Up For Debate - Should GPU crypto mining limiters be standard?

Written by Chad Norton on Sat, Mar 13, 2021 5:00 PM

As crypto mining continues to surge in popularity, and graphics card shortages continue to be a problem, the idea that cryptocurrency mining should be limited in some way keeps cropping up: how can manufacturers help reduce the amount of demand for the new graphics cards that crypto miners so desperately want?

At the end of the day, there won’t be any true way to limit crypto miners purchasing graphics cards, at least not whilst any of them can be used to make money anyway. But Nvidia tried to do it at least by significantly reducing the crypto mining performance of their recently released RTX 3060.

AMD on the other hand said they would not be limiting the crypto mining performance of their GPUs, although their cards are much less popular when it comes to mining cryptocurrencies.

So that begs the question: should crypto mining limiters become a standard? It’s likely that in the future we’ll see another crypto mining boom that will have hundreds of thousands of potential miners trying to buy as many of the latest GPUs as possible, causing another shortage of graphics cards across the world. It’s just inevitable as long as crypto can still be mined with such PC hardware.

So maybe the limiter should come as a standard on all GPUs from now on, simple right? Well, what about those who like to have some form of passive income? Using a graphics card as a crypto miner to generate some extra cash during their off work hours - especially during a difficult time like now - is perfectly fine. And it’s all fine and dandy for those who have already purchased one, since Nvidia won’t be retroactively adding the limiter through a driver update to those who already bought an RTX 30 card.

The problem is those who decide to buy in bulk, and a crypto mining limiter will deter them from buying even more, but will also affect those who like to do it passively.

So it’s a double edged sword, and I’m sure there’s probably a better way of doing it. But for now, all we have is a mining performance limiter, and a question of whether it should become a standard across all graphics cards in the future.

So what do you think? Should GPU crypto mining limiters be standard? Or should it only be applied to a select few graphics cards (as in the most profitable)? Is it fair on those who like to do it passively with just 1 or 2 GPUs? Let’s debate!

Should GPU crypto mining limiters be standard?

Should it be every GPU? Or just some GPUs?

Should the crypto mining limiter be much harsher?

Are you interested in generating passive income from crypto mining on the side?

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10:37 Mar-14-2021

they need to fix this
A S A P

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04:42 Mar-14-2021

The problem is the farming. I watched a few docu showing just how serious this can be. thousands and thousands of video cards in a huge farm wearhouse mining. And not just one or two, but dosens of them across many countries...These card are running full tilt hot as the sun for months at a time. And the worst part is, the cards are bought in bulk right from the plants...and from amazson, neweg you name i!

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22:32 Mar-13-2021

Are people literally so narrow minded? If you have mining limiters, the only thing you do is increase electronic waste and reduce second-hand purchases in future. AMD/NVidia create special mining cards that, once the bitcoin implodes, serve no other purpose than to be discarded into waste. Gold/copper/silicon can not be extracted back, or could only be extracted in low volumes, which would be inefficient. All that leads to a buildup of wasted silicon wafers.


Do you think that because a special card exists, which is only for mining, that somehow the silicon production will increase? No! They take it out of the gaming GPU buffer.

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22:38 Mar-13-2021

If they have 100 kilos of silicon in a GPU magic factory, right now they use all of those 100 kilos for their mainstream GPUs. If you introduce limiters and special GPUs, the extra silicon won't just magically conjure itself into the factory. No. They will take it out of the 100 kilos, slap a special label on it and then sell it for profit. The actual number of "gaming" GPUs will decrease, but at least you won't be in the illusion that it's because of the miners.
In the end, other people won't be able to buy cheaper, second-hand cards from miners because those will be useless.
Companies - profit
Ecology - losing
Public - losing

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23:23 Mar-13-2021

I concur

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14:29 Mar-14-2021

People get that there's a limited amount of silicon. But if you take that 100 kilos of silicon and divide it 50-50 between cards for mining and cards for gaming with a mining limiter, then around 50% of those cards might actually end up in the hands of gamers, which is a much higher percentage than we're getting right now. That's what people care about. Not what happens to the card when it reaches EOL and is trashed (because that happens to all cards eventually anyway)...

