Friday, February 19th 2021

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Anti-Mining Feature Goes Beyond Driver Version, Could Expand to More SKUs

Yesterday NVIDIA announced the company's first Crypto Mining Processor (CPM) that serves the purpose of having a dedicated processor only for mining with no video outputs. Alongside the new processors, the company has also announced that in the next driver update the GeForce RTX 3060 GPU will get Etherium mining performance halved, limiting the use of this GPU SKU by miners. However, up until now, we have thought that NVIDIA is limiting the mining performance of this card by simply having a driver detect if crypto mining algorithms are in place and limit the performance. However, that doesn't seem to be the case. According to Bryan Del Rizzo, director of global PR for GeForce, more things are working behind the driver.

According to Mr. Del Rizzo: "It's not just a driver thing. There is a secure handshake between the driver, the RTX 3060 silicon, and the BIOS (firmware) that prevents removal of the hash rate limiter." This means that essentially, NVIDIA can find any way to cripple the mining hash rate even if you didn't update your driver version. At the same time, according to Kopite7Kimi, we are possibly expecting to see NVIDIA relaunch its existing SKUs under a different ID, which would feature a built-in anti-crypto mining algorithm. What the company does remains to be seen.
Sources: Bryan Del Rizzo (Twitter), @kopite7kimi (Twitter) #1, @kopite7kimi (Twitter) #2, via VideoCardz
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104 Comments on NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Anti-Mining Feature Goes Beyond Driver Version, Could Expand to More SKUs

#51
xorbe
N3M3515
Lots of triggered miners i see....
Lol the threats of anti-trust lawsuits and blood in the mining forums.
Posted on Reply
#52
Chomiq
ZOTAC got caught with their pants down:
More than week before official release and MINERS already got their hands on those cards. ZOTAC Gaming my ass.
Posted on Reply
#53
efikkan
Chomiq
ZOTAC got caught with their pants down:
More than week before official release and MINERS already got their hands on those cards. ZOTAC Gaming my ass.
Nvidia should revise their deals with their AiBs instead of adding nonsense to their drivers.
Posted on Reply
#54
Darmok N Jalad
I dunno, while I can see the benefit if things are managed fairly, I can still see this as a system where abuse is possible, but now it shifts more power to the hands of NVIDIA and its partners. Today, whatever hits the market gets eaten up by the people with the means to pay for it. If the cards are predetermined before they leave the factory, it’s now NVIDIA and the OEMs that dictate where each GPU goes. What keeps them from sending 100 out of 100 GPUs to the mining market, if that’s who is willing to pay the most? Now they can price that exact same GPU differently for each market, with the potential to milk each market for all its worth. Even if they sell the cards at the exact same price, they can just adjust the supply to each, and charge more overall.

If nothing else, they should hopefully see how the gaming market NEEDS a good supply of GPUs. Without it, the market could see some serious pain if people can’t even find a proper GPU to game on. Hopefully that is the intent of such an initiative, and it’s not just an attempt to take advantage of the market conditions.
Posted on Reply
#55
Octavean
Now all they need is to implement an anti-scalping algorithm,.....
Posted on Reply
#56
Caring1
sam_86314
Sounds good at first, but what's to stop NVIDIA from using this tech to do things like restricting what games or programs you can run on your hardware?

Imagine "GPU's as a service", where you buy a GPU, but it's artificially locked down and you have to pay to unlock "features" like what games the hardware will run well.

I probably sound insane right now, but I'm always wary when it comes to DRM and artificial restrictions.
Sounds like Apple.
Posted on Reply
#57
R-T-B
Selaya
Nice. I can already foresee a record amount of 3060s with bricked BIOSes from mining BIOS flashes! :)
You already can't flash anything that isn't signed and that's well known. So it's not really any different. The only difference is once they could mine, now they can't.
Am*
OK -- then please explain to me how you come to that conclusion? Let's say Nvidia has 100,000 GPUs shipped to an AIB -- the exact same die will now go to two varying SKUs (one for mining, one for a normal consumer card). How the hell is this going to help the consumer with supply?
Because consumers buy one, miners buy dozens. Better to try to buy one of 50% of the supply than zero of 100%, because it was already swept out from under you.
It's really not that complicated.

