If you’ve been following the GPU market since 2020, you’re aware that cryptocurrency miners are a major contributor to the GPU scarcity. Additionally, if you’re setting up a cryptocurrency mining setup, you should know that graphics cards are excellent for solving the challenging equations the blockchain uses to validate transactions. Newer and more complicated equations replace those that miners have already solved, and they require more powerful technology to compute quickly.
These equations may be solved with ease by the RTX family of graphics cards from Nvidia. What, then, makes them suitable for mining? We’ll look at that in a moment. But first, let’s clarify something.
In this case, Bitcoin will be used to refer to all cryptocurrencies. Even when part of a mining pool, mining Bitcoin directly with a GPU isn’t profitable and hasn’t been for years. ASIC technology, a specific sort of computer that produces a far greater hash rate than even the most potent GPUs, is required to mine Bitcoin directly (and with less power, too). Ethereum is the coin that people mine using GPUs the most frequently. Additionally, there are mining pools like NiceHash where hashing power is used to mine different cryptocurrencies instead of only Bitcoin.
Now that the controversy has been resolved, let’s examine what makes RTX graphics cards suitable for mining.
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Power and Features
The RTX series of graphics cards are no exception to the trend of modern graphics cards gaining power with each new iteration. The RTX-20 series, which Nvidia debuted in 2018 and served as the basis for the Turing GPU architecture With the transition of the RTX-20 series from GDDR5 memory to the GDDR6 standard, graphics memory transfer speeds increased from 8 Gbps to 14–16 Gbps. Additionally, they boosted the number of transistors, CUDA cores, and overall power that the cards could employ.
Additionally, the RTX-20 series added new features that the preceding GTX 10-series lacked. Specifically, tensor cores and specialized ray tracing. These new core types were created by Nvidia to support AI-powered calculations and real-time ray tracing. The 30-series cards greatly increased memory speeds, CUDA core counts, and transistor counts in addition to switching to the Ampere architecture and providing even more power than the 20-series cards. When comparing the RTX 2080 and 3080, the 3080 had memory speeds that were 5 Gbps faster, nearly three times as many CUDA cores, twice as many transistors, and newer versions of ray tracing and tensor cores.
All of this has resulted in higher resolutions and improved gaming performance, as well as considerably more potent crypto mining equipment.
Cost vs Performance
The mix between their price and performance that RTX cards offer makes them suitable for cryptocurrency mining. especially how much electricity they consume relative to the hash rate they produce For years, AMD’s graphics cards dominated the performance of mining Ethereum and other GPU-based cryptocurrencies. Additionally, they often use less electricity and are less expensive. But Nvidia is starting to gain ground.
What About Nvidia’s Crypto Throttling?
Nowadays, AMD has one advantage over Nvidia when it comes to cryptocurrencies: its open-source drivers make it independent of mining. Understanding the pressure that cryptocurrency miners have been putting on the already competitive GPU industry in recent years, Nvidia attempted to solve this in 2021.
Beginning with the RTX 3060, Nvidia started releasing cards with a Light Hash Rate limitation, which was designed to reduce the cards’ mining efficiency and discourage miners from buying them in large quantities. They also developed its CMP brand of cards with the goal of segmenting the market, allowing gamers access to standard GPUs while simultaneously providing a different option for cryptocurrency miners.
The CMP range of cards, however, ends up being less than ideal for cryptocurrency miners. Due to their headless design and the nature of mining, the cards not only do not have the same resale value as regular RTX cards, but they also have a greater starting cost. Additionally, the cards have a locked BIOS, which prevents miners from undervolting and overclocking their cards, two common techniques used by miners to increase hashing power and lower electricity costs.
Nvidia announced intentions to apply this hash restriction to its other RTX 30-series GPUs, thereby ending the newest RTX line’s viability for cryptocurrency miners. However, what appeared to be a brilliant move from team green was really just a hiccup for cryptocurrency miners. First, shortly after the LHR limiter was put in place, Nvidia unintentionally released a beta driver that unlocked the limiter and let miners to continue using their cards’ maximum mining performance. Even while Nvidia rapidly fixed the problem, miners are still outperforming the green behemoth.
Later in 2021, NBMiner was able to partially circumvent the limiter, preserving up to 70% of the cards’ hashing power for miners. There is also the Nvidia data leak in February 2022, as if that weren’t enough. In the event that Nvidia doesn’t disable the hash restriction on all of their RTX 30-series cards, the group of hackers that carried out the breach has threatened to release the stolen data.
Despite all of that, though, the hash limiter doesn’t seem to alarm crypto miners much. In reality, the limitation has been criticized as being useless, and it certainly seems that way. The RTX cards are still producing enough hashing power to make money for miners even with the limitation in place.