUs on February 18, 2021. In said post, VP of Global GeForce Marketing Matt Wuebbling both announced the launch of a new crypto miner-deterrent driver for the RTX 3060, as well as a solution for those looking to use the RTX 30 series for that purpose. New 3060s will feature a driver that identifies and limits its Ethereum hashrate, a metric used for cryptocurrency mining performance.

Both the new driver limiting cryptocurrency mining hashrates on the RTX 3060 and the announcement of new crypto-focused CMPs are Nvidia's effort to alleviate pressure on the gaming GPU market while still serving cryptocurrency miners.
Both the new driver limiting cryptocurrency mining hashrates on the RTX 3060 and the announcement of new crypto-focused CMPs are Nvidia's effort to alleviate pressure on the gaming GPU market while still serving cryptocurrency miners.

“RTX 3060 software drivers are designed to detect specific attributes of the Ethereum cryptocurrency mining algorithm, and limit the hash rate, or cryptocurrency mining efficiency, by around 50 percent,” Wuebbling wrote. “With the launch of GeForce RTX 3060 on Feb. 25, we’re taking an important step to help ensure GeForce GPUs end up in the hands of gamers.”

It’s a bold statement, and it will remain to be seen if the driver actually does its work to deter crypto miners from buying up the new GPU. After all, it’s not as if a workaround to the driver is unfeasible. Moreover, the new driver likely won’t have any impact on older Ampere GPUs as miners can simply use older, unblocked drivers to continue to utilize their cards as they please.

That said, Nvidia isn't completely out to cut off cryptocurrency miners from using its products. Whether taking advantage of a market opportunity or as a further deterrent to use of its gaming-intended GPUs, Nvidia also announced a new line of Cryptocurrency Mining Processors or Nvidia CMPs, which forgo graphics in favor of producing power and functionality specifically focused on cryptocurrency mining and be sold through approved Nvidia partners.

The specs on Nvidia's new CMP (Cryptocurrency Mining Processor) line forgo graphic and video output functionality in favor of producing efficient power aimed directly at Ethereum hashrate production.
The specs on Nvidia's new CMP (Cryptocurrency Mining Processor) line forgo graphic and video output functionality in favor of producing efficient power aimed directly at Ethereum hashrate production.

The Nvidia doesn’t feature drivers for graphics or video output, but rather focuses more thoroughly on producing the power for a strong Ethereum hashrate. The first of the CMP cards will supposedly be out by March with stronger options coming later on.

As the Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU’s launch dawns, it will be interesting to see if Nvidia’s efforts pay off, but at the very least, the launch of the Nvidia CMP line in March may alleviate pressure on purchase of other gaming GPUs. Stay tuned as we continue to follow these products for more information and details.

News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. When he's not handing out beatdowns in the latest fighting games, exploring video game history, or playing through RPGs with his partner, he's searching for new food and drinks in the constant pursuit of good times with good people inside and outside the South Texas area. You can also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
    • reply
      February 18, 2021 7:40 AM

      NVidia going to release drivers to specifically discourage cyrptomining by throttling their GPUs performance if the cards aren't used in gaming applications, at the same time looking to make a second line of cards specifically designed for cyrptomining that lack GFX features so that miners aren't hogging gaming cards.

      https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2021/02/18/geforce-cmp/

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        February 18, 2021 7:44 AM

        Useless gesture

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        February 18, 2021 7:45 AM

        Will be cracked in seconds

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        February 18, 2021 7:46 AM

        So uh, wouldnt all miners just install previous drivers?

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          February 18, 2021 7:48 AM

          Presumably the 3060 will require the new drivers? I can't imagine they would overlook that. But I agree that people will find a way to circumvent this.

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          February 18, 2021 7:56 AM

          From what I saw, 3060 is a new card with no official drivers yet, the 3060ti/3070/3080 are all out with existing drivers so they can't do the same there at this point as people would just rollback.

          I'm sure people will still figure out a way around this, however. Can't you still use older nvidia drivers on newer cards? idk. Feel like I've done that before without complication, but maybe I'm not remembering clearly.

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            February 18, 2021 8:01 AM

            Nope I attempted to do this on the 3080 as an older driver performed better in RDR2.. tried forcing it to install via the Device Manager and failed defaulting to the non accelerated Microsoft generic driver.

            Maybe this worked in the past when a lot of the GPUs shared the exact same GPU die with just some small parts disabled?

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              February 18, 2021 8:04 AM

              Maybe, I just can't remember because it would have been a while ago, yeah. It may not be easy, but I'm guessing someone will find a way to hack around this artificial limitation.

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            February 18, 2021 8:06 AM

            Itll 100% be hacked. There are custom bios mods and drivers to run radeon 5600 xt and 5700 xt at higher hash rates.

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              February 18, 2021 8:12 AM

              The Nvidia 20 & 30 series BIOS haven't been hacked yet.. Nvidia started digitally signing their BIOS. Card wouldn't boot if it's not digitally signed.

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              February 18, 2021 3:01 PM

              Iirc, AMD allows custom BIOSs, while Nvidia does not.

