Jan 22, 2022
Being a PC player these days is difficult. Because of a severe GPU shortage, it's nearly impossible to find the best graphics cards, and even when you do, selling at a steep premium. Adding to the problem, the popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum has driven swarms of GPU miners to swallow up any graphics cards they can find to mine crypto coins and generate a good profit, often in "farms" of rows of toiling GPUs.
NVIDIA has introduced new "low hash rate" (LHR) versions of existing RTX GPUs to make it easier and cheaper for gamers to upgrade their systems for the most recent AAA titles. Mining for cryptocurrency is made more complicated with these cards. However, gaming performance is not affected.
It was NVIDIA's second attempt at this in 2021. In March of 2021, the company's plans went wrong when it accidentally unlocked the RTX 3060 graphics card's software anti-mining measures were. When it comes to mining, the company's latest attempt is massive, and it arrives just in time. You may get NVIDIA GTX 1650 prices ranging from $350 to close to $600 on big internet stores like Amazon.com. With an original MSRP of $150, the graphics card came out in April of 2019.
What is LHR, and why is it important? The "hash rate" of Nvidia LHR graphics cards automatically divide when they're being used for Ethereum (ETH) cryptocurrency mining. Without going into too much detail, this lowers the hash rate of LHR GPUs to the point where they are no longer economically viable for possible mining purchases.
The GeForce RTX 3060's first effort to include a Lite Hash Rate Limiter (LHR) failed miserably. The GPU's full mining potential was unlocked via an inadvertent beta driver release the week after it was released. However, Nvidia was unfazed and returned two months later with a second attempt at LHR technology spanning most of its product range. Firmware and software integration is significantly closer in later LHR GPUs (like the RTX 3080 Ti).
What is the long-term viability of the limiter? Nobody has any idea. According to recent reports, up to 70% of an LHR GPU's mining performance can now be unlocked with NBMiner. An increase from the 50% that LHR restricts them to out of the box. Ambitious miners looking to increase their revenues will target Nvidia's security measures.
Mining is how cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin came into being. Computers are racing against each other to solve arithmetic problems to win digital currency. The ledger that keeps track of a particular cryptocurrency's transactions includes these mathematical puzzles as blockchain technology. A newly minted coin is the first person who solves the math problem correctly.
There's no doubt that anyone who manages to dig out a sufficient number of these coins will quickly find themselves flush with cash. Consider, for example, that at the time of this writing, a single Ethereum digital token is worth approximately USD 2,700. To mine bitcoin rapidly and profitably, you'll need the right technology, which consumes electricity.
Mining the most popular cryptocurrency now requires graphics GPUs. The purpose of GPUs is to solve math problems, as running a video game necessitates doing many calculations in parallel. They are great for mining cryptocurrencies because of this fundamental property.
The original cryptocurrency uses GPUs to mine Bitcoin, which strains the supply of graphics cards available to the general public. ASIC rigs, a specialized technology that proved even better at mining Bitcoin, alleviated some market pressure. For reasons outside the scope of this study, ASIC rigs for other cryptocurrencies have not taken off in the same way as Bitcoin ASICs.
One miner may have dozens of cards running simultaneously, all hoping to make a lot of money. It's easy to see how mining adds to the current scarcity when you multiply the demand for dozens of cards by thousands of individuals.
To push more GPUs into the hands of gamers or players rather than miners of crypto in mid-May 2021, they launched NVIDIA's LHR program. Thanks to this new application, for usage RTX graphics cards, can now detect when they're for Ethereum cryptocurrency mining. For Ethereum-related math issues, the cards purposefully slow down their speed (hash rate) by 50%. Because the initial RTX cards did not have decreased hash rates, we will brand the newer LHR models on the box and in product descriptions.
The LHR program reduces the value of these GPUs for miners, but NVIDIA isn't abandoning them. Additionally, NVIDIA has announced models exclusively for the consumer market to meet the demand for cryptocurrency mining GPUs.