NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 3060 has had quite the tumultuous launch period.
Prior to release, NVIDIA announced it would impose hash rate restrictions on the RTX. This was intended to deter crypto miners from buying the latest gaming GPU to mine Ethereum.
Since then, hackers and miners have attempted to find a workaround to the limits, before NVIDIA accidentally released a 470.05 beta driver update that countered the hash rate restrictions. This was quickly removed.
However, using this driver update, miners have finally cracked the RTX 3060 and found a way to bypass the restrictions, using a dummy HDMI.
How the dummy HDMI bypass works
NVIDIA's anti-mining restrictions work by detecting the DaggerHashimoto algorithm used to mine Ethereum. Using the beta driver update, miners could bypass this restriction - but only for a single RTX 3060 setup. Given that lots of miners have a dedicated GPU farm set up, this remained a problem.
However, this can be bypassed with a dummy HDMI, as discovered by a Quasar Zone user. As the RTX 3060's restrictions kick in when it detects it is not connected to a monitor (viewed as a waste of power by miners), miners have used dummy HDMI's that trick the GPU into believing it is connected to a monitor, running at a hash rate of around 50MH/s.
Given these dummy plugs are on sale for around £4/$6 on Amazon, this is a pretty cheap workaround to the RTX 3060's restrictions.
How will NVIDIA respond?
If this bypass spreads and becomes easily available, NVIDIA may seek to resolve the issue of dummy HDMI's through a driver update or patch. However, given that they cannot force these updates onto RTX 3060 GPUs already out in the wild, the impact would be small.
This is the latest in NVIDIA's crypto mining saga, with the company set to release four crypto mining processors - the NVIDIA CMP - this year.
Alongside the RTX 3060, NVIDIA is expected to implement similar crypto mining restrictions in its upcoming GPUs such as the RTX 3080 Ti. AMD has confirmed it will not restrict mining on its RX Series GPUs.