Nvidia's new LHR GPUs will put 'more GeForce cards at better prices into the hands of gamers'

Nvidia RTX 3070
(Image credit: Future & Nvidia)
Audio player loading…

Nvidia has announced sweeping hash rate limits coming to GeForce RTX 3080 (opens in new tab), RTX 3070 (opens in new tab), and RTX 3060 Ti (opens in new tab) graphics cards. From late May onwards, Nvidia will re-release these RTX 30-series graphics cards under the 'LHR' banner, or "Lite Hash Rate", and says it's working with manufacturers to make sure that customers know exactly what they're getting.

"To help get GeForce GPUs in the hands of gamers, we announced in February that all GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards shipped with a reduced Ethereum hash rate," the company says in a blog post (opens in new tab)

"Today, we’re taking additional measures by applying a reduced ETH hash rate to newly manufactured GeForce RTX 3080, RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 Ti graphics cards. These cards will start shipping in late May."

The new cards will also receive a new identifier, LHR, for Lite Hash Rate. Nvidia says this identifier will be found across all retail product listings and on the box itself.

Screen queens

(Image credit: Future)

Best gaming monitor (opens in new tab): pixel-perfect panels for your PC
Best high refresh rate monitor (opens in new tab): screaming quick screens
Best 4K monitor for gaming (opens in new tab): when only high-res will do
Best 4K TV for gaming (opens in new tab): big-screen 4K PC gaming

There's no word on whether the RTX 3060 12GB (opens in new tab), the card to first arrive with the limiter, will receive an update to once again reinstate the limiter. Nor does Nvidia confirm all future releases will come with a limiter, such as the rumoured GeForce RTX 3080 Ti (opens in new tab), RTX 3070 Ti, or RTX 3050 Ti.

No graphics cards produced prior to the LHR series will receive a cryptocurrency limit, though, Nvidia confirms.

Nvidia's hash rate limiter launched with the RTX 3060 12GB. It detects when a user begins Ethereum mining (for Ether) and slows down the card's computational skills to half of its original speed. It isn't simply a driver limit, either, it's implemented across the driver, vBIOS, and the GPU itself.

But it got off to a rocky start, to say the least. 

While Nvidia believed it to be unhackable (opens in new tab), the company would be its own downfall. A developer driver version, containing code that circumvented the Ethereum limiter on the RTX 3060, would release soon after the card's launch, unlocking the coded limiter (opens in new tab) and once again turning the GPU market into a cryptocurrency free-for-all.

That means we don't really know how well the limiter holds up to a little hacking. Nor do we know for sure whether it will stand the test of time against a more concerted effort. Nvidia, however, is confident that its renewed push with LHR will "get more GeForce cards at better prices into the hands of gamers everywhere," and for a litany of reasons we hope it's right.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.