Nvidia has announced that it will now limit mining on almost all of its new graphics cards, including the RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 cards that will begin shipping at the end of May.
This is in reaction to the worldwide GPU shortage which has been exacerbated by cryptocurrency miners swallowing up a large number of cards from the market.
The company first imposed limits on its RTX 3060 cards in February 2021 by using internal drivers aimed at halving Ethereum hash rates.
However, this proved to be inefficient, as methods to bypass or disable these drivers – using Nvidia’s own code, no less – began circulating on the Internet within a month of the driver’s launch.
With the limits now being imposed on other cards in addition to the RTX 3060, the company aims to stay true to its statement that “GeForce is for gamers”.
The company said they believed this additional step would get more GeForce cards at better prices into the hands of gamers.
As with the RTX 3060, mining limits on the new cards will be directed at Ethereum miners.
In an interview with Ars Technica, a Nvidia spokesperson stated the primary reason for the Ethereum focus is the fact that the cryptocurrency constitutes “more than 90 percent of GPU-mineable coin rewards”.
How effective these limits will be remains to be seen, although it is encouraging that Nvidia is taking steps towards aiding the already severe GPU shortage.
The shortage has also resulted in skyrocketing prices, with many of the latest graphics cards now thousands of rand more expensive than at launch.
Crypto mining processor
In conjunction with its original RTX 3060 mining limit announcement in February, Nvidia also announced a Crypto Mining Processor (CMP).
The CMP is a specialised product for crypto miners who would normally buy cards intended for the gaming market.
“With CMP, we can help miners build the most efficient data centres while preserving GeForce RTX GPUs for gamers,” Nvidia stated.
The company stated that CMP cards did not meet the specifications required of a GeForce GPU and therefore would not impact the availability of GeForce cards to gamers.