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14:36 Mar-14-2021

...and certainly not what happens to the secondary market. When miners flood it with cheap cards that have been rode hard and put away wet, any purchase is dubious proposition due to high failure rates and no warranty. Yeah, we get that mining limiters have some downsides vs a perfect world, but we haven't been living in one for some time, and people just want to have access to new cards, even if it's only half the stock we might otherwise have had.

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14:41 Mar-14-2021

No brother, because once they buy all those mining cards, they'll go back to buying gaming cards too. And if you split the production, you'll not only be left with nothing now, but also nothing in the future. There is no single way mining GPUs or limiters are going to help anyone apart from bringing more profit to the company. The best case scenario is to simply ride out the crypto wave until it bursts. Anything more is just us loosing even more on nothing we already have.

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16:26 Mar-14-2021

If you have an actually effective limiter for multiple types of crypto, and not one that's specific for etherium mining like the RTX 3060's, then at some point regular cards aren't efficient enough to justify purchasing them for mining use. It's certainly better than just doing nothing and hoping at some point crypto crashes (which may or may not happen) and the miners generously acquiesce to letting us mere gamers have cards again.

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19:17 Mar-14-2021

Crypto will crash. The way it works it's kinda inevitable. Even if it somehow doesn't, at some point in the future, GPU mining is simply gonna become unprofitable. And software can be hacked. Believe me, if miners have nothing left they will get that done. As I mentioned before in this thread, I don't think artificially limiting your hardware is a good precedent to set, and mining only GPUs are a whole lot of bad for many different reasons.

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10:40 Mar-15-2021

I can't see btc/eth imploding any time soon (tons of institutional investment now) but really you'll be needing non-mineable/proof-of-stake coins to really take off. There is decent movement there so it could become the case within the next 5 years or so.

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03:09 Mar-15-2021

People don't think when it's more convenient to just blindly hate...

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23:28 Mar-15-2021

Well said

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21:50 Mar-13-2021

Well, if they do it, they should do it right and fork out architectures based on purpose. So you would have gaming cards, which have gaming architecture, that is optimized for that specific purpose and is designed to do badly at mining. So this wouldn't be just constant cat and mouse game. Because otherwise miners will just put their AIB people up to cracking it and it would never work.

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21:52 Mar-13-2021

But with hardware design, gaming cards simply couldn't mine well and there would be cards with compute optimized architecture that miners could buy. That way general users have their cards and miners have incentive to get mining cards, one that will counter resale value of getting gaming cards. Because right now mining cards are just gaming cards they can't resell latter, when mining bubble pops.

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10:55 Mar-14-2021

Miners already buy any GPU stock they can get their hands on (inducing mining and gaming only cards) and since mining only GPU's uses literally same components as the ones used for games, there are even less gaming cards getting produced right now reducing the chance that a GPU would end up in gamer hands even fuhrer.


Also mining cards have no resell value and will end up in a landfill

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16:57 Mar-14-2021

Yeah, it is choosing between two evils, but if architectures were actually different, I think they could put basic outputs on mining cards, so they wouldn't be locked for gaming. So they would keep some resell value. But you are correct, if they didn't enable output, they would end up in landfill. Hence why differentiation should be in architecture, not output capability.

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19:23 Mar-14-2021

Yeah, but designing a whole different architecture is crazy expensive, and doing so that they can be thrown into garbage a year later could be a disaster. You cannot predict a cryptomining boom, and architecture takes years from development to production. If they miss the period they could potentially lose billions. And next to that, crippling mining performance will probably cripple gaming or other uses too. They're not built as they are for nothing.

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22:20 Mar-15-2021

True, I never said it will be easy or cheap... :-D But as fart as minign coming and going, I do think mining architecture could look beyond just mining. I am not saying lock everything else out, I guess what I am saying make one "work" architecture and one gaming architecture in a way that former happens to also be great for mining and latter poor for mining. But I agree, it would not be easy.

