NVIDIA LHR, Everything you need to know about Lite Hash Rate GPUs

NVIDIA LHR, Everything you need to know about Lite Hash Rate GPUs. LHR is designed to foil Ethereum miners and get more GeForce graphics cards in the hands of gamers. Here’s what you need to know. Nvidia has launched the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti graphic card.

What is the NVIDIA LHR? To help combat the dire GPU availability situation faced by gamers, Nvidia introduced Lite Hash Rate (LHR) technology that put strict limits on the mining performance of select GPUs, ostensibly to get more graphics cards into the hands of gamers.

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Every now and then, you’ll hear a fancy term announced by NVIDIA as the latest product or graphic card feature. We’ve heard about DLSS, GeForce Now, and Tensor Cores. And there’s the NVIDIA LHR or Lite Hash Rate, a feature that gamers will surely appreciate.

Here’s a rundown of what LHR does, which graphics cards include the technology if gaming performance is impacted, and everything else you need to know.

What is Nvidia Lite Hash Rate technology?

First things first—what is LHR? Nvidia LHR graphics cards detect when they’re being used for Ethereum (ETH) cryptocurrency mining and automatically halve the “hash rate.” Without diving too deeply into the weeds, this makes LHR GPUs less profitable for potential mining purchases due to their higher power draw relative to the now lower hash rate.

The idea is that if LHR GPUs aren’t profitable for miners, they will be purchased by gamers instead.

What GeForce GPUs have LHR?

Here are the GeForce graphics cards that include LHR technology.

  • Nvidia RTX 3060
  • Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti (Founders Edition unaffected)
  • Nvidia RTX 3070 (Founders Edition unaffected)
  • Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti
  • Nvidia RTX 3080 (Founders Edition unaffected)
  • Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti

Does LHR affect gaming performance?

If you’re a gamer, don’t worry about Nvidia’s Lite Hash Rate technology. It does not affect gaming performance whatsoever as far as we know. This is strictly a hash rate limiter.

What about other crypto mining algorithms?

Mining for cryptocurrencies that aren’t based on Ethereum may not have lowered performance when done in cards with LHR. NVIDIA has so far only mentioned Ethereum in its efforts against crypto mining.

What does LHR mean for resale value?

Resale value on LHR graphics cards may go either way. Some people may value these models more because LHR indicates a graphics card probably wasn’t for mining. Miners will value them less, on the other hand, due to their decreased performance relative to the price.

If you’re a miner, you probably want to avoid LHR GPUs unless their restrictions become further unlocked. That said, if crypto mining profitability increases, these may still be viable for miners even with decreased performance.

Does LHR really deter crypto miners from buying LHR-enabled cards?

Sort of. Not long after NVIDIA introduced Lite Hash Rate for the first time, the company accidentally released a driver update that could disable LHR and render it useless. NVIDIA tried again, with better software-hardware integration, but miners and hackers have already found ways to bypass LHR.

Does AMD have an equivalent feature to Lite Hash Rate?

Radeon GPUs from competitor AMD currently do not have a feature similar to Lite Hash Rate. In March, AMD even stated that it had no intentions to block mining operations that are done via graphic cards.

NVIDIA LHR Bypass for cryptominers

Cryptominers keep hacking away at Nvidia’s mining limiter, now get 70% efficiency. Crypto mining software NBMiner can now unlock 70% of the Ethereum mining performance of Nvidia’s Lite Hash Rate (LHR) series.

In what could be bad news for anyone in the market for a new graphics card, as far as the changelog from the latest version of the NBMiner cryptocurrency mining software is concerned, the tool is now capable of unlocking up to 70% of the original GPU mining performance of the Nvidia Lite Hash rate series of GPUs for mining Ethereum.

Whether that means that NBMiner is on the way to being able to unlock the whole performance from the growing GeForce RTX 30-series is unknown, as is the ability to port the performance to other cryptocurrencies. But it’s definitely a shot across the bows for Nvidia’s attempts to constrain GPU appeal to communities outside those interested in mining crypto, ie the rest of us.

This crafty crypto mining hack bypasses Nvidia’s LHR limiter

It seems that cryptocurrency mining enthusiasts found yet another way to bypass Nvidia’s Lite Hash Rate limiter (LHR) technology, although this time, it doesn’t involve using any new software.

Custom versions of the RTX 3060 have surfaced on the second-hand market in China. The GPUs, presumably not endorsed by Nvidia, retain their full mining power — all thanks to the chip that was used in their creation.

The graphics cards appeared on sale on Goofish, a Chinese second-hand re-selling platform, and were first shared on cnBeta. There is no telling which company stands behind the custom GPUs, but their mining prowess has been proven. In order to sidestep Nvidia’s anti-mining measures, the creators of the RTX 3060 had to get creative by turning a laptop version of the GPU into a full-blown desktop graphics card.

This version of the RTX 3060 uses the GA106 die that the mobile versions of the GPU are based on. This means that it most likely comes with 30 stream multiprocessors (SMs) and 3,840 CUDA cores. On the other hand, the card takes a big hit where memory capacity is concerned, scaling down from 12GB of GDDR6 memory in the desktop version to just 6GB in the laptop version. The custom GPU also has a lower TDP than the regular RTX 3060.

In a laptop, these graphics cards would likely not show a lot of mining potential, but repurposing them as desktop GPUs seems to create a capable mining tool. The seller showed off how well the card performs in mining Ethereum through several screenshots. The custom RTX 3060 managed to hit a hash rate of up to 50MH/s, which is much more than the LHR version of the GPU that caps out at 34MH/s. The cards were also shown off as part of a small mining system, with nine GPUs working together to achieve a total hash rate of 246.8MH/s. This consumed almost 1,000 watts of power.

Re-using a mobile chip to create a desktop graphics card is not a novel idea — AMD has done this just recently with its latest Radeon RX 6500 XT graphics card. The use of a mobile chip in a desktop GPU serves as an explanation as to why that card failed to impress the masses. Similarly, the custom-made RTX 3060 GPUs will serve well for mining, but they’re unoptimized for regular computer usage, including gaming.

On the surface, the new RTX 3060 looks very legit and could fool just about anyone — it has a black shroud and a dual-fan cooling system. It comes with an HDMI port and has a matching backplate that even has some Nvidia stickers. However, as Tom’s Hardware points out, the Nvidia label on the GPU is slightly different in color compared to what you’d expect from a real GPU.

The graphics card is a fake, there is no way around that, but it’s unlikely to have been made by a single computer enthusiast, as that is quite a big undertaking. However, there is no information as to what brand stands behind these custom GPUs. Priced at $545 to $570 on the Chinese market, the modified GPUs may sound like a good deal, but they only really serve one purpose — mining Ethereum, which is exactly what Nvidia tried to make sure they wouldn’t do.

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