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Nvidia Reportedly Revamps Ampere Silicon to Stop Ethereum Mining For Good

Ampere Silicon
Ampere Silicon (Image credit: Nvidia)

According to HKEPC's report, Nvidia is ready to redeem itself after the whole anti-mining limiter fiasco with the GeForce RTX 3060. The chipmaker is reportedly preparing a new variant of the GA106 silicon to restore the Ethereum anti-mining limiter back to its not-so-glory days.

Citing an unidentified Taiwanese graphics card manufacturer as the source, HKEPC claims that Nvidia has discontinued the GA106-300 die, which powers the GeForce RTX 3060. Therefore, upcoming GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards will be based on the new GA106-302 die.  As simple as the solution may seem, the die swap is sufficient to invalidate the Nvidia-leaked GeForce 470.05 Beta driver since it doesn't have the data to pick up the new PCI Device ID. According to HKEPC's sources, Nvidia has implemented additional mechanisms into the GA106-302 silicon so cracking the anti-mining limiter won't be as easy as before.

Barring any setbacks, Nvidia is rumored to deliver the GA106-302 silicon in May, meaning subsequent GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards will have the new die. By injecting the new variation into the current market, Nvidia will have effectively added some uncertainty to the mix so cryptocurrency miners have to think twice before picking up a GeForce RTX 3060. On another note, Nvidia's move will likely add some extra value to the old GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards, which are already selling for over $1000.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-Series Graphics Cards

Graphics CardCurrent SiliconNew Silicon
GeForce RTX 3090GA102-300GA102-302/202
GeForce RTX 3080GA102-300GA102-302/202
GeForce RTX 3070GA104-300GA104-302/202
GeForce RTX 3060GA106-300GA106-302

Although HKEPC only touches on the GeForce RTX 3060, it may only be the tip of the iceberg. Prominent hardware leaker kopite7kimi, who has an impeccable history regarding Ampere leaks, thinks that Nvidia may also revise the chipmaker's other Ampere silicon. The list includes the GA102 and GA104 silicons, which power the GeForce RTX 3090 and GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3070, respectively. Therefore, it appears that Nvidia is undertaking a crusade to stop cryptocurrency miners.

Many consumers don't have Nvidia on the highest regard, especially since the chipmaker accidentally leaked a driver that completely disabled its own anti-mining limiter. Some might question Nvidia's commitment on clamping down cryptocurrency miners. The chipmaker did rake in a remarkable Q4 revenue between $100 to $300 million from cryptomining sales alone.

Obviously, Nvidia knows how to make money. The chipmaker's endgame may consist in suppressing Ethereum mining on its GeForce gaming graphics cards to push cryptocurrency miners over to the company's Cryptocurrency Mining Processor (CMP) instead. While some of us still aren't convinced of CMP's value, big cryptocurrency mining corporations don't seem to have any qualms. Hut 8 Mining Corp. already ordered $30 million worth of CMP products. Nvidia already predicts an estimated revenue up to $150 million from CMP sales for the first quarter, tripling its previous forecast.

The former anti-mining limiter was short-lived, mainly because Nvidia gave cryptocyrrency miners the keys to the kingdom. We hope the chipmaker has put extra protections in place this time around and maybe, just maybe, more Ampere graphics cards will start landing in gamers' hands instead of Ethereum mining farms.