Nvidia probably thought it had put a definite stop to Ethereum mining on GeForce RTX 30-series (Ampere) graphics cards with the introduction of the Lite Hash Rate (LHR) series. NBMiner, a popular mining software, has found a partial workaround to Nvidia's enhanced anti-mining limiter.
The latest version of NBMiner (opens in new tab) (via VideoCardz (opens in new tab)) debuted today and brought a very interesting hack with it. According to the changelog, the tool restores up to 70% of the mining performance on Ampere LHR graphics cards. It's just a partial bypass, but NBMiner is on to something so we can't discard the possibility of a full workaround down the line. Sadly, miners will probably have the LHR series on their radars with this new development. This comes as bad news for gamers as another shortage may be on the horizon.
NBMiner's solution is currently a work in progress. The developer recommends that miners use 68% of the graphics card's mining performance since that's the most stable value according to tests. The software works on both Linux and Windows operating systems and with Nvidia's latest GeForce drivers without a hiccup. However, the hack only supports the ethash algorithm at the moment - other mining algorithms may be supported in the near future.
The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti was one of the best mining GPUs prior to Nvidia's crackdown on Ethereum mining. The coveted Ampere graphics card delivered a hash rate around the 60 MH/s range. Nvidia eventually gimped the mining performance in half. With this new bypass from NBMiner, miners could potentially squeeze up to 41 MH/s out of the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti LHR, putting it in the alley of the Radeon RX 5600 XT or GeForce RTX 2070.
Ethereum's pending transition from a proof-of-work (PoW) model to a proof-of-stake (PoS) model aims to reduce power usage by up to 99.95%, according to the Ethereum Foundation, and eliminate the dependency on graphics card. The upgrade may happen by the end of 2021 or early 2022 so miners may have their days numbered.
Between the ETC difficulty bomb and move to PoS that are supposed to come in December, Ethereum hash rate should be mostly irrelevant by then.
Even the difficulty bomb is not guaranteed to be enough to make it unprofitable. Especially if the ETH prices keep going up, as of lately.
The only certainty is the move to PoS. That will be the end of GPU mining ETH and it will be about 1 year from now ~ middle of 2022.
So everybody should expect the worse: 1 more year from now for all this cryto mining to last.
After that, there will still be GPU mining, but it will be divided between more than one alt coin and until or if it gets accumulated again into just one preferred alt coin, at some point or never, we will see. At least for a time after that if will be better for gamers.
As far as gpu prices for gamers, honestly I know people are like oh just don’t buy to teach companies a lesson. Right now they are going to sell almost every new card regardless. So I think if you have a card like a gtx 1060 or rx 580 and want an upgrade, you may have to bank on selling your old cards while prices are high to cut down the price of a new card. The people who are paying more are the people who are new to the hobby and don’t have a card yet or they’ve been out for a long time.
Making sure they don't get stuck with dead-end new products that have to compete with previous generations for sales when that crypto crash comes is likely a good chunk of the reason AMD and Nvidia are aiming for 2-3X the performance with their next-gen stuff.