Last night, NVIDIA announced their dedicated mining GPUs dubbed the NVIDIA CMP, short for Crypto Mining Processor. This announcement also brought with it a statement from NVIDIA saying that the to-be-released RTX 3060 will have its hashing performance cut in half. This will be done through a driver-level lockout but details regarding this were not stated. This should make the RTX 3060 more accessible as miners will not gobble them up as fast as they would regular-performing cards. This should make the RTX 3060 more available to gamers especially in its target market which is where NVIDIA has its largest market share in their portfolio, with the xx60 class of graphics cards.
In the next hours after this announcement, questions regarding the dependability of their protection has already been put into question with many speculating that a simple BIOS hack or custom drivers would nullify the protection. Head of Marketing at NVIDIA, Bryan Del Rizzo, went to Twitter to clarify that the driver needs to complete a secure handshake with the GPU BIOS and GPU silicon hardware itself to establish proper operation. Cracking the drivers or BIOS will disrupt this security check and will reject the hacked driver or BIOS. The crack required will need to circumvent these checks to proceed to allow the cards to operate with their full hashing capabilities.
Hi Ryan. 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.
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— Bryan Del Rizzo (@bdelrizzo) February 19, 2021
NVIDIA could extend this capabilities to other SKUs and lock-out hashing power on other models but would require updated silicon to complete the security triangle. Twitter leaker Kopite7Kimi states that NVIDIA could relaunch existing SKUs with a different ID that would allow NVIDIA’s mining lockout code to operate. NVIDIA has not confirmed this yet.
Thanks, I should explain that. 🤔
Maybe we won't see new specs, but every old spec will have a new sku. That is possible.
— kopite7kimi (@kopite7kimi) February 19, 2021
As with any computer-related protection, the will of some are indomitable. One Twitter user who claims to own a “professional mining factory” claims they will be able to find professionals to crack NVIDIA’s hashing lockout. We’ll monitor this story as it develops.
I am the owner of a professional mining factory. Nvidia's restrictions like this are useless. I can find professionals to crack your drivers and Bios. Later game graphics cards will still become my mining tools.
— 喜熊 (@gyvdtbgg) February 19, 2021