A recent report from PCMag seems to have confirmed what many already suspected: Nvidia’s LHR limiter wasn’t enough to put crypto miners off from buying up GeForce RTX 30 series cards. In fact, due to the overall shortage of GPUs on the market, crypto miners found themselves forced into buying up the LHR variants of boards such as the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 as they were still offering more profit-making opportunities than Full Hash Rate (FHR) models at the cheaper end of the Ampere lineup.
The report interviews various crypto miners who seem more than satisfied with snapping up RTX 30 boards even with the LHR limiter. Mining software that is freely available on the internet has made it possible to partly unlock the restriction, with the resulting 70-75% rates making the LHR-limited cards attractive to crypto miners. Furthermore, with Ethereum looking shaky in the cryptocurrency market at the moment, many miners are searching elsewhere to make their GPU-driven profits, leaving an LHR limiter potentially superfluous anyway.
The comments from miners are damning in regard to Nvidia’s soft attempt at appeasing gamers and PC builders who have had to tolerate stock shortages, unscrupulous scalpers, buying bots, retailer price hikes, and the competitive crypto community. One stated “I feel LHR was pointless”, another explained that “I bought the LHRs because of scalpers taking everything”, while the third comment from NiceHash succinctly summed up the situation: “This did not discourage miners at all”.
Nvidia released its Cryptocurrency Mining Processors (CMP) in February 2021 while proclaiming that the RTX 3060 would ship with a preventative LHR limiter. This was followed in May by an official post pointing out that the RTX 3080, RTX 3070, and RTX 3060 Ti boards would also ship “with a reduced Ethereum hash rate.” But when a miner boasts “I have approximately 20 LHR cards I mine with,” clearly Nvidia didn’t accomplish its target of “getting GeForce cards into the hands of gamers” after all.
It was apparently just a matter of time until clever crypto miners found a way to bypass the software algorithms of Nvidia’s hash rate limitation that is built into the LHR models of current GeForce RTX graphics cards.