NVIDIA hoped that the GeForce RTX 3060 would represent a new era for long-battered gamers, during which cryptocurrency miners wouldn’t rain on their parade by hoarding cards. Through a combination of drivers, BIOS, and hardware modifications, NVIDIA limited the Ethereum hash rate of the GeForce RTX 3060 by roughly 50 percent to deter crypto miners.
Unfortunately for NVIDIA, a beta driver allowed users to bypass the ETH limiter, and a dummy HDMI plug allowed users to bypass the limiter in multi-GPU rigs. Now, we’re learning of a crypto miner that was able to amass a total of seven Zotac GeForce RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC to install in a single rig. Since the beta driver trick doesn’t work in multi-GPU setups, the user instead used the dummy HDMI plug method.
The dummy HDMI plug tricks the graphics driver into thinking that the graphics card is attached to a monitor and not being used for mining purposes. PCIe riser cards are used to get all seven cards functioning with the system. When operational, each GeForce RTX 3060 card had an effective hash rate of about 47 to 48 MH/s for an effective hash rate of 337.147 MH/s.
At this point, we’re not surprised that these stories of breaking NVIDIA’s ETH limiter continue to pile up. We said from the moment that the “feature” was announced that enthusiasts would likely find workarounds, and it didn’t take long at all. Perhaps NVIDIA will find a more clever solution with future Ampere-based graphics cards — like the rumored GeForce RTX 3080 Ti — but you can be certain that enthusiasts will find new methods of attack.
The ETH limiter, however, is just one aspect of NVIDIA’s two-pronged approach to cryptocurrency mine. The other prong relates to its CMP HX series of dedicated Ethereum mining cards that use a mix of Turing and Ampere GPUs. The announced CMP HX cards have an ETH hash rate ranging from 26 MH/s to 86 MH/s. It’s rumored that an epic A100-based CMP 220HX flagship card will eventually be launched with an effective hash rate of 210 MH/s and a TDP of just 250 watts.