NVIDIA is limiting the hash rate of cards (well, one of them) and re-launching mining cards

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rorie

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#1 rorie  Staff

https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2021/02/18/geforce-cmp/

We are gamers, through and through. We obsess about new gaming features, new architectures, new games and tech. We designed GeForce GPUs for gamers, and gamers are clamoring for more.

Yet NVIDIA GPUs are programmable. And users are constantly discovering new applications for them, from weather simulation and gene sequencing to deep learning and robotics. Mining cryptocurrency is one of them.

With the launch of GeForce RTX 3060 on Feb. 25, we’re taking an important step to help ensure GeForce GPUs end up in the hands of gamers.

Halving Hash Rate

RTX 3060 software drivers are designed to detect specific attributes of the Ethereum cryptocurrency mining algorithm, and limit the hash rate, or cryptocurrency mining efficiency, by around 50 percent.

That only makes sense. Our GeForce RTX GPUs introduce cutting-edge technologies — such as RTX real-time ray-tracing, DLSS AI-accelerated image upscaling technology, Reflex super-fast response rendering for the best system latency, and many more — tailored to meet the needs of gamers and those who create digital experiences.

To address the specific needs of Ethereum mining, we’re announcing the NVIDIA CMP, or, Cryptocurrency Mining Processor, product line for professional mining.

Kind of interesting. It only affects one card at the moment, and I'm sure the drivers will be easily worked around by miners who have a 3060. Also no one can find any cards at the moment at all, so it's a bit of a moot point, but it's interesting to see NVIDIA at least try to slow down the sale of some of their gaming cards, but I suppose that'll depend on how quickly available the CMP cards are. Theoretically they might be able to use some binned versions of other graphics cards, but I dunno!

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bigsocrates

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It's fascinating that NVIDIA cares so much. Cryptominer's money spends as well as anyone else's, at least once converted into dollars.

I guess it's a combination of bad PR and a desire for NVIDIA cards to be widely used so they stay the industry standard. NVIDIA probably thinks that its future is in gaming, not crypto, and they don't want gamers to be frustrated at them or for fewer gamers to use their cards leading to reduced support by developers.

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The_Nubster

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@bigsocrates: It must be a PR thing. It's not as if AMD is an unknown in circles which carr to know about how to build a PC, and the only thing keeping a lot of people on NVIDIA is that their tech is so far ahead. With how frustrated people have been and still are with this launch, all it would take to lose a significant portion of their market is one strong generation from AMD, and they are also in consoles and are rapidly gaining a lot of popularity in the CPU space as well. If they had an answer to dlss or a more mature rtx solution, that's where I'd be. NVIDIA's lead looks comfortable but they aren't exactly winning the hearts-and-mind game.

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mrmicycle

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The CMP line that they're introducing needs to be extremely good for mining otherwise miners will just get the same cards and rollback drivers / not update.

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frytup

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Hey, if they wait long enough eventually consumer cards will be useless for mining Ethereum. That strategy worked with Bitcoin.

Looking forward to my 30 series card in 2024.

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Justin258

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I'll be happy if this works and crypto miners stop driving the price up/sucking up all the inventory... but it seems like a lot of this issue could be resolved by enforcing some kind of "one per customer" rule. One GPU per address sold to, credit card number purchased with, and account used to purchase it. Except for Founders cards, I'm aware that Nvidia doesn't make the entire graphics card, but they could make it a stipulation of using their GPUs. This would alleviate both the crypto mining issue and the scalping issue, the latter of which seems to be the bigger issue anyway. Is it a drastic measure? Yes, but currently no one who wants to just buy a fucking graphics card for its intended use can do so. That's a significant issue - even if Nvidia is still getting money, AMD just needs some kind of strategy for making their cards available to people who want them for gaming and suddenly they've got a much bigger foothold in the GPU market.

Also there's an open-source Nvidia driver for Linux so if this really does hurt miners, what's stopping one of them from making a fork of that driver and just using it?

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Onemanarmyy

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#7  Edited By Onemanarmyy

The big + of using consumer gaming cards for mining, is that you can sell them on to gamers at the end. Specific mining equipment will have no resale value after it's profitable life has run out. I fear these CMP's will be left by the wayside unless they're sold at a very very attractive price.

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ghost_cat

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It really sucks for people like me who do visual post-production and VFX work for a living, and don't have a ton of cash to build a separate computer with a Quadro card in it, while others out there are just burning a bunch of them for some digital currency.

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bybeach

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One per customer. Thank you @justin258.

I cannot truly say miners should not have their cards for their specific application. But it is pissing me off every time I look for a card to buy at the set price.

Also it might please me, for admittedly no good reason, that it was the 3060 that was relegated to miners mining their greed, and 3080's and 3080 ti were meant, at correct prices, for others to purchase. But I know I am wrong for that, not regarding people's budgets.

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isomeri

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How does hash rate effect your experience when gaming, or does it at all? I tried searching for this online without solid results.

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cikame

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@mrmicycle: It's probably easier to tailor a card for mining performance when you don't have to worry about all the extras required for a gaming card, probably cheaper too, which would be good for preserving gaming cards, but could also be an excuse to keep them at a high price.

