Crypto Miners Found A Clever Workaround To NVIDIA's GeForce Hashrate Limiter

GeForce RTX 3070
The only things guaranteed in life are death, taxes, and that cryptocurrency miners will figure out a way to bypass restrictions that limit their efforts in the blockchain. To the latter point, even NVIDIA's Lite Hash Rate (LHR) technology is proving no match for resourceful miners. Following up on a previous workaround to partially bypass the hash rate limiter that's cooked into LHR GeForce cards, miners have now seemingly figured out how to tap a card's full potential for mining.

Let's back up for a moment. In an effort towards "getting GeForce cards into the hands of gamers," NVIDIA in February toyed with a hash rate limiter on its GeForce RTX 3060. It then took additional steps in May to reducing mining capabilities on its consumer gaming cards by expanding the limiter more broadly. These are identified by an "LHR" label on listings and product boxes.

Then in August of this year, the developer of NBMiner figured out how to restore a good chunk of mining performance on LHR cards—up to 70 percent of the maximum unlocked hash rate. That turned out to be good news for miners, and obviously disappointing news for gamers.

Well, it gets more disappointing (if you're a gamer). The latest version of T-Rex, another cryptocurrency mining software package, allows miners to tap into that remaining 30 percent, in a roundabout sort of way. The catch is, they can't unlock the full mining power of an LHR card to mine a single type of cryptocurrency, such as Ravencoin. But if they split the workload between two coins, they essentially achieve full mining performance.

For example, a miner could devote 70 percent of the hash rate to Ravencoin or Ergo, and the other 30 percent to Ethereum. It's part of a new "dual mining" LHR trigger.

"This option allows you to use the full potential of LHR cards that have enough VRAM to hold two DAGs/datasets by mining two cryptocurrencies simultaneously - ETH (~30 percent) and some other (~70 percent)," the developer explains.

The VRAM disclaimer outlined on the T-Rex GitHub page means this is not a wholesale solution for all GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards. It varies by setup, but according to the developer, mining Etherueum and Ravencoin with the dual mining options requires at least 8GB of memory on Linux, and 10GB or more on Windows. And for mining Ethereum and Conflux, 10GB or more is best.

So there's your encouraging or crummy news heading into the weekend, depending on if you're a miner or gamer. To the latter (a category I fit into), be gentle with the pitchforks—calling attention to this doesn't move the needle, in terms of GPU availability. The sad reality is, it could be another year before GPUs are routinely in stock again.