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Opinion News Hardware Nvidia adds a cryptocurrency mining limiter that 'cannot be hacked' to the RTX 3060 - Announce new cryptocurrency mining graphics card

IbizaPocholo

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Dec 1, 2014
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ibiza

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."

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."


Nvidia has promised that its new lineup of cryptocurrency mining GPUs, called CMP for short, won't impact the supply of GeForce graphics cards for PC gamers.

That's because these cards are reportedly using GPUs that don't fit the specifications for the company's GeForce graphics cards and thus were otherwise not going to find much use in the existing lineup, the company says.

There are four new cryptocurrency mining graphics cards for miners to choose from: the CMP 90HX, 50HX, 40HX, and 30HX. As you might imagine, the numerical digit in the name loosely represents the hash rate these cards will offer when mining Ethereum, the most popular cryptocurrency for GPU mining today.

How exactly these GPUs stack up versus the existing graphics cards in the GeForce lineup does hint at some similarities between the two, a nod to their possible destination in the gaming lineup.

For example, the CMP 90HX is an 86MH/s card with a 320W TDP and 10GB of memory. That's bang-on the RTX 3080 specification, although may differ in the exact configuration and clock speed.

The CMP line also lacks the new 12-pin power connector introduced with the RTX 30-series, instead opting for either one or two 8-pin power connectors.
 

sn0man

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Nov 23, 2013
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On one hand great they’ve stopped the pain that potential 3060 owners might have. On the other hand... doesn’t this leave folks still trying to get a 3070/80/90 high and dry?

on the other other hand... if this solution isn’t coming via hardware, why not at least start releasing TI versions of the other cards that do have the same software limiters to maybe allow availability outside of 3060s for owners? Consuming if not somewhat positive news.
 
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Fredrik

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doesn’t this leave folks still trying to get a 3070/80/90 high and dry?
Yep!
high five Sports bar GIF by Originals
 
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nkarafo

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I don't understand how graphics cards became viable for mining again. A few years ago i was reading that you need specially made hardware. ASIC or FPGA or something. And that GPUs aren't good enough anymore.
 

Black_Stride

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I don't understand how graphics cards became viable for mining again. A few years ago i was reading that you need specially made hardware. ASIC or FPGA or something. And that GPUs aren't good enough anymore.

New algorithms/currencies.
Mining Bitcoin with a GPU would be completely pointless.
 

kyliethicc

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A brilliant move by Nvidia.

1a. limit normal 3060 gamers ability to make some side $$ by mining
1b. don't actually limit miners real ability to mine

2. sell shitty leftover dies to miners for quick short term $$$ as "mining cards"

3a. prevent miners from reselling these cards to gamers later
3b. reduce supply of used gaming cards, pushing buyers to buy new cards

4. get easy good PR by pretending to care

5. profit


 
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Xyphie

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I don't understand how graphics cards became viable for mining again. A few years ago i was reading that you need specially made hardware. ASIC or FPGA or something. And that GPUs aren't good enough anymore.

No one uses GPUs for Bitcoin mining. They use them for other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Dogecoin etc.
 

Panajev2001a

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How the f* is it legal to prevent someone to deliberately run the software they want to run at it’s intended speed on the card they purchased?! I wonder how well thought out this strategy is... it has class action written all over it.
 
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Xyphie

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How the f* is it legal to prevent someone to deliberately run the software they want to run at it’s intended speed on the card they purchased?! I wonder how well thought out this strategy is... it has class action written all over it.

Why would it be illegal? GPU manufacturers have crippled performance of consumer GPUs in certain applications and then sold a professional version of that very same GPU as a Quadro/FirePro for 20 years. It's standard market segmentation.
 

Panajev2001a

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Why would it be illegal? GPU manufacturers have crippled performance of consumer GPUs in certain applications and then sold a professional version of that very same GPU as a Quadro/FirePro for 20 years. It's standard market segmentation.
They added support only to other cards in the Quadro and FirePro lines, they did. It boast that they took a card and added a limiter that would let software run and run it slower on purpose AFAIK. You are free not to add a capability to the driver, but what they are doing here is an antithesis of what is PC gaming/the PC experience. If PC has to be a closed box it could be a console...
 

Xyphie

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They added support only to other cards in the Quadro and FirePro lines, they did. It boast that they took a card and added a limiter that would let software run and run it slower on purpose AFAIK. You are free not to add a capability to the driver, but what they are doing here is an antithesis of what is PC gaming/the PC experience. If PC has to be a closed box it could be a console...

I can't make sense of this post.

The difference between a Quadro and a GeForce is literally just a different BIOS and driver that locks out the consumer card from doing certain things. How is this any different?
 

Armorian

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Jan 17, 2018
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Software...not hardware?

Give it a month, if that.

Since Pascal Nvidia GPUs only accept signed bios files so users can only swap bioses between different models (for different power limits, clocks etc.), I swapped mine from oc version of my gpu (3070) like ~2 weeks ago. I doubt it would be that easy to break trough that obstacle BUT what if signed bios without mining limiter will magically appear in the wild?
 
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horkrux

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A brilliant move by Nvidia.

1a. limit normal 3060 gamers ability to make some side $$ by mining
1b. don't actually limit miners real ability to mine

2. sell shitty leftover dies to miners for quick short term $$$ as "mining cards"

3a. prevent miners from reselling these cards to gamers later
3b. reduce supply of used gaming cards, pushing buyers to buy new cards

4. get easy good PR by pretending to care

5. profit



What a weird take

What would you want them to do instead?
 

