NVIDIA accidentally unlocks RTX 3060 crypto mining restrictions

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NVIDIA's 'unhackable' hash rate restrictions on its GeForce RTX 3060 were undone yesterday after the company released a beta driver update that removed the crypto mining limits.

The GeForce 470.05 driver bypassed the hash rate limits for Ethereum mining. This driver was intended to be used by developers in the Windows Insider Program for performance testing. As confirmed by Hardwareluxx and PCWatch, miners could use the DaggerHashimoto Ethereum algorithm at a hash rate of 48MH/s.

However, NVIDIA has since confirmed this was unintended and has since removed the driver. A spokesperson for the company told The Verge: "A developer driver inadvertently included code used for internal development which removes the hash rate limiter on RTX 3060 in some configurations. The driver has been removed."

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Unhackable RTX 3060 gets hacked

While the driver update has since been rolled back, this accident has revealed that NVIDIA's hash rate restrictions are not as secure as once thought.

"It's not just a driver thing," NVIDIA's Bryan Del Rizzo previously said on Twitter. "There is a secure handshake between the driver, the RTX 3060 silicon, and the BIOS (firmware) that prevents removal of the hash rate limiter."

As this bypassing of hash rate limits came through the 470.05 driver update, this may spur on crypto miners to create 'cracked' updates for the RTX 3060 to bypass these restrictions.

Previous rumours have suggested that the RTX 3060's Ethereum mining restrictions had already been hacked externally, but this was found to be untrue.

NVIDIA's next steps in crypto mining

This accident is unlikely to stop NVIDIA's plans to prevent its GPUs from being used for crypto mining. Similar hash rate restrictions are rumoured to be coming to the upcoming RTX 3080 Ti GPU.

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Alongside the hash rate limits, NVIDIA is releasing its own crypto mining processor. The NVIDIA CMP does not include a display output, with the 30HX and 40HX variants expected to launch this month.

NVIDIA's active engagement with crypto miners comes as the RTX 30 Series continues to suffer from stock issues. By limiting the efficiency of mining, NVIDIA hopes to drive miners away from its gaming GPUs towards the CMP. This should, the company hopes, free up further stock for gamers (and scalpers).

READ MORE: This mineral oil RTX 3090 GPU setup shows crypto mining is still out of control