Nvidia will begin to throttle back the capabilities of new RTX 3080 and 3070 cards to prevent them from being used to mine cryptocurrency. The company wants the graphics cards to be available for the gamers they are intended for.
Popular computer graphics card maker Nvidia is taking steps to limit the hash rate of a few popular products. Normally, graphics card designers are trying to squeeze out more and more power and hash rates, but Nvidia is taking a sharp left turn to help gamers get the cards designed for them.
Not enough graphics cards to go around
With the growth of crypto mining, the miners themselves require machines with higher than average stats. The best cards for mining require enough power and memory to solve the complicated algorithms involved. Currently, the Nvidia GeForce line and RTX line are the go-to cards for many miners on a budget.
The rush on graphics cards recently pushed Nvidia’s stock prices to a new all-time high in April and the company is having trouble keeping inventory on the shelves.
However, the problem, as many see it, is that PC gamers are desperate for these chips and are finding it nigh on impossible to find them. The shortage is due partially to a global shortage of semiconductors, but mostly because crypto miners are snatching them up en masse.
The imbalance of supply and demand has become so bad that some retailers are conducting lotteries for the chance to pay a 60% markup for the cards. Smuggling is too becoming an issue after a lucky fishing boat somehow caught 300 of the cards in the waters around the Hong Kong airport. Gamers are frustrated and it appears Nvidia is coming to help.
Nvidia will make their cards worse to make the situation better
To combat the issues revolving around their video cards, or lack thereof, Nvidia will continue to limit the hash rates of their RTX line. Previously, the RTX 3060 was nerfed before it launch in February as a sort of a test run.
These nerfs, or downgrades, affect the hash rate of the video cards. Hash rates are a unit that is designed to measure the computational performance of the said card. The newest and most expensive naturally have the highest rates and are ideal for hardcore gamers and crypto miners alike.
Nvidia is attempting to keep the cards in the hands of gamers by limiting the capabilities of their own hardware. The new GPUs will see a dip in hash rate from around 60 MH/s to around 25 MH/s. That figure is around what a five-year-old GTX 1060 can produce.
While the figure is high enough that a casual miner can enjoy, the problem miners will need to look elsewhere for cards more powerful. Nvidia has stated its intention to manufacture mining-specific cards in the near future.
These new de-tuned cards will all carry a label of “Lite Hash Rate” or “LHR” to let customers know the cards are not destined for the crypto mines.
“This reduced hash rate only applies to newly manufactured cards with the LHR identifier and not to cards already purchased,” says Matt Wuebbling, head of GeForce marketing for Nvidia. “We believe this additional step will get more GeForce cards at better prices into the hands of gamers everywhere.”
For those looking to mine with Nvidia after the LHR launch, Nvidia still offers a Crypto Mining Processor (CMP). The cards are made specifically for the task of mining and can’t even handle any graphics at all.