Nvidia today announced it’s halving the Ethereum hash rate of new RTX 3080, 3070, and 3060 Ti graphics cards to make them less appealing to cryptocurrency miners. That could have serious implications for the list of the best GPUs for cryptocurrency mining and make it easier for gamers to acquire these graphics cards.
The company said these cards are set to ship in late May with a new “Lite Hash Rate” identifier that differentiates them from existing RTX 30-series graphics cards. “This reduced hash rate only applies to newly manufactured cards with the LHR identifier,” Nvidia said in the announcement, “and not to cards already purchased.”
That qualification addresses one of our main questions about Nvidia’s anti-mining efforts: How’s it going to avoid class-action lawsuits if it retroactively limits the hash rate of existing graphics cards? Introducing new, clearly labeled variants that ship with a reduced hash rate was likely meant to sidestep that issue entirely.
We won’t know exactly how Nvidia limited the Ethereum hash rate on these LHR graphics cards—or how well those limitations will stand up to crypto miners who have a standing interest in bypassing them—until they start to ship. Until then, Nvidia’s stance appears to be that hash rates were cut in half across the board.
Today’s announcement follows Nvidia’s efforts to reduce the hash rate of the RTX 3060 in February. Things didn’t quite go as planned—miners quickly discovered a beta driver that allowed their RTX 3060s to mine Ethereum without the hash rate limiter. (And other cryptocurrencies can be profitably mined without that driver.)
Now, most of the RTX 30-series lineup has been modified to be less appealing to Ethereum miners. (Nvidia hasn’t announced hash rate limiters for the RTX 3090.) Hopefully that will make it a little easier to find some of the best graphics cards in stock and remove some of the hurdles enthusiasts have to jump to buy them.