Simple GeForce RTX 3060 ETH Crypto Limiter Bypass Discovered For Multi-GPU Mining Rigs

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Earlier this week, we learned that NVIDIA's cryptocurrency mining limiter on the GeForce RTX 3060 was easily bypassed using the 470.05 beta driver. The limiter can slash Ethereum mining performance by 50 percent or more, which was supposed to reduce the graphics card's appeal to miners.

While the beta driver seems to be perfectly fine for use in a single-GPU system, it doesn't kill the limiter if the GeForce RTX 3060 is used in a multi-GPU mining rig. Hardwareluxx discovered that the ETH limiter was still active with the 470.05 beta driver if a GeForce RTX 3060 is used as a secondary adapter, with a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti acting as the primary. In this case, the ETH hash rate limiter nerfed the GeForce RTX 3060's performance from nearly 50 MH/s down to just 22 MH/s.

However, another easy bypass was discovered for these multi-GPU setups. A cheap and straightforward dummy HDMI plug can be installed on the GeForce RTX 3060, which in effect fools the driver into thinking that the card is attached to a display. Once this "hack" is deployed, the GeForce RTX 3060's hash rate jumps back up to its maximum of around 50 MH/s. A post over at Quasar Zone confirmed the dummy HDMI plug hack works by installing them on four GeForce RTX 3060 cards in a single Pentium G3220 rig.

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Dummy HDMI plugs installed on GeForce RTX 3060 cards (Image source: Quasar Zone)

It was only a matter of time before inventive crypto miners found a way around NVIDIA's limiter. Although NVIDIA initially claimed that there were hardware, BIOS, and driver checks to thwart ETH miners, the two methods discovered so far are dead simple for anyone to use effectively. 

NVIDIA's board partners are ready to unleash dedicated Turing-based CMP 30HX and 40HX crypto mining cards with ETH hash rates of 26 MH/s and 36 MH/s, respectively. During Q2 2021, more performant CMP 50HX and 90HX cards will arrive with hash rates of up to 86 MH/s.