It’s a good day for miners out there struggling to make ends meet in the face of Nvidia’s Lite Hash Rate (LHR) GPUs. The mining platform NiceHash has announced it’s finally defeated Nvidia’s anti-mining technology that reduces cards’ hash rates. Unlike similar announcements in the past, this one appears to be legit. The only caveat is that it works on most, but not all, Nvidia 30-series GPUs.
The company made the announcement in a blog post, saying most Nvidia LHR GPUs could now mine at 100 percent with its software. Prior to this, LHR-enabled GPUs were only able to mine at about 50 percent of their maximum capacity for Ethereum. One important distinction is the workaround is only available on NiceHash’s QuickMiner (Excavator). This is a more user-friendly version of its NiceHash Miner software. It says support for this new functionality will be coming to the more robust Miner version of its software “soon.” NiceHash provided a screenshot showing the hash rate of an RTX 3080 Ti running at almost twice the rate of an LHR card (below). Typically this GPU would max out around 70MH/s, but is able to run at 120MH/s with the workaround. Note you must use QuickMiner v0.5.4.0 RC as the stable release (v0.5.3.6) doesn’t offer the full unlock capabilities. The software only works on Windows for now as well. Sorry Linux miners, but you’ll have to wait a bit it seems.
You’ll note above we said the workaround applies to “most” Nvidia 30-series GPUs but not all of them. According to Tom’s Hardware Nvidia introduced a 3rd generation (v3) LHR algorithm in its most recent GPUs. For whatever reason, NiceHash’s workaround can’t defeat this latest iteration. That means it doesn’t work on the RTX 3050 and RTX 3080 12GB. The site tested this out by running QuickMiner on a 12GB 3080 and a 3080 Ti. The LHR 3080 chugged along at 65MH/s, while the uninhibited 3080 Ti mined at over 100MH/s. Tom’s notes that prior to this the same GPU could only reach 77MH/s. They note that NiceHash’s example of 120MH/s is only possible with aggressive overclocks.
Nvidia began limiting the mining performance of its 30-series GPUs post-launch, as soaring crypto demand made an already difficult situation untenable. Though Ampere came to market in September of 2020, the company didn’t start making LHR GPUs until May of 2021. This meant the original batch of cards had no limiters on them, including the RTX 3090, 3080, 3070, and 3060 Ti. Subsequent GPUs were all LHR models, though people have been trying to find a way around the lock since it launched. This news from NiceHash seems to be the first 100 percent unlock without any malware attached. With Ampere officially complete and launched as a family, it seems unlikely Nvidia will do anything about it. We doubt it would bother to re-release any cards with the latest v3 LHR in-place. Even if Nvidia releases a new driver for its cards, the existing driver works for the workaround, so it would be a futile effort.