Nvidia cracks its own GeForce RTX 3060 anti-mining protection

Well, that didn’t last long. When Nvidia launched its $330 GeForce RTX 3060 just weeks ago, it shipped the card with anti-mining protection that automatically halved performance when it detected Ethereum workloads. Ethereum is a booming cryptocurrency partly responsible for the sky-high pricing of graphics cards right now. This morning, however, reports are trickling in that the RTX 3060’s mining protection has been circumvented—by Nvidia itself.

Oops.

Japan’s PC Watch first reported that Nvidia’s 470.05 beta driver for developers automatically unlocks full Ethereum mining performance. Germany’s ComputerBase and HardwareLuxx soon confirmed the report. You don’t even need to flash the RTX 3060’s BIOS. The new drivers simply remove the limiter, with HardwareLuxx’s Andreas Schilling reporting that the card’s Ethereum hashrate hit 21.7 MH/s using standard drivers, and over 41 MH/s with the 470.05 beta drivers.

Brad Chacos/IDG

We told you not to expect miracles when Nvidia announced the Ethereum protection. Now that these beta drivers are in the wild there’s likely no putting the rabbit back in the hat for the RTX 3060. Miners could likely avoid newer updates and load their hardware with this software instead.

The GeForce RTX 3060 sold out instantly despite its initial mining protection and currently goes for $600 or more on Ebay and other resale sites. This development will likely drive demand even higher until the current cryptocurrency bubble bursts. Between supply shortages, insane demand, logistics woes, and the mania swirling around Ethereum, it’s a terrible time to try to buy a graphics card. Even used two- or three-generation-old GPUs are selling for more than they launched for all those years ago. You’re better off streaming games via Nvidia’s PC-friendly GeForce Now service or trying to snag a next-gen console than overpaying for a new graphics card right now.

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