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22:22 Mar-15-2021

Plus mining comes and goes, while you can't predict it, what I am basically saying, give that architecture bit more purpose than just mining, so it remains viable. However this would help setting apart series of cards that would be there for regular users, if mining crisis strikes again, unless it gets so hardcore that miners buy even the most inefficient stuff.

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11:04 Mar-14-2021

Well since "gaming" cards have support for CUDA and OpenCL API's it means that those cards can also be used for any repetitive and highly-parallel computing task not just for games.

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21:40 Mar-13-2021

Mining on gpus shouldn't be a thing in the first place...

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21:14 Mar-13-2021

What if instead of miners buying most of graphics cards there were scientists buying them to speed up the research lets say to find the cure for cancer, would you still say it is fine to limit the performance even its not the intended use case for a GPU?
Well due to the chip shortage that is happening right now the supply for GPU's are in quite bad spot right now that cant be solved with limiters

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21:37 Mar-13-2021

Production of cards is not as it was . You are right ,miners , scalpers is just side symptom but i think chip shortage is also a symptom of much bigger problems . miners and scalpers are simple answer and people love simple answers .

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23:02 Mar-13-2021

Chip production steadily increases, it's just that chips are more present in basically everything nowadays and there are very few global chip manufacturers who can produce top of the line stuff as TSMC can for example. They cannot produce enough to meet the ever growing demand.

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20:59 Mar-13-2021

I hope no one is mistaking this as a consumer friendly or gamer™ move. This is a killing off resellability of the second hand gaming GPU´s to people by selling crypto specific cards. This has nothing to do with gamers™ they just dont want the repeat of the last crash where it hurt their profits bad as demand plummeted.

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20:20 Mar-13-2021

folding/banano ftw

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19:50 Mar-13-2021

There shouldn't be any limiters, because it's useless. First it's only for Etherium. Second the graphics cards they are substituting them with have no resell value, so... straight into the landfield when the cryptoboom dies off. Hurray for the Earth! And third, with regular GPU's one could sell them to gamers.

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22:00 Mar-13-2021

Anyone in their right mind shouldn't and wouldn't buy a used GPU, especially one used for mining. I know I never would.

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23:40 Mar-13-2021

They usually really aren't that bad. Especially if they are used to mine ethereum miners usually undervolt their cards to save on their power bill.

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23:55 Mar-13-2021

I still wouldn't buy a used card. Period.

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17:56 Mar-13-2021

Even with the limiter I wouldn't sell my GPU to a miner. No way.

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17:54 Mar-13-2021

Nahh. I dislike this cryptomining boom as much as anyone here, but I don't think artificially limiting performance on the software level should be a thing. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I feel like it might set a dangerous precedent for the future. Freedom to use your hardware, appliances or stuff in general is already severely limited in many cases and I don't think we need another limit. These limiters won't help anyone, they only harm everyone.

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20:24 Mar-13-2021

id like to see GPU's move to some other way of doing things that would then leave only ASICC systems and old GPU's for crypto

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21:27 Mar-13-2021

It is funny of some people misconception that a PC as well as graphics card are mostly used for games.
The PC can be used for everything (games, rendering, research, programing, mining etc.) and if we let companies to get away with things like limiters there would be no telling if a company decides to make every graphics card for only single use case and not allowing to use it for anything else.

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14:54 Mar-14-2021

i was thinking more 10/15 year down the line when every game is ray/path traced and rasterization techniques aren't used as much as now. maybe then by having more RT cores and less raster tech in a GPU, the hash rate might go down, meaning older cards/asicc's are actually better than newer GPU's for mining.

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21:48 Mar-13-2021

Yeah i mean if you buy a product you should be able to use it to its full potential, and i dont mine nor do i intend to do it , in fact i just hope crypto crash so hard like it did in 2018 so that we can get a flood of gpus 2nd hand, making new ones to drop in price as well.

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