SaturnSaturn

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Dont think it will matter tbh, scalpers are still a problem and they will still use bots now that they have all seen how lucrative its been the last year.
 

TBiddy

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How the f* is it legal to prevent someone to deliberately run the software they want to run at it’s intended speed on the card they purchased?! I wonder how well thought out this strategy is... it has class action written all over it.

100% agreed. I have no idea why anyone would support this move, outside of selfish purposes, since it makes it easier to get a new GPU.
 

Xdrive05

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Does this mean there is finally a snowball’s chance in hell that we can actually find them at MSRP by end of the year?
 

Ascend

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I don't understand how graphics cards became viable for mining again. A few years ago i was reading that you need specially made hardware. ASIC or FPGA or something. And that GPUs aren't good enough anymore.
They always remained viable, but not for the likes of Bitcoin, where ASICs have overtaken the mining operations.

I don't see this working, honestly. It's likely more a marketing ploy than anything else. Leaving these here;

 

TheContact

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on one hand, cryptominers lined the pockets of nvidia so they had a good relationship with each other
but they received a lot of pressure from the majority of their customers--gamers--and industry professionals to put the gpus in the hands of gamers, not people trying to turn a profit

i think this is a win-win. it de-incentivizes miners to buy gaming gpus, while nvidia recognizes the miners and is making something custom for them
 
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ToTTenTranz

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The only ones being saved by this move are nVidia themselves, at the cost of consumers never being able to take advantage of these when the bubble bursts and the RTX cards would be reintroduced to the market as 2nd-hand offerings.

Availability for PC gaming consumers isn't going to increase because production is just going to shift to these cards that are cheaper to make (i.e. higher margins for nvidia).
And when mining ceases being profitable, the miners can't sell these display-less cards back to gamers, who at that point have no option other than buying whatever new GPUs nVidia has to sell them.
Miners will obviously know this so they'll target the gaming cards first, and the mining cards second. This will only make things worse for consumers.

So again: this is only good for nvidia. One of the big problems they had with the Turing cards was all the 2nd-hand Pascal cards flooding the market after mining ceased to be profitable, and this solves their problem, at the cost of creating and selling SKUs that have a shorter lifespan and become technological waste.


It's a shame that tech news sites aren't calling it for what it is.
 

RoboFu

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How about we just get rid of crypto currency? I mean do you even know exactly who you are mining for?


edit:
I am saying you do not know what the transactions that you are mining are, for who, or what purpose.
It always seem like a big money laundering scheme to me. EVEN WORSE it could used for things like sex trafficking, drug lords, Buying illegal weapons,, so on and so forth
 
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Skifi28

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If it's software, why just use it on the 3060? Smething smells fishy, their motives are probably much different than the good guy image they're selling.
 
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Xyphie

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If it's software, why just use it on the 3060? Smething smells fishy, their motives are probably much different than the good guy image they're selling.

You could just not upgrade the BIOS or use an older driver on older cards. But it would be very easy for nVidia to make new steppings of 3080, 3070 et al. which are incompatible with older BIOS/drivers.
 
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Bunker Hosted

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How about we just get rid of crypto currency? I mean do you even know exactly who you are mining for?
It sounds to me like you have not a single clue in what you are talking about.... Please tell me this post was a joke, please.
 

TheMan

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Will it be hacked? Of course. If a human can build it, a human can take it down.

however, by limiting this limiter to the low end cards, they disincentive hacking in the first place because why bother hacking the 3060 when the 3080 is faster anyway?
 
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oagboghi2

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They added support only to other cards in the Quadro and FirePro lines, they did. It boast that they took a card and added a limiter that would let software run and run it slower on purpose AFAIK. You are free not to add a capability to the driver, but what they are doing here is an antithesis of what is PC gaming/the PC experience. If PC has to be a closed box it could be a console...
And that makes it illegal?

Courts don't care about your PCMR bullshit
 

Panajev2001a

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And that makes it illegal?

Courts don't care about your PCMR bullshit
If I sell you a card with no strings attached and after the fact I limit its performance when the card detects you are running a particular piece of software... well, they do have fancy lawyers, but you can see it having merit, right?

:LOL: at me getting labelled a PCMR, oh dear me.
 
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RoboFu

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A) That is never going to happen
B) The only one you would be mining for is yourself

I am saying you do not know what the transactions you are mining are and for who or what purpose.
 
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DrAspirino

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Denuvo was unhackable right?
The end of piracy and all that right?
Piracy doesnt even make money, crack groups do it for fun.
Mining makes actual money.

A Custom BIOS without the limit is going to be easy work.
Not necessarily. For example, some high-end GeForce cards have to be physically modified (desoldering some resistors and soldering somewhere else with a different array), as well as biod-modded in order to be recognized as a Quadro card by the drivers. Same with AMD with their Radeon Pro cards.

Then again, there's the memory timing issue. Sure you can mod a graphics card BIOS, but you'd also have to consider what timings the specific memory on those cards are capable of.

Long gone are the days when you could just change the bios and call it a day.

For example, I have a Radeon RX550 based on the Lexa core. Physically looks exactly the same as a Radeon WX3100 for workstations. It has the same GPU, same ammount of memory and memory bus, and same connectors. However, I've tried to flash it to a WX3100 and failed miserably (luckily enough I was able to revive it), because of the memory timings and the soldering-desoldering issue.
 
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