Just a few weeks after its launch, Nvidia's RTX 3060 has had its Ethereum blocking measures circumvented by a beta driver the company issued itself to users.
The latest 470.05 driver for Nvidia GPUs has lifted the restriction on Ethereum mining on the company's latest card, which was marketed as the first in the RTX line to feature silicon-level restrictions for mining. Various outlets have now confirmed that the driver overcomes this without any additional tweaks, with ComputerBase, HardwareLuxx, and PC Watch all confirming hash rates well over double previous rates before the driver update.
This is bad news if you were planning to secure the already scarce card, and it drastically reduces the value proposition of Nvidia's planned mining-focused CMP GPU range. Gaming GPUs are more valuable on the secondhand market given their ability to output video and still play games without issues even after extended mining periods, giving miners options to recoup costs if profitability dives over the next few months.
Coupled with the silicon shortages that have been making GPU production difficult for both Nvidia and AMD, both companies have taken aim at miners to try and find a solution around stock issues for gaming clients. AMD is planning to launch its new RX 6700 XT in waves on its own website to prevent day-one sell outs, but it's almost impossible to determine who is buying up cards in large quantities regardless.
This is especially embarrassing for Nvidia, which tried to market the security measure as more sophisticated than just a driver limitation. "It's not just a driver thing," wrote Nvidia's head of communications Bryan Del Rizzo on Twitter last month. "There is a secure handshake between the driver, the RTX 3060 silicon, and the BIOS (firmware) that prevents removal of the hash rate limiter."
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