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        February 18, 2021 7:50 AM

        Its specific to the 3060 card that releases next week.

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        February 18, 2021 7:54 AM

        At least they are trying something

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        February 18, 2021 7:58 AM

        Wondering if these cards will work for Plex and hardware transcoding. We also need to know what the pricing of them will be. If they are the same price as GeForce cards, why would a miner buy them over a Geforce card? The reselling ability of Geforce is going to be much higher, due to versatility.

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        February 18, 2021 7:59 AM

        LOL this is like WTF. Will not help one bit. Lets douse this fire with feathers everyone!!

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        February 18, 2021 8:00 AM

        Use old drivers or hack new ones.

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        February 18, 2021 8:06 AM

        At least it something. Hopefully it won't be easy to hack together some driver that will still make it work.

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          February 18, 2021 8:45 AM

          Narrator: It was easy to hack together a driver that would still make it work.

      • reply
        February 18, 2021 8:30 AM

        What will help though is CMP, hardware side of things for mining if priced competitively.

        https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/cmp/

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        February 18, 2021 8:36 AM

        They're detecting mining specifically, not just throttling all non-gaming uses.

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        February 18, 2021 8:49 AM

        Although I have no love for miners, this is actually unsettling. Will they do this with machine learning next? Forcing users into stupidly expensive cards just because? Maybe we need a GPU neutrality type law.

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        February 18, 2021 8:50 AM

        Also this lolls like the drivers stop eth mining. Might still be profitable to mine another coin and just swap into btc or eth

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        February 18, 2021 8:52 AM

        this is so they can say they tried.

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        February 18, 2021 8:53 AM

        Thank fuck. At least it will cripple the average person who is mining on their primary gaming PC

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          February 18, 2021 8:53 AM

          I am curious if crypto prices fall after this

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            February 18, 2021 8:57 AM

            Eh nevermind, its only for the 3060 it seems. Lame. Do it for the whole line!

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              February 18, 2021 9:02 AM

              Too late for that, they say the 50% limitation is driver based and those cards and drivers are already out there for mining 100% on the existing line.

              Perhaps these cards be more available to the people wanting to play games since miners won't be scooping them up in droves, but I'm sure scalpers will still try grabbing a bunch to flip them for a premium regardless. Although if the demand isn't there for that with these then idk.

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                February 18, 2021 9:05 AM

                I think any new cards now into the future will be like this, which will help at least getting the cards into gamers hands for the 4080 series (Hopefully). Then they can sell their mining cards to miners. Good for gamers in the long run I think.

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                  February 18, 2021 9:11 AM

                  I don't like selling stuff online but I feel like I'd be stupid not to try getting a 3060 to replace my 2060 at this point.

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          February 18, 2021 2:57 PM

          Why is this good ?

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            February 18, 2021 3:30 PM

            So these miners stop buying all of the RTX supply and they get in the hands of gamers (hopefully)

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              February 18, 2021 3:32 PM

              Yes but why stop the average gamers instead of the miners. There is nothing wrong with doing some mining on the side with the gpu you are using for gaming.

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              February 18, 2021 5:01 PM

              I don't see how this will stop mining outside of significant actual hardware modifications unless they have obscene acrobatic levels of security to prevent custom drivers.
              The base problem is that manufacturing across the chain cannot keep up with demand which is outside of nvidia control since many players across the industry are absolutely hammering the various production lines.
              Assuming the the hardware essentially remains the same across both mining, and gaming GPU's supply won't be able to meet demand regardless of driver wizardry. Miners will continue to buy whatever they can get their hands on, and apply custom drivers as necessary .

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        February 18, 2021 8:54 AM

        A bit too late for all that since it was already an issue last gen.

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          February 18, 2021 9:01 AM

          It was an issue with 1080s even. I was waiting for them to return to earth years ago.

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        February 18, 2021 9:10 AM

        I appreciate the gesture, but we're all thinking the same thing. They'll hack around this within 35min.

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        February 18, 2021 9:11 AM

        Actually, I appreciate the cypto specific card more than the driver gambit. The driver thing is a quick hit, but they'll hack it in 35min or less - depending if they have to warm up their hot pockets.

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        February 18, 2021 9:20 AM

        [deleted]

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        February 18, 2021 9:24 AM

        Thinking about this again, it does nothing against scalpers; which I assume is just as large a part of the problem as far as pricing goes. Unless it's miners that are buying from scalpers. If that's the case, then this approach of having a mining specific card would help in the long run.

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          February 18, 2021 9:27 AM

          It would all depend on the pricing.

          If their mining targeted card was less than the Geforce cards, then it will be a hit with miners.

          If the mining card was too similar in price, the Geforce card will still be snapped up, as their resale value is going to be better in the long run.

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            February 18, 2021 9:37 AM

            I would expect it to be less since it wouldn't need anything related to to rendering pixels. If the chip is smaller, would mean Nvidia could get more chips per wafer too.

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              February 18, 2021 10:13 AM

              These should be poorly binned chips, so definitely should be cheaper!

