NVIDIA limits RTX 3060 crypto speeds as it introduces mining cards

It hopes to put an end to GPU shortages.


Worried that the GeForce RTX 3060 will be sold out as cryptocurrency miners snap up every GPU in sight? NVIDIA thinks it has a simple way to help: make the new card unattractive to the crypto crowd. The company has revealed that it's cutting the hash rate (mining efficiency) of the RTX 3060 in half for Ethereum miners. The driver software can detect the Ethereum mining algorithm and throttle performance in response.

The rationale is simple: NVIDIA wants to put GeForce cards "in the hands of gamers," not just those hoping to turn a profit by generating digital money. While the extremely high demand from miners has been good for NVIDIA's bottom line in the short term, it has frustrated gamers, professionals and everyday users who just want better than integrated graphics — NVIDIA even brought back years-old GPUs just to give customers some options. Scalping and price gouging have been all too common for those GPUs that do become available.

It's not leaving miners empty-handed. The firm is launching a new CMP (Cryptocurrency Mining Processor) line of add-in cards that doesn't do graphics, but is fine-tuned for crypto mining performance. The absence of video ports allows for greater airflow and more densely-packed cards, for example. The first CMP designs are the 26 megahash per second 30HX and 36 megahash 40HX, both of which should be available this quarter from vendors like ASUS, EVGA and Gigabyte. More powerful 50X (45MH/s) and 90HX (86MH/s) boards are due in the second quarter.

This probably won't please miners who were looking forward to the RTX 3060's February 25th debut with interest, and a similar hash restriction for other NVIDIA GPUs wouldn't alleviate shortages for a while. Still, there might be a chance that you can buy a high-end GPU for your gaming PC without having to set up inventory alerts or pay a premium.