Nvidia has unlocked its hash rate restricted RTX 3060 GPU. At least, it has temporarily. A beta update pushed live appears to have accidentally unlocked the GPUs, which Nvidia recently claimed were “unhackable.”
It follows an earlier report that appeared to show the RTX 3060 GPUs being used to mine Ethereum—the very thing the cards are meant to restrict—although it was later shown to be inaccurate.
Are Nvidia’s RTX 3060 GPUs Cracked?
Nvidia launched its new RTX 3060 GPUs with a strong sentiment: protecting GPUs from cryptocurrency mining operations in an attempt to put hardware into the hands of gamers.
It’s an admirable battlefield, but one that Nvidia’s GeForce 470.05 beta driver has apparently undone. The beta driver has unlocked the RTX 3060 for cryptocurrency mining, disabling its hash rate limiter.
The story was first revealed by the Japanese tech site PC Watch and later confirmed by the German tech site, Computer Base. Images displayed on both sites show the Nvidia RTX 3060 mining cryptocurrency using the Ethereum algorithm, with a hash rate of around 48MH/s.
Before installing the GeForce 470.05 beta driver, the Ethereum hash rate would steadily decrease until settling between 20-24MH/s, roughly half the potential cryptocurrency mining capacity of the RTX 3060 GPU.
The GeForce 470.05 beta driver was originally developed for the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), but the driver inadvertently unlocks the GPUs for cryptocurrency mining.
What Next for Nvidia’s RTX 3060 GPUs?
While this is slightly embarrassing for Nvidia, it might not be a fatal blow for its plan to rally against the ongoing struggles in the GPU market.
Nvidia can revoke the beta driver in the short-term, but it does seem like the genie is out of the bottle on that one. Short of instituting forced driver updates, some miners may keep their RTX 3060 GPUs on the 470.05 beta driver.
Another worry for Nvidia is that someone could theoretically reverse engineer the driver update and use it to crack the proposed cryptocurrency mining restrictions for the upcoming Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti GPU.
These situations are hypotheticals currently, and Nvidia is yet to respond to the beta driver issue affecting the RTX 3060.
However, what is clear is that if this beta driver remains workable, the few RTX 3060 GPUs that cryptocurrency miners were eschewing might well become that bit more interesting. All in all, it’s not looking great for gamers who just want to get their hands on some reasonably priced graphics card in the short or even long term.