Nvidia seems to be clamping down on the cryptocurrency mining craze by crippling the mining performance of their RTX 3060 graphics cards and even releasing some new mining-specific processors to keep miners away from the gaming-specific GPUs.
Cryptocurrency mining has seen a massive boom recently and many gamers that are tired of low stock levels have been complaining about it for quite a while. There’s no clear evidence to suggest that crypto miners are actually influencing the limited availability of GPU stock, but looking at how many of the new GPUs miners actually have makes that statement a little hard to believe.
Some crypto miners have even taken over internet cafes in order to keep their business afloat, whilst others have turned to massive RTX 30-powered laptop farms as they themselves struggle to get any desktop graphics cards.
But Nvidia seems to be trying their best to resolve this situation. It’s undeniable that crypto mining is good for business (even Zotac endorsed crypto mining for a brief moment given how popular the new GPUs are among miners) but Nvidia is sticking up for the little guy, the true PC gamers, as they aim to significantly limit the mining performance of the upcoming RTX 3060 graphics cards as well as launching a crypto mining-specific range of processors for miners.
RTX 3060 limited crypto mining performance
The RTX 3060 is set to launch next week on February 25th and to make sure that these graphics cards are less desirable to miners, Nvidia has effectively halved the mining performance of this GPU. Nvidia says that this is “an important step to help ensure GeForce GPUs end up in the hands of gamers.”
The way they are doing this is through a new driver coming with the 3060 at launch that “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.”
That’s a pretty significant effect on GPU mining performance. Though there is the high possibility that some tech savvy miners will be able to work around the driver with enough determination.
This will unfortunately not affect previously-released graphics cards as miners could just not update to the latest driver that limits performance. But Nvidia has another plan to make sure the graphics card market isn’t overrun with miners...
Nvidia relaunching CMP range of processors
So to make sure that crypto miners stop buying up any more RTX 30 series graphics cards and limiting supply to actual gamers, Nvidia is also relaunching their CMP (Cryptocurrency Mining Processor) range that will be sold by specific partners and “optimized for the best mining performance and efficiency.”
These mining-specific cards don’t actually render any graphics - they don’t even have any display outputs - and they also have improved airflow specifically for mining, allowing them to perform better when densely packed against each other. CMPs also have lower peak voltages and frequencies, which overall improves mining efficiency.
The official Nvidia CMP lineup includes the 30HX, 40HX, 50HX, and 90HX models, each with different specs and hash rates. It’s not entirely clear if they are still based on Ampere, but the 90HX sounds an awful lot like the RTX 3080 already (same hash rate, TDP, and memory configuration).
|Ethereum Hash Rate||26 MH/s||36 MH/s||45 MH/s||86 MH/s|
|Power Connectors||1x 8-pin||2x 8-pin|
There are, of course, some worries that the new CMPs will affect the availability of GeForce gaming GPUs, which would counteract the entire reason for doing a CMP range anyway. Thankfully, Nvidia said that the CMPs “don’t meet the specifications required of a GeForce GPU and, thus, don’t impact the availability of GeForce GPUs to gamers.”
All in all, it’s good news for gamers at least. The CMP lineup won’t necessarily mean miners will stop buying the new desktop gaming cards, but it will at least give them more of a reason to go for something else and free up some availability for gamers at least. Plus, the reduced hash rate of the RTX 3060 should hopefully deter many miners from buying it at launch, unless they’re already confident in working around that driver.
What do you think? Is this a good move from Nvidia? Do you think it will actually alleviate any stock for the RTX 3060 at launch? And do you think it will help availability for the rest of the RTX 30 series? Or will it not actually make a difference in the end? Let us know your thoughts!