NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060’s Ethereum hash rate limiter gets unlocked

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Update 1 (03/16/2021 @ 04:32 PM ET): NVIDIA has pulled the driver update that increased the hash rate of Ethereum mining on the GeForce RTX 3060. Click here for more information. The article, as published on March 15, 2021, is preserved below.

Right before NVIDIA shipped out its new GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card last month, the company announced that the GPU’s cryptocurrency mining capabilities would be nerfed at launch. A representative for the company had said that there would be a secure handshake between the driver, the RTX 3060 chip, and the BIOS (firmware) to restrict users from removing the hash rate limiter, specifically if you are mining for Ethereum. NVIDIA also said that it wouldn’t be possible to rollback to an older version of the driver to restore the card’s original mining capability.

Miners haven’t had to wait too long, though, as last week there were reports about the successful removal of the mining restrictions on the Geforce RTX 3060. While those turned out to be incorrect as the alleged screenshots showed a different cryptocurrency altogether, new confirmations have now questioned NVIDIA’s uncrackable restriction. Multiple reports claim once again, saying that they can mine for Ethereum at the card’s full potential.

NVIDIA RTX 3060 hash rate unlocked

Image: PC Watch

As first reported by PC Watch, the Ethereum mining restrictions can be bypassed without the need to modify the driver or BIOS.

The editorial department was able to confirm the fact that restrictions could be circumvented by interacting with related parties. The specific method is not introduced here, but it does not require modification of the driver or BIOS, and anyone can easily do it with a little effort.

PC Watch

Apparently, it’s possible to bypass the RTX 3060’s hash rate limiter by simply using the GeForce 470.05 beta driver that NVIDIA distributed to developers through the Windows Insider Program. As ComputerBase and forum posts by users on Guru3D and DC Inside point out, installing the beta driver automatically unlocks the mining performance for most RTX 3060 GPUs.

NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ethereum hash rate unlocked

Image: ComputerBase

During the announcement of the new mining restriction, NVIDIA also announced a new product line made specifically for mining Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. CMP, or Cryptocurrency Mining Processor, was launched by the company to specifically address Ethereum mining needs while ensuring the RTX 3060 ends up in the hands of gamers, as intended to. But the release of this beta driver — while likely unintentional — jeopardizes the launch of this new product line.


Update 1: Driver Pulled

As expected, NVIDIA accidentally unlocked the full Ethereum mining potential of the RTX 3060 in the driver update. In a statement to The Verge, an NVIDIA spokesperson said that “a developer driver inadvertently included code used for internal development which removes the hash rate limiter on RTX 3060 in some configurations. The driver has been removed.” Unfortunately, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle, and there will likely always be mirrored copies of this driver floating around somewhere on the Internet.

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