Nvidia made a big deal about reducing the hash rate of Ethereum mining on its new RTX 3060 graphics card last month. A special system was supposed to make the RTX 3060 undesirable for cryptominers, but Nvidia has now confirmed that it has accidentally unlocked those restrictions with a new driver.
“A developer driver inadvertently included code used for internal development which removes the hash rate limiter on RTX 3060 in some configurations,” says an Nvidia spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “The driver has been removed.”
While Nvidia has now removed the driver, the genie is out of the bottle. Nvidia’s latest 470.05 beta driver automatically unlocks performance for most RTX 3060 cards, boosting hashing rates for Ethereum mining. Mirrors of the driver can easily be found online, and Nvidia won’t be able to prevent RTX 3060 owners from continuing to use this driver in the future.
Nvidia originally restricted RTX 3060 mining performance in an attempt to steer cryptominers away from purchasing the cards. The GPU maker seemed confident that its restrictions couldn’t be defeated, even claiming it wasn’t just a driver holding back performance. “It’s not just a driver thing,” said Bryan Del Rizzo, Nvidia’s head of communications, last month. “There is a secure handshake between the driver, the RTX 3060 silicon, and the BIOS (firmware) that prevents removal of the hash rate limiter.”
Nvidia clearly wasn’t expecting to release a driver that would accidentally unlock its own restrictions.