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The RTX 3060 Graphics Card Is Terrible for Mining, and That’s a Good Thing

A CMP chip against a blue background.

If you’ve tried to purchase a graphics card for your gaming computer in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed skyrocketing prices and low stock everywhere. That’s in part due to the rise of cryptocurrency mining that calls for powering graphics cards. NVIDIA wants to help gamers by making its new RTX 3060 cards terrible at mining.

The new $299 NVIDIA RTX 3060 graphics card is due to arrive on February 25th, and in the past, affordable and powerful graphics cards have sold out immediately, leaving many gamers unhappy. Cryptocurrency miners often buy them up solely to maximize hash results so they can mine coins faster. And that’s what NVIDIA thinks it can stop.

Alongside the graphic card release, Nvidia will release drivers that will detect Ethereum mining algorithms and ” limit the hash rate, or cryptocurrency mining efficiency, by around 50 percent.”

As Matt Wuebbling, head of global GeForce marketing at Nvidia, explains it:

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.

In other words, RTX GPUs are for gaming, not mining, and NVIDIA wants to keep it that way. The company hopes that the change will deter miners from buying the cards, leaving more available for gamers.

To satisfy Ethereum miners, NVIDIA announced the  NVIDIA CMP, or Cryptocurrency Mining Processor, product line for professional mining. This processor doesn’t do graphics at all. And they don’t meet the specifications required of a GeForce GPU, so they shouldn’t impact gaming GPU stock.

But by skipping display outputs, NVIDIA says the CMP improves airflow while mining, allowing it to be more densely packed. Nvidia also promised that CMPs would have lower peak core voltage and frequency, which should help with the significant power requirements that come with Ethereum mining.

NVIDIA hopes the one-two punch of artificially limited RTX cards from mining efficiently and offering mining-specific chips will alleviate some of the stock shortage problems. We don’t know the price of the new CMPs yet, but that may help determine if NVIDIA is successful in the long run.

Source: NVIDIA

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and is responsible for the site's content direction. He has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smart home enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »