Ethereum miners discover new ways to circumvent Nvidia GPU limitations

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Nvidia limited the mining capacity of its newer graphics cards (GPUs) in order to appease the frenzy of cryptocurrency miners to add them to their rigs. However, fans of digital mining have already found several ways to bypass the walls set by the manufacturer of these GPUs, in order to increase the performance a bit when mining with them.

To mine cryptocurrencies, it is necessary to install software that allows the user’s rig or PC to work for a certain blockchain. Some computer scientists managed to unleash the mining power that Nvidia represses in some of its video cards using NBMiner and GMiner, two programs dedicated to mining cryptocurrencies such as ether (ETH), a cryptoactive native to the Ethereum network.

Nvidia GPU miner testing with GMiner

The technical team of the mining blog of 2Miners, a pool miner, tested a pair of Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards, manufactured by the EVGA brand. This model is one of the most powerful in the GPU world today.

Although the RTX 3080 Ti have enough power to reach 116 MH / s, the Nvidia drivers activate the limiters of hash rate a few minutes after the mining activity started. So its hash rate plummets to 64 MH / s. The drop is 45% in its mining power.

After testing several versions of the GMiner software, the ones that gave the best results were v2.67 and v2.67 beta. The technicians managed to obtain a hash rate average on each 78 MH / s GPU mining on Ethereum. Which implies an increase of more than 10% compared to the previous 64MH / s.

To keep graphics cards mining at this rate it is essential to activate a watchdog, or guardian software, of the GMiner, which will be in charge of restarting the program every time the hash rate drop to a certain level.

The 2Miners technicians make the caveat that they did not force the graphics cards with extreme settings. However, according to the team, one of them reached a hash rate 85MH / s average using parameter -lhr_tune1 3 on the GMiner and the following settings on the MSI Afterburner: CC (MHz): 1260, MC (MHz): +1350, Power: 280 W.

It is important to clarify that the MSI Afterburner is a program used by both gamers as by miners to modify the operation of graphics cards. This procedure is known as Overclock.

NBMiner: The Tamer of Graphics Cards with Nvidia’s “LHR”

The term LHR means Lite Hash Rate and it was added by Nvidia to the boxes where GPUs with limited hash rate come. So your buyers know up front that this particular card will not be used to mine cryptocurrencies.

Despite Nvidia’s intentions, the developers of the NBMiner mining software claim that version 39.5 of this program (the most recent to date) can fully unlock the mining potential of GeForce RTX 3000 series video cards.

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The GTX 1080 and RTX 2080 models are the predecessors to Nvidia’s RTX 3080 Ti GPU, which can reach 116 MH / s of power by mining on Ethereum. Source: nanadua11 / pixabay.com

According to the repository at GitHub of NBMiner, from version 39.0 of the software added the -lhr parameter and partial improvements in the performance of the GPUs in question began to be achieved. At first, the cards could mine in Ethereum at 68% power in a stable way; similar values ​​to those reached by the technicians who tested the GMiner, which we discussed earlier.

As improvements were made, the NBMiner developers reached version 39.5, with which they report that Nvidia’s RTX 3070 Ti, 3080 and 3080 Ti model GPUs can mine 100% on Ethereum. That is, they could be around 116 MH / s producing ETH.

For its part, RTX 3060, 3060 Ti and 3070 models could mine to 85% of its potential, except for Hynix-branded memory GPUs. According to the guidelines published by NBMiner, video cards with this type of memory performed very poorly using the -lhr parameter.

Nvidia’s attempts to stop miners from ravaging their GPUs

In CriptoNoticias, in mid-May of the current year, we reported that Nvidia would restrict the use capacity of its GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, 3070 and 3080 GPUs. This according to an announcement that the same company made on its official blog.

Nvidia’s intention in taking these steps is to make its new graphics cards less “attractive” to miners of cryptocurrencies such as ETH (Ethereum) and ETC (Ethereum Classic). Since members of this niche tend to hoard the best GPUs, thanks to their superb performance for data mining.

Nvidia also announced this year the launch of a new line of specialty graphics cards for digital mining. The CMP HX line focuses on the mining market, to the point that these GPUs do not have a video output connection, as in the case of GPUs used to process graphics.

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Miners try to power up as many graphics cards as possible to increase their mining power and thus their profits. Source: Axel Castillo / pxhere.com

Nvidia’s plan has worked fairly well to keep in stock their RTX 3000 GPUs in physical stores and online. This despite the fact that, by accident, they came to publish a version of their drivers that did not limit the hash rate of your new GPUs.

However, these drivers were quickly removed from the manufacturer’s website and, according to some users of the TechPowerUp, graphics cards manufactured as of July this year do not support Nvidia drivers version 470.05.

Although, in some cases, the availability of the new Nvidia GPUs is somewhat limited or the price is higher than ideal, the level of the crisis of the years 2017 and 2018 has not been reached. Back then, due to the great profitability that cryptocurrency mining was showing, GPUs disappeared from stores. If a unit was obtained with resellers, its price was up to three and four times higher than the original; even in the case of used cards.

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