NVIDIA Has attempted to make its GeForce RTX 3060 as unappealing to Ethereum miners as possible. Setting a strict limit on the card’s hashrate is a good idea on paper. Unfortunately, users can bypass it with a cheap HDMI dongle.
A Failed Plan By NVIDIA?
Cryptocurrency miners often snag up new generations of graphics cards over the past few years. Particularly those who mine Ethereum or smaller altcoins can make good use of such cards and the power they provide. For manufacturers like NVIDIA, this can pose a few problems. As miners buy up their gamer-oriented cards, supply shortages and scalping become even bigger problems than normal.
To counter this issue, NVIDIA decided to go a different route. Its newly announced RTX 3060 is a gamer card, whereas a separate line exists dedicated to Ethereum mining. The 3060 is supposedly subject to a hashrate limit, making it not worth the money to crypto miners. Or that is what the company aimed to achieve, before the entire “brand split” was rendered mood by a cheap HDMI dongle.
Creating a software lock for the RTX 3060 is a good idea. Although coders can modify this software with relative ease, it is not something the average user will attempt. When NVIDIA mucked that up with a new driver’s release unlocking the card’s full mining potential, an exciting situation became apparent. It is possible to run the RTX 3060 at full mining power as long as more than one card is in the system. Miners often stack 3-6 cards into one rig for their purposes.
Making matters even more intriguing is how an HDMI dongle can bypass NVIDIA’s limits as well. Setting up a multi-card system for full-speed ETH mining can be done through an HDMI dummy plug into every GPU. This “tricks” the card into believing it is used for gaming rather than crypto mining. It is a strange bypass, yet one that appears to work without issue (until NVIDIA releases a fix).
What Happens Next?
With this interesting situation in place, a few scenarios may unfold. Option 1 is how the RTX 3060 will end up in the hands of more Ethereum miners. As such, its price may skyrocket shortly and cause another shortage if left unchecked. Given the current issues with all other NVIDIA cards on the market, that outcome would be far from ideal.
A second outcome is how NVIDIA may attempt to fix the software. To do so, they should also disable the previous version, which may prove somewhat problematic. It is possible to do so, but card owners have no incentive to upgrade to a software version that might make their cards less useful. Additionally, there is no guarantee a coder won’t modify the driver to allow for full-speed mining again.
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