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Retroshaft

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#12  Edited By Retroshaft

@isomeri: Hashrate has absolutely nothing to do with gaming, but everything to do with cryptocurrency. It's the number of time you can solve a specific hash function (double-SHA-256 for Bitcoin) per seconds. I'm not going to get into details but it's basically a set of numbers that you need to find in order to validate a set of transactions into the Bitcoin's blockchain. Each time someone solve that function, they get a certain number of Bitcoin as a reward to helping validate those transactions. Turns out that GPUs were really good at finding that set of numbers.

That being said, GPUs have not been used to solve that hash function for Bitcoin since ~2013. There's some kind of specific circuits (ASIC) created to solve that specific hash function that are orders of magnitude more effective (both in calculation power and electricity consumption). Those are the circuits used in Bitcoin mining farm, not GPUs.

Where there's still a high demand for GPUs in cryptocurrency mining is for other kinds of cryptocurrency with a different hash function that were created specifically to be mined with GPUs (ASIC resistant). The whole idea was that by only allowing GPUs for validating transactions there would be more people able to validate the system (more decentralized). But what ended up happening was people creating coins at random, mining them with GPUs, then selling them as fast as possible to try and make as money as fast as possible.

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RalphMoustaccio

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#13  Edited By RalphMoustaccio

For those looking for GPU, your best bet will be a Microcenter, if you're lucky enough to live close to one. They theoretically have a one card per household limit, though when I got my 3070 there, they didn't specifically ask for that information. That said, I was already in their system from past purchases, my purchase (and thus the limit) may have been flagged in their system without me having to do anything. When I was finally able to get one, there was a line when I arrived before opening, but it was handled in an orderly and calm manner.

If you live close to one, check their website daily. I found it worked best in private mode on mobile, because that would prevent anything from being accidentally left in the browser cache, and because on mobile it will actually tell you the quantity in stock which isn't consistent on desktop browsers. To get this to work (on Safari, at least), once you're on the page for the card you're looking for, if any are in stock, click on the product link, then go back to the overall product page. It usually initially loads as saying "limited quantity," but upon returning it will change to a stock count. It's best to do this early in the morning before they open, for obvious reasons.

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Gundato

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So rumor is they are going to EOL all the current 30x series cards and replace them with similar anti-CC versions.

In theory? Cool. GPUs have not been efficient for (most) cryptocurrency for years (if not decade) but when the price spikes folk who don't pay for power can see potential for profit. From an environmental perspective this is almost 100% good even factoring in additional costs to tweak factories/fabs and trucks because holy shit is cryptocurrency horrible for the world.

But putting my tinfoil lined thinking cap on for a moment: These are basically just "consumer" grade compute cards? Get rid of the HDMI port and maybe prioritize different defects over the gamer level ones. Which is some good PR for those who blame bitcoin for the mass shortages but also is a way to better market toward university research and compute oriented clusters. Maybe you want to do some ML research or whatever but don't want to shell out for one of the REAL good ones.

Similarly, my tinfoil and me are wary of this being an excuse to lock down (and sign) drivers even more.

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Dizzyhippos

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LTT did a really good video on this topic today.

Loading Video...

Personally I think all crypto mining should be banned as its actively killing the planet.

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monkeyking1969

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#16  Edited By monkeyking1969

This is pretty much out of a crooked politician's handbook. Say you doing something to help, "the common gamer", but is reality everything you do is putting the shaft to consumers on all levels.

Basically, NVIDIA is making graphics card that have nearly zero re-use options. As Linus said, this is just producing single use e-waste.

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Giant_Gamer

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#17  Edited By Giant_Gamer

@dizzyhippos: yes, crypto mining is bad for the environment due to the excessive consumption of electricity and is bad for our natural resources.

GPU makers should be discouraged from releasing crypto mining cards.

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Gundato

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Well, this is one case where single use hardware actually might be environmentally net good?

At a high level, you have three factors when deciding how to fuck the planet by farming for your cryptocurrency of choice.

  1. How much does the hardware cost? This includes buying and potentially reselling later
  2. How much does the hardware cost to operate?
  3. How much can you mine per unit of time?

Removing the resell dramatically increases the cost of 1 which means 2 (power cost) needs to be a lot lower for it to be viable and 3 (efficiency) a lot higher.

Fully locking out mining is near impossible without also locking out consumer compute capabilities. But if a generation or two of this reminds people that ASICs are the way to go it could potentially undo the past few years of chaos.

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Dizzyhippos

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#19  Edited By Dizzyhippos

@gundato: But when the next crash happens (and it will) there will be thousands of these crypto specific cards that are just tossed in the trash. You can't get video off them and even if you could you wouldn't want to.

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Gundato

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#20  Edited By Gundato

@dizzyhippos: The argument would be that this would accelerate that crash (at least for consumer GPUs) and reduce the overall amount of energy wasted on crypto currency

I don't for a moment think that is nvidia's plan (my money is still on locking down consumer compute). But it could be an interesting side effect that "disposable" video cards that can't be resold might be more environmentally friendly than not. Which mostly just says a lot about how horrible cryptocurrencies are for the planet.