Nvidia Allegedly Restores Mining Performance On GeForce RTX 30 LHR GPUs

NVIDIA LHRv3 unlock
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia's latest drivers for Microsoft's Windows and Linux operating systems disable the company's LHR (Lite Hash Rate) mining hash rate capping technology introduced last year and essentially re-enable the mining potential of GeForce RTX 30-series LHR graphics cards. Meanwhile, now that Ethereum — the most popular cryptocurrency to mine on GPUs — has moved to the proof-of-Stake concept, it does not look like GPU mining will come back.

Nvidia's recently released Windows driver version 522.25 and Linux driver version 520.56.06 no longer activate LHR technology when mining software is used, according to Reddit user Timbers007 (opens in new tab) (via I_Leak_VN (opens in new tab)). As a result, all of Nvidia's GeForce RTX 30-series LHR and GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, RTX 3080 Ti, and RTX 3090 Ti boards can again serve for mining at their total hash rate.

To lower demand for its GeForce RTX 30-series graphics cards by Ethereum miners, Nvidia introduced its LHR-series products with a reduced hash rate in May 2021. While the solution did not last long and was broken by multiple mining applications, it still somewhat limited the appeal of Nvidia's GeForce RTX 30-series boards for miners.

(Image credit: Timbers007/Reddit)

Since Ethereum now requires proof-of-stake, GPU mining is no longer that appealing for this cryptocurrency. But other algorithms like Autolykos (used by the Ergo Platform) can take advantage of graphics processors and are meant to be ASIC-resistant. Technically, Ergo has an LHR unlocker built-in, but it has to be launched as Administrator (in Windows) or with root permissions (in Linux), which sometimes adds complexities.

Now that Ethereum is no longer suitable for GPU mining, it is logical for Nvidia to disable its LHR hash rate capping technology. Yet, with LHR limitations gone, Nvidia's GPUs are again suitable for mining, so the question is whether someone manages to come up with an appropriate algorithm or cryptocurrency and revives the GPU mining craze.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • emike09
    Lied to this entire time. It all could be unlocked with drivers. If Nvidia needed yet another reason to lose trust in customers, this is a great one. I'd bet Nvidia was giving special drivers to mega mining firms all along. Don't artificially tell me what I can and can't do with my hard-earned hardware!
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  • TJ Hooker
    emike09 said:
    Lied to this entire time. It all could be unlocked with drivers. If Nvidia needed yet another reason to lose trust in customers, this is a great one. I'd bet Nvidia was giving special drivers to mega mining firms all along. Don't artificially tell me what I can and can't do with my hard-earned hardware!
    The fact that the limiter was driver-based has never been in question. Even Nvidia described it as being driver-based from day 1.
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  • InvalidError
    Nvidia's LHR pretty much only affected Ethereum in the first place, which is why the first iteration of LHR work-around was simply mining an alt-coin to put under-used resources from LHR to some other use. Scrapping LHR now means one less piece of now unnecessary code to maintain and one less potential cause of performance weirdness in non-mining applications that may have characteristics that could spuriously trigger LHR.
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    I love the smell of
    D E S P E R A T I O N.
    And I doubt Nvidia lied. It was a 3 point system check. UEFI, firmware, and drivers. Just because the drivers could disable the LHR limiter was in the driver's alone meant there was a bypass. Like a password code that allows you to bypass everything similar to how the beta driver leak did this.
    Reply
  • emike09
    TJ Hooker said:
    The fact that the limiter was driver-based has never been in question. Even Nvidia described it as being driver-based from day 1.
    Nvidia: RTX 3060 vBIOS Prevents Removal of Hash Rate Limiter | Tom's Hardware (tomshardware.com)
    The understanding Nvidia wanted everyone to know was it was limited in three ways: vBIOS, silicon, and drivers. There are many other references to this besides that TH link. Original LHR hardware like the 3060 was bypassed by the leaked drivers, so Nvidia released LHRv2 that supposedly incorporated more security against ETH mining than what a leaked driver could prevent. Lies, regardless of how you want to defend Nvidia.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    emike09 said:
    Nvidia: RTX 3060 vBIOS Prevents Removal of Hash Rate Limiter | Tom's Hardware (tomshardware.com)The understanding Nvidia wanted everyone to know was it was limited in three ways: vBIOS, silicon, and drivers. There are many other references to this besides that TH link. Original LHR hardware like the 3060 was bypassed by the leaked drivers, so Nvidia released LHRv2 that supposedly incorporated more security against ETH mining than what a leaked driver could prevent. Lies, regardless of how you want to defend Nvidia.
    The vBIOS check was to ensure you couldn't use modified/hacked drivers, otherwise people could bypass the driver-based limiter. They had to release a new version of the 3060 (that was presumably to the identical to the original except for a tweaked vBIOS) that wouldn't be supported by the existing, leaked driver, because otherwise people could just stick with that driver to circumvent the limiter.

    I've never seen it claimed by Nvidia, or tech press, that the limiter was in-silicon, either in part or in full.

    The only part I could see being a lie is Nvidia acting as though LHR was implemented for the sake of gamers. It seems more likely Nvidia wanted to limit Geforce mining so they could upsell miners on their CMP line (which included last gen GPUs on a cheaper node).
    Reply
  • renz496
    TJ Hooker said:
    The only part I could see being a lie is Nvidia acting as though LHR was implemented for the sake of gamers. It seems more likely Nvidia wanted to limit Geforce mining so they could upsell miners on their CMP line (which included last gen GPUs on a cheaper node).
    This. The very reason LHR exist to segment the market. Like how Quadro/Tesla/Geforce is. What nvidia hates about miners buying regular geforce is those card will flood the used market later. Nvidia want miner to buy those CMP lineup and nvidia most likely want to charge accordingly as well instead of giving them the geforce price. Everyone have their own greed.
    Reply
  • kjohn034
    Nvidia can sit on it. Dictating what you can and can't use your general purpose graphics card for puts a bad taste in my mouth. They now say it's a-ok to use your hardware...until they decide they don't like something else you do with it. Team green has turned a dark shade of poo. Team red from now on.
    Reply