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.