I am concerned about how this may affect compute though. Like legit compute.
Posted on Reply
#58
windwhirl
R-T-B
Like legit compute.
Folding at home was my first thought in that regard.
Posted on Reply
#59
sam_86314
Caring1
Sounds like Apple.
Tesla does this shit too. There's the whole thing about all Model 3s coming with heated seats, but you have to pay $300 to "activate" them.
Posted on Reply
#60
R-T-B
Octavean
Now all they need is to implement an anti-scalping algorithm,.....
People joke, but seriously. Scalpers already had supply broke before mining. They can and will do it again.
Posted on Reply
#61
windwhirl
R-T-B
People joke, but seriously. Scalpers already had supply broke before mining. They can and will do it again.
The question is how to do it without removing certain third parties from the process (retailers, distributors, etc.) and without giving them control either.
Posted on Reply
#62
Selaya
R-T-B
You already can't flash anything that isn't signed and that's well known. So it's not really any different. The only difference is once they could mine, now they can't.
[ ... ]
I am well aware. However, I would not underestimate the power of greed.
Posted on Reply
#63
Rob94hawk
Am*
Wow...that is some next level anti-consumer scumbaggery -- even for Ngreedia. I bet future driver updates will shove in mandatory vBIOS updates down people's throats (which miners are going to not bother installing in the first place or build custom vBIOSs for) -- can't wait to have draconian DRM built into people's cards and being bricked in the future by Ngreedia's incompetence. Who's to say they won't use these sorts of "updates" from tanking old cards' performance in 3D rendering and other programs or to force them to a Quadro? Fuck this joke of a company...
The only scumbags I see are the miners hogging up all the vid cards. I hope they're all bricked.
Posted on Reply
#64
lexluthermiester
R-T-B
I am concerned about how this may affect compute though. Like legit compute.
Not the same kinds of algorithms. Shouldn't be affected at all.
Posted on Reply
#65
watzupken
Being an Nvidia user myself, I have to say there needs to be a reason that will benefit them to do this. Nvidia in my opinion is not the consumer friendly corporation (it’s probably the same for any profit seeking Organization, but Nvidia stands out as one of the more notorious ones in my opinion). While on the surface it looks like they are doing something for gamers, but I feel they are doing this to protect themselves and also to profit from miners. Protect themselves because in the last mining bust, the market got flooded with so many GPUs that it definitely impacted their sales. By producing mining only cards and forcing miners to buy it by gimping “gaming cards”, they pretty much ensured that the cards can’t easily be transferred to another for the purpose of gaming. Also, I believe the mining cards won’t be cheap. Instead of letting their AIB sell gaming cards to miners at a premium price, Nvidia also can now get the lion share of this market now.
Posted on Reply
#66
Rob94hawk
watzupken
Being an Nvidia user myself, I have to say there needs to be a reason that will benefit them to do this. Nvidia in my opinion is not the consumer friendly corporation (it’s probably the same for any profit seeking Organization, but Nvidia stands out as one of the more notorious ones in my opinion). While on the surface it looks like they are doing something for gamers, but I feel they are doing this to protect themselves and also to profit from miners. Protect themselves because in the last mining bust, the market got flooded with so many GPUs that it definitely impacted their sales. By producing mining only cards and forcing miners to buy it by gimping “gaming cards”, they pretty much ensured that the cards can’t easily be transferred to another for the purpose of gaming. Also, I believe the mining cards won’t be cheap. Instead of letting their AIB sell gaming cards to miners at a premium price, Nvidia also can now get the lion share of this market now.
I think they should build exclusive mining cards and charge them $5000 a card and brick all gaming cards used for mining.
Posted on Reply
#67
watzupken
Rob94hawk
I think they should build exclusive mining cards and charge them $5000 a card and brick all gaming cards used for mining.
And you think they will allocate GPUs for gaming use if they can sell the same GPU for 5K to miners, assuming they can still sell them? Even if they charge the miners double of what they charge consumers, that will already tilt the balance in terms of GPU allocation. I think that will only make the supply issue worst. There is no silver bullet to solving the supply issue unfortunately. If the previous mining boom was any indication, you will probably need to wait for mining bust.
Posted on Reply
#68
weekendgeek
watzupken
(Nvidia) Protect themselves because in the last mining bust, the market got flooded with so many GPUs that it definitely impacted their sales. By producing mining only cards and forcing miners to buy it by gimping “gaming cards”, they pretty much ensured that the cards can’t easily be transferred to another for the purpose of gaming.
Absolutely spot-on.

