What you need to know
- NVIDIA has been trying to dissuade crypto miners from buying its consumer-facing GPUs via tactics such as hash rate limiters.
- Miners have kept bypassing these measures.
- This time around, miners have figured out that the trick to subverting NVIDIA's latest mining deterrent is to mine two cryptocurrencies at once.
NVIDIA has been working hard to prove that the best GPUs for crypto mining are in fact not the best GPUS for crypto mining at all and that consumer-facing graphics cards should be for average users and not those looking to make a crypto fortune. The company's stance comes at a time when analyst statistics estimate that roughly 25% of GPUs went to crypto miners and scalpers in the first quarter of 2021.
To combat miners, NVIDIA has instated hash rate limiters in many of its cards. You can learn what a hash rate is in our previous coverage on the topic, but here's the key takeaway: Hash rates are essential to crypto mining, and putting a limit on them minimizes a GPU's ability to effectively and efficiently dig for cryptocurrency.
So the question for miners has become: How to mine crypto when NVIDIA is deliberately trying to stymie said activity. And the latest answer to that ever-evolving question turns out to be rather counterintuitive.
As reported by Tom's Hardware, a software has seized upon a fresh solution to the hash rate limiter conundrum. In order to bypass NVIDIA's forbidden activities list, it simply does more of the forbidden activity. That's right: The software (named T-Rex) means that if you mine two cryptocurrencies instead of just one, you can bypass limiters. The tradeoff is that you still can't focus 100% of a card's energies on one currency, but at least you can maximize the card's overall output.
Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm sure that if nVidia or AMD tried really hard to clamp down on this, it would become an arms race like the virus/anti-virus industry. However, I do wonder if they could just do a gaming/art software white-list, and make it easy for all publishers to qualify their applications on release, then include the release for that game/software in the latest driver updates. Anything not on the white list is limited to generic OS functions (2D and transparency) or more advanced functions throttled to something like 1/10 or 1/20 performance. That wouldn't help for developers who need the full power of the card while creating a game that's not yet released, but it seems that would be a great boon for typical users. Developers can have a separate path for getting advanced hardware and crypto-miners have to buy the cards with the rate limiter removed. I don't know which version should cost more, maybe that doesn't matter, important thing is to get more cards in the hands of gamers rather than crypto-miners.
Well Nvidia might have to try harder, otherwise we're going to end up buying AMD or the upcoming Intel GPUs.
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