For now, Nvidia plans to only restrict cryptocurrency mining capabilities on the RTX 3060—not any of the other graphics cards in its 3000 series.
“We are focused on RTX 3060 currently. And we are not limiting the performance of GPUs already sold,” a company spokesperson told PCMag.
That’s bad news for PC gamers still trying to snag an RTX 3060 Ti, 3070, or 3080, which continue to sell out in minutes—even six months after the initial release, thanks in part to cryptocurrency miners in need of powerful GPUs.
The most affordable entry in the series, the RTX 3060, goes on sale next Thursday. So to try and free up the supplies, Nvidia is handicapping the card’s ability to mine the cryptocurrency Ethereum through the GPU’s software driver. The move should not impact gaming performance.
The company isn’t explaining why it won’t bring cryptocurrency mining caps to the rest of the RTX 3000 series. However, Nvidia is pushing back against doubts that the RTX 3060’s anti-cryptocurrency mining restrictions can be easily reversed.
No details were given, but the company says it has essentially locked access to the “hash rate limiter” that deliberately halves the RTX 3060’s mining efficiency by 50%. “There is a secure handshake between the driver, the RTX 3060 silicon, and the BIOS (firmware) that prevents removal of the hash rate limiter,” Nvidia’s spokesperson said.
Still, you can bet many in the cryptocurrency community will try to hack the cards. In the meantime, Nvidia is working on another way to dissuade miners from buying up the RTX 3000 stock. It’s preparing to introduce graphics cards specifically designed for cryptocurrency mining.
Those Nvidia CMP cards are slated to start arriving this quarter, but they won’t take away any existing manufacturing capacity for the RTX 3000 GPUs, the company said.