Sometimes the toughest problems have the easiest solutions. Nvidia might claim that its hash limiter on the GeForce RTX 3060 is unhackable, but that doesn’t mean that a workaround doesn’t exist. Cryptocurrency miners have seemingly found the solution to the limiter, and it only costs $5.99.
The GeForce RTX 3060 has got to be one of the most controversial graphics card launches in recent years. Arriving in a time of turmoil, the mid-range Ampere graphics card has been sought after by cryptocurrency miners for its Ethereum mining prowess. Although Nvidia put an anti-mining algorithm in place to nerf the GeForce RTX 3060’s hash rate in Ethereum, the mechanism didn’t last very long. As odd as it may sound, Nvidia gave away the keys to its own kingdom when the chipmaker accidentally released a GeForce beta driver that disabled the limiter.
However, the beta driver doesn’t completely unlock Ethereum mining as there are still some restrictions present. For starters, the driver supposedly limits the mining activities to one GeForce RTX 3060. It does this by requiring the graphics card needed to communicate with the motherboard through a PCIe 3.0 x8 interface as a minimum, meaning PCIe x1 risers are useless. Furthermore, a monitor has to be connected to the GeForce RTX 3060 via the HDMI port or DisplayPort output.
Nvidia’s conditions aren’t as demanding as they may sound. The PCIe 3.0 x8 requirement only means that you’ll need to pick up a motherboard that has sufficient PCIe 3.0 x8 slots to house the number of GeForce RTX 3060 that you plan to stick in it. The second requisite seems expensive since you’d need to connect a monitor to each GeForce RTX 3060. However, Nvidia’s driver isn’t as smart as the chipmaker makes it out to be — The driver detects if a monitor is connected to the graphics card, but it can’t tell the difference if it’s a real display or not. Therefore, an HDMI dummy plug, which retails for as low as $5.99 on Amazon, easily tricks Nvidia’s driver into thinking that a display is effectively present when in reality, it isn’t.
A user from Quasar Zone has proven that the workaround is functional with his four-way GeForce RTX 3060 setup. Each graphics card put up a hash rate of around 48 MH/s to contribute to the total average of 192 MH/s. It doesn’t even require a modern platform to work. The user’s modest testbed revolved around a dual-core Intel Pentium G3220 processor from the long-gone Haswell days and a Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5 motherboard. The user also confirmed that his setup works on the Maximus VI Extreme as well. The two motherboards share the same attribute of having four PCIe 3.0 x16 expansion slots, ideal for housing the user’s four GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards.
Cooling is very important since the graphics cards are stuck so close together, and there is hardly any breathing room. However, the solution is simple, as a PCIe 3.0 x16 riser cable would allow you to mount the graphics card on a rack. The biggest challenge is finding a motherboard with enough PCIe x16/x8 slots since those mining-oriented motherboards with a ridiculous number of PCIe x1 slots are unsuitable if you plan to mine Ethereum with the GeForce RTX 3060.
Nvidia’s hash limiter is but a small rock in cryptocurrency miners’ path. Since a workaround is plausible, it’s just a matter of time before someone perfects it to circumvent the anti-mining mechanism completely.