Ethereum mining limiters could come as standard on future Nvidia GeForce GPUs

Nvidia RTX 3060
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Trouble getting hold of a graphics card right now? There's something of a perfect storm for GPU shortages today as demand surges, supply wanes, and cryptocurrency mining makes a comeback. Nvidia's partial answer has been to implement a Ethereum mining limiter on its latest GPU, the RTX 3060 12GB, and it could well be planning more of the same for future launches, including the RTX 3080 Ti.

The RTX 3080 Ti is a card always just over the horizon for Nvidia, or at least that's what the rumours seem to suggest. There's no official word on this card's existence or release date, but you'd expect it will show up in one form or another before the year's out.

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Originally expected with 10,496 CUDA Cores and 20GB of GDDR6X memory, a well-known leaker with a decent track record for Nvidia releases supposes the RTX 3080 Ti has shape changed once more. Kopite7kimi now suggests the card will arrive with 10,240 CUDA Cores and 12GB of GDDR6X.

Furthermore, it's said to come with the same Ethereum mining limiter as the RTX 3060, a driver, vBIOS, and silicon handshake that will slow the card's hash rate once an Ether mining algorithm is detected. 

Ether is the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain platform and is the first port of call for GPU miners. It favours bandwidth and compute capability, which Nvidia's RTX 30-series have in spades.

The same leak also suggests the RTX 3080 Ti's 12GB GDDR6X will run at 19Gbps, matching the RTX 3080 and a touch lower than the RTX 3090 at 19.5Gbps.

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It's likely that GPU roadmaps are a little up in the air right now, and we've still only the odd rumour regarding the RTX 3080 Ti. Yet, as I mentioned before, there seems to be enough buzz around the RTX 3080 Ti to say it's likely to materialise into shipping product sometime this year—the RTX 3090 doesn't appear a straight replacement for a high-end Ti this generation.

Perhaps the bigger question, though, is whether this spells an end to Ether mining activity across all future GeForce graphics card releases. It's beginning to look as much, and Nvidia's CFO has hinted that the RTX 3060 12GB was just the beginning.

At least if the RTX 3080 Ti does arrive with an Ethereum limiter in tow, you can be 99 percent sure it won't be the last GeForce card to do so.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.