Chinese RTX 3060 cards with a mobile GPU bypass Nvidia’s hash rate limiter

GPU mining has become a big business. This forced gamers and miners to compete for a limited supply, causing prices to rise. Nvidia deserves credit for developing their low hash rate (LHR) cards that have stood the test of time and helped with the shipments. Curiously, though, Nvidia’s mobile GPUs don’t have hash rate limiters. With that in mind, the Chinese manufacturer has taken RTX 3060 mobile GPUs and repurposed them into desktop cards designed for miners.

Card news came through Tom’s Equipment and Cubeta, where Weibo posted about selling cards on Gofish, a Chinese platform for selling used items. These particular cards are reported to contain the GeForce RTX 3060 mobile GPU, which bypasses Nvidia’s limiter against Ethereum mining.

We have written extensively about the impact of mining on GPU availability and pricing. Cards like the desktop FHR RTX 3060 don’t provide the highest hash rates, but they do show hash rates per watt well, which is an accurate indicator of whether a GPU is a good miner or not.

The problem for miners – and the benefit for gamers – is that all RTX 3060s currently available are LHR versions. Some early 3060 models can be unlocked but are not always available anywhere else. Since the mobile 3060 uses the same GA106 GPU but can run at full performance, using the 3060M chips in the desktop form factor makes sense. They mine better but do nothing for gamers.

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The desktop and mobile RTX 3060s use the same GA106 GPU. The 3060 desktop card contains 3584 shaders and 12 GB of memory, while the mobile version includes 3840 shaders and 6 GB of memory. This 6 GB is not a limit for miners (yet), and the much lower TDP is an advantage. Also, its memory bandwidth is not much lower than the desktop 3060 (336 GB/s vs. 360 GB/s). These two characteristics make it a desirable mining GPU over a desktop one.

Card Seller demonstrated the hashing performance of 3060M cards. They are shown to reach 50 MH/s, compared to 34 MH/s for the desktop LHR 3060. It’s the kind of number that makes you wonder why another manufacturer didn’t do this sooner. Updating the 3060 BIOS to be compatible with the 3060M should be relatively easy. Though it’s probably easier said than done.

As we speak, it seems that stories like this will lose relevance as the signs continue to point to the end of the supply crisis, mining demand, or both. We may even see a return to parity in a few months! Using such cards is undoubtedly more cost-effective than buying pallets of gaming laptops, and that should leave more LHR 3060s for gamers to buy.

As time passes and Ethereum moves towards a new Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism, there is hope that GPU mining will die as a result. There is no single coin that brings the same mining profits as Ethereum. So, for now, there are promising signs that most graphics cards will be back in the hands of gamers, not miners.

 

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