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        February 18, 2021 9:29 AM

        fucking lol

        RTX 3060 software drivers are designed to detect specific attributes of the Ethereum cryptocurrency mining algorithm, and limit the hash rate, or cryptocurrency mining efficiency, by around 50 percent.

        there will be 3rd party drivers, think those omega builds, with in 15 seconds

        nvidia what are you even doing here. LAUNCH THE MINING PRODUCT AND FOCUS ON THAT. do not even attempt to get in a software race with the crypto mining faction. you will lose.

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          February 18, 2021 10:07 AM

          If it's anything like their machine learning dedicated cards the mining cards won't be cost effective compared to consumer cards.

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        February 18, 2021 9:44 AM

        This will help if the economics support the move. It will take awhile even so

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        February 18, 2021 9:53 AM

        [deleted]

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          February 18, 2021 10:15 AM

          They aren't doing anything to you. This only affects RTX 3060s.

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        February 18, 2021 10:03 AM

        Thankfully in the history of computers nobody has ever managed to circumvent restrictive software.

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        February 18, 2021 3:10 PM

        I’m on board with that. Time to separate the mining crew from the gamers. We are gamers, and gamers need video cards. Mining crypto with a single video card isn’t worth it in most cases anyway.

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          February 18, 2021 3:19 PM

          Mining crypto with a single video card isn’t worth it in most cases anyway.

          yeah, nah. $10-$15/day on a 3070/3080.

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            February 18, 2021 3:20 PM

            Now maybe, but the market changes quick. The last month isn’t a true representation of the life of crypto.

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        February 18, 2021 4:01 PM

        NOPE this is bullshit marketing and probably isn't going to help you buy a card; they're also releasing a line of crypto mining cards which means that manufacturing capacity is going to be split between mining cards and graphic cards.
        https://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-announces-cryptocurrency-mining-processor-gpu-line

        This only helps Nvidia by not having a glut of 2nd hand cards flood the market when either crypto dies or a new better mining card comes out.

        Also sucks if your a gamer and maybe wanted to dabble in crypto mining on the side.

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          February 18, 2021 5:07 PM

          Good analysis. Damn.

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          February 18, 2021 6:12 PM

          Thunderous INF. Shit gesture and shit market read, nvidia

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          February 18, 2021 8:34 PM

          crippling mining performance on the 3060 may substantially decrease mining demand for the card, making them easier for gamers to obtain and at lower prices. this sound like a good thing to me.

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            February 18, 2021 9:00 PM

            There will be no crippling. Nvidia thinks they can enter a software war - they will lose. Horribly.

            They need to focus on hardware.

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              February 18, 2021 9:11 PM

              eh, could go either way.

              they control the firmware and have already been using it to limit performance on lower end products.

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                February 18, 2021 9:54 PM

                They're specifically targeting the mining algorithm used for Ethereum (ethash). 34 coins rely on this algorithm for mining and two thirds of them are worthless. Hundreds do not. Of coins considered most profitable to mine, Ethereum is less profitable than some and the only one that uses ethash. And you're assuming miners won't defeat Nvidia. Best case scenario: Nvidia succeeds, Eth miners shift to alternate coins, demand doesn't change, supply shortages continue.

                Thinking this is going to mean we can buy a 3060 whenever we feel like it is highly optimistic.

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                  February 18, 2021 10:09 PM

                  i don’t follow crypto at all, but nvidia made a statement to the effect that eth was the most significant contributor to gpu demand. that’s odd if it’s not the most (or close to the most) profitable.

                  in either case, even if people move to other coins it’s still reducing one contributor to demand.

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                    February 18, 2021 10:28 PM

                    It may be what most mine with their Nvidia cards but the difference in profits between mining Ethereum or something like Cortex are negligible, and miners aren't going to care that much if it takes them a few extra weeks to see a return on their investment. If I was running a few gpus for mining I'm not going to complain about $30 a day vs $35 dollars a day, either way I'd reach a point where the 3060's paid for themselves and "free" money started rolling in while I did nothing.

                    The better approach, in my opinion, would be to produce enough cards for gamers and miners. Everyone blames the miners but this has been an ongoing situation for 4 or 5 years now. Obviously Covid has compounded the problem but nobody would be complaining (least of all Nvidia) if there were enough cards to go around.

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                      February 18, 2021 10:45 PM

                      the rudimentary economics analysis says that if it’s less profitable, demand will go down, and so should the resale price (even if it’s still high). the current resale prices are set based on current profitability.

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                        February 18, 2021 11:17 PM

                        ...and current resale prices have nothing to do with the upcoming 3060.

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                          February 19, 2021 5:47 AM

                          ok but the rationale still holds that if the feature weren’t there, it would be be higher in demand and therefore have a higher price.

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              February 18, 2021 9:35 PM

              Then they'll just put it in the firmware of their next cards.

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                February 18, 2021 9:44 PM

                likely already is imo. restricting just in the host side driver is so obviously breakable that it’s implausible.

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            February 18, 2021 9:55 PM

            nothing better than a driver update to fix a supply problem

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              February 18, 2021 10:32 PM

              Also a good way to ensure the 3070s, 80s, & 90s won't be in stock in 2021 and scalpers continue cashing in. Those 1050ti's are on the way though.

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