This isn't a "We love Gamers" move that some here think it is. This is all about more money now (from miners), and more money later (from gamers) when used mining cards can't be gamed with.
Posted on Reply
#69
R-T-B
Selaya
I am well aware. However, I would not underestimate the power of greed.
I mean, the flasher won't even flash it. I'm not sure how much more fullstop you can get. The math signatures are not getting broken short of a quantum advance (literally).
lexluthermiester
Not the same kinds of algorithms. Shouldn't be affected at all.
They are very similar in operation and function. Crypto algorithms are basically generic opencl and cuda kernels of all shapes and sizes.

I remain skeptical.
Posted on Reply
#70
johnspack
Here For Good!
Don't stop me mining on my 980 Ti Nvidia...... yeah right.... but still....
Just stupid. The cards do it well, it will be done. Simple.
I'll be using my card for a dam long time.
Posted on Reply
#71
Selaya
R-T-B
I mean, the flasher won't even flash it. I'm not sure how much more fullstop you can get. The math signatures are not getting broken short of a quantum advance (literally).
[ ... ]
Yes. I don't expect anyone to actually breaking the signatures (not like that, in any case). However, some kind of a board partner leaking something, or someone reverse-engineering a flasher that doesn't check both sound fairly reasonable to me, tbh.
Then again, this may all be moot as there seem to be report that all it disables is the ETH one and there seem to be other coins that can be mined almost as profitably as ETH thus completely circumvening all of this charade.
Posted on Reply
#72
efikkan
lexluthermiester
Not the same kinds of algorithms. Shouldn't be affected at all.
There is no way algorithmically to distinguish types of "algorithms". All the GPU see is a stream of instructions, whether they are for cancer research or mining, and the GPU have no way to know which is which. Mining uses just math, so there are no special instructions they can disable to target mining.

The only thing they can do is to have a sort of "black list" of certain instruction sequences, but the wider this is, the more false positives they will get, and the narrower, the easier it is to work around. Either way, this is a bad idea, possibly the worst they've ever had.
Posted on Reply
#73
Am*
the54thvoid
In principle what they are doing is reallocating product to specific segments. I'm all for it.

As far as tanking performance - not going to happen. A gaming product is benched by countless reviewers. Those benchmarks would be all too easy to use in court to prove such misdeeds. Nvidia isn't that naive. Besides, what a lot of people seem to forget is people like to upgrade cards. Nvidia don't need to gimp performance to make that happen.
I genuinely hope you're right -- but all I can see is the countless ways they're going to exploit it hoping people won't notice. Nvidia cards already age like crap compared to AMD cards of the same era (for proof of this, take a look at something like 290X vs 780 TI reviews from back when they released and then compare them to today -- the AMD cards jumped up multiple tiers above their original Nvidia competition GPUs since their release). Once Nvidia cards are more than 2-3 years old, they get left in the dust for driver support and get barely "good enough" driver updates that basically never get performance improvements whilst AMD cards keep getting better due to their new cards sharing so many similarities with the old (and not to mention benefitting from console optimisations).
maxpain12
I would say it's in the best interest of the majority of consumers to limit hash rates. The reason is two fold. Firstly, mining is subject to price swings of cryptocurrency. When the price of crypto goes down so does demand for GPU's. This is bad for business as gaming demand is more consistent in the long run for Nvidia and AMD. Secondly, miners are a threat to the discreet GPU market because since their activity causes shortages leading to other negative knock-on effects such as scalpers. If gamers are faced with an extended period of high prices they may consider other options like consoles. Essentially reducing the market for PC games. An event that could reduce PC gaming to a shadow of it's former position. Coupled with a drop in crypto prices then GPU makers will be less inclined to be innovative given low demand. Causing miners to no longer consider GPU's for mining due hash rates not keeping up. So you see if miner activity is not kept in check by moving it out of the gaming space, it's bad for everyone.
I understand the problem -- believe me, but this isn't the solution (and I agree 100% that this is killing PC gaming). Making separate SKUs for mining that can't be re-used or re-sold for gaming later will only make the GPU shortage worse, not better (I've built multiple PCs for people I know with former mining cards that I bought for chump change -- they still work fine today and were bargains when I bought them compared to what Ngreedia were selling them for). Scalpers and miners are two different problems that have next to nothing in common -- the only common thing they have is they both buy GPUs. Nvidia don't care about people scalping cards and have done basically nothing to address the real problem of bots buying up GPUs -- because they don't care, as they got their money already (regardless of who it comes from -- miners, scalpers or gamers). If anything -- Ngreedia has the most to gain from a GPU shortage, since they're pushing their cloud gaming service on people. They create the problem and are now selling you the solution pretending to be "good guy Nvidia". Soft gimping the algorithms is never going to work -- people will either adjust the mining algorithms or buy a handful of mining and gaming cards, reverse engineer the two and find out what was done by Ngreedia to work around it. Now you're back to the same problem that's made much worse by Ngreedia, since you have mining cards sitting on shelves collecting dust IN ADDITION to the gaming GPU shortage that will still be bought up by miners. The only one winning from this would be Nvidia by avoiding their monumental screw-up 3 years ago where they overestimated mining demand and hoped to cash in on it. This is a cat and mouse game they're never going to win -- and they're going to profit from it regardless.
lexluthermiester
All that shows is that you do not understand how consumer demand and supply chain work. I'm not taking the time to explain it all to you.
Thanks for your absolutely worthless answer -- don't know why you even bothered replying with this nonsense...
R-T-B
You already can't flash anything that isn't signed and that's well known. So it's not really any different. The only difference is once they could mine, now they can't.


