A hot potato: We now know that while the RTX 3060 will doubtlessly feel the effects of the semiconductor shortage, Ethereum miners won’t be lining up to grab it. But will the limitations Nvidia is imposing extend to previous entries in the Ampere line? No, says the company.
Yesterday brought news that the new release drivers for the RTX 3060, which arrives on February 25, can detect “specific attributes of the Ethereum cryptocurrency mining algorithm, and limit the hash rate, or cryptocurrency mining efficiency, by around 50 percent.”
Questions were raised over whether this supposedly unhackable limiter would also affect other Ampere-based cards running the same driver, but the company has confirmed it is not limiting the performance of GPUs already sold.
While some gamers might have welcomed a limiter being placed on all Ampere cards, such a move is both morally and perhaps legally questionable. It’s also worth remembering that some gamers are also miners and vice versa, so it’s not a black and white question of ‘us versus them.’
Rather than nerfing the entire Ampere line, Nvidia hopes to ease the pressure of unprecedented demand by restarting its Cryptocurrency Mining Processor (CMP) line—a move that company CFO Colette Kress in January suggested could happen.
The CMP line lacks display outputs and comes with lower frequency and voltage settings than the gaming equivalents. Nvidia says as they don’t meet the specifications of a GeForce GPU, they won’t impact the supply of GeForce graphics cards—apparently. It’s suspected that all the cards with the possible exception of the the top 90HX are based on Turning chips, helping minimize the impact on new GeForce card production.
With so many people sick of waiting for new stock of RTX 3000 cards, crypto mining has become an increasingly contentious subject. Zotac recently incurred the wrath of gamers when it posted a pro-mining tweet. On the other side of the coin, the rising price of crypto has helped some businesses stay afloat during the pandemic.