NVIDIA hash rate limiter defeated by $6 HDMI plug

Posted on Monday, Mar 22 2021 @ 12:25 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
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Last week news broke that NVIDIA had accidentally released a developer driver that bypassed the anti-Ethereum mining protection on the GeForce RTX 3060 video card. This hash rate limiter was implemented to make the new card less interesting for miners -- in an effort to get more cards in the hands of gamers. When the GeForce RTX 3060 launched, NVIDIA said the protection was "unhackable".

Dummy HDMI dongle defeats hash rate limiter

The developer driver does have some restrictions though -- the bypass only works when the video card is installed via a PCI Express 3.0 x8 interface (or better) and requires a display to be connected via the HDMI or DisplayPort output. Tom's Hardware writers miners figured out the second restriction can easily be bypassed with the use of a cheap dummy HDMI plug. The driver doesn't know the difference between a real display or not, and these HDMI plugs can be found for as little as $5.99.
A user from Quasar Zone has proven that the workaround is functional with his four-way GeForce RTX 3060 setup. Each graphics card put up a hash rate of around 48 MH/s to contribute to the total average of 192 MH/s. It doesn't even require a modern platform to work. The user's modest testbed revolved around a dual-core Intel Pentium G3220 processor from the long-gone Haswell days and a Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5 motherboard. The user also confirmed that his setup works on the Maximus VI Extreme as well. The two motherboards share the same attribute of having four PCIe 3.0 x16 expansion slots, ideal for housing the user's four GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards.
Basically, there are still some restrictions that prevent mining on the GeForce RTX 3060, but it's already a lot more feasible than two weeks ago. The biggest stumbling block right now for miners is the need for a motherboard with enough PCIe x16/x8 slots as most mining motherboards use x1 slots.

Chip shortages to get even worse as fire takes out Renesas fab

Bad news from Japanese chip maker Renesas. A recent fire at the company's Naka factory in Japan will intensify current chip shortages, especially for the automotive industry. A surge in current caused a fire in plating equipment, which took out about 600 square meters of the factory. About two thirds of the production at this plant is for the automotive industry.

The fire affected five percent of the "clean room" environment of the first floor of the N3 facility. It damaged two percent of production equipment. Renesas expects production will resume within one month.

Renesas CEO Hidetoshi Shibata warns clients will see a substantial reduction in chip deliveries. Due to the global chip shortages, most factories are already running at or near-maximum capacity so it will not be possible to make these chips at other production lines.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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