Because consumers buy one, miners buy dozens. Better to try to buy one of 50% of the supply than zero of 100%, because it was already swept out from under you.
It's really not that complicated.

I am concerned about how this may affect compute though. Like legit compute.
Again, please see above. This does nothing to address the real problem -- bots and scalpers, that allowed them to buy multiple GPUs in the first place. The only thing it does is give Ngreedia an out by saying they threw a bone to gamers by "addressing the mining problem" when in reality, they've done nothing (they now get to have their cake and eat it too). When they address the problem of bots and scalpers buying up multiple GPUs, the mining problem won't exist -- simple as that. The only thing this "feature" does is add yet another disclaimer to their fine print saying they now have the right to tell you how to use your GPUs and what for without you having the right to sue them -- a bad thing for anyone, gamers and miners included.
watzupken
Being an Nvidia user myself, I have to say there needs to be a reason that will benefit them to do this. Nvidia in my opinion is not the consumer friendly corporation (it’s probably the same for any profit seeking Organization, but Nvidia stands out as one of the more notorious ones in my opinion). While on the surface it looks like they are doing something for gamers, but I feel they are doing this to protect themselves and also to profit from miners. Protect themselves because in the last mining bust, the market got flooded with so many GPUs that it definitely impacted their sales. By producing mining only cards and forcing miners to buy it by gimping “gaming cards”, they pretty much ensured that the cards can’t easily be transferred to another for the purpose of gaming. Also, I believe the mining cards won’t be cheap. Instead of letting their AIB sell gaming cards to miners at a premium price, Nvidia also can now get the lion share of this market now.
^THIS^...this guy absolutely gets it.
Posted on Reply
#74
lexluthermiester
R-T-B
They are very similar in operation and function. Crypto algorithms are basically generic opencl and cuda kernels of all shapes and sizes.

I remain skeptical.
Then perhaps it's time to get a Quadro card for compute duties instead of a gaming card as Quadros are better suited for those kinds of tasks anyway..
Am*
Thanks for your absolutely worthless answer -- don't know why you even bothered replying with this nonsense...
:laugh:
Posted on Reply
#75
TheUn4seen
Next month in news: Performance unlocking DLCs for your favorite games.
It will be like the oscilloscope market: You buy an expensive scope which is software crippled to a fraction of it's performance and you have to pay a lot extra to unlock it. It kind of makes sense for a consumer market also, so I would expect for this to become a new way of capitalizing hardware as soon as the software locks are robust enough. Mining locks might be a good test bed, since the mining community has a lot of incentive to find ways around it.
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