The mining hash rate of Nvidia GPUs has been a big contributor to their popularity for cryptocurrency mining. And because ASICs are too expensive, thousands of hobbyists and professional miners have shifted to dedicated GPU mining rigs. That has definitely led to the major shortage we’ve seen of GPUs and other new computer parts. Nvidia wants that to change. The company has announced Nvidia CMP, a new cryptocurrency SKU.
A new set of GPU products from the green team will focus entirely on the mining market. NVIDIA announces Nvidia CMP (Cryptocurrency Mining Processor), a new product that is focused on mining entirely. Nvidia and AMD have both flirted with the idea previously, as they produced mining-focused SKUs that could not output video. Although some enterprising suppliers hacked solutions together to sell these cards for cheap out of China and other markets. The new CMP chips take things a step further. These cards flat-out don’t do video output. And that means that miners will be focusing on getting these, rather than scalping new RTX 3060 cards.
And that idea of focused output has spread to the RTX 3060. Nvidia has built a cryptocurrency hash rate limiter into the software of the new GPUs that are in the gaming space. Rather than a straight hardware mod, limits are built into the driver of these new GPUs that will cut the hash rate by as much as 50%.
The target here is to detect the behavior patterns of mining Etherium cryptocurrency and to cut the output by throttling the processing threads handling the task. These modifications would be done at the lowest level of the card.
There were concerns that the limit could be removed by hacking the BIOS of the card, but Nvidia says that isn’t going to happen. Specifically, Nvidia tells PC Gamer that it believes “the software cannot be hacked to remove the limiter.” We will have to wait and see what happens there.
The driver will possibly be rolled out to other SKUs as well, but Nivida says it is “not limiting the performance of GPUs already sold.” And frankly, it’s a good idea. Dealing with the nightmare of building a new PC in 2021 by refocusing the major drivers of demand in the market is a good thing. And I personally can’t say I’m bothered by currency speculators getting hit by added costs of inefficiency. Hopefully Nvidia and AMD both roll this tactic into all future GPU releases. So far though, Nvidia nor AMD have announced no plans to implement the plan elsewhere.
Nvidia says that the new CMP products will be aimed at miners—because they “don’t meet the specifications required of a GeForce GPU and, thus, don’t impact the availability of GeForce GPUs to gamers.”