RTX 3070 mobile GPUs being used in unauthorized mining cards in Asia

A graphics card purportedly containing an RTX 3070 mobile GPU
(Image credit: Trần Duy Hưng/Facebook)

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 mobile GPUs, originally destined for laptops, have instead been installed into unauthorized graphics cards and marketed to cryptominers as a way to get around Nvidia’s Light Hash Rate GPUs in standard desktop graphics cards.

These GPUs have been specifically modified from their initial mobile form factor GPUs into desktop-form factor graphics cards, according to Tom’s Hardware. They were first spotted by Twitter leaker I_Leak_VN, who found them on China's Taobao online marketplace and divulged the mining performance table of these unauthorized cards. VideoCardz even shared pictures of the graphics cards being readied for shipping.

Though the mobile RTX 3070 lacks the power and clock speed of the desktop version (the mobile RTX 3070 only has 5,120 CUDA Cores to the desktop version’s 5,888, and the mobile GPU’s boost clock comes in at 1.56 GHz, compared to 1.73 GHz for the RTX 3070 desktop graphics card), it’s not intended for gamers. The mobile version doesn’t have the  Light Hash Rate technology that Nvidia desktop cards are outfitted with, making the mobile GPUs perfect for cryptomining.

We reached out to Nvidia for comment, but the company said it cannot comment on unauthorized products.

Analysis: The negative effects of cryptomining on gaming

The issue of mobile GPUs being repurposed as mining tools for desktop PCs has been going on for over a year. And Nvidia hasn’t seemed to crack down on the issue.

This means that fewer mobile RTX 3000-series GPUs have actually gone into laptops as there should have. With Taobao listings showing hundreds of GPUs on sale, that means there are hundreds fewer gaming and creator laptops than would otherwise exist. This makes 3070 laptops and even 3060 laptops much more expensive due to the constrained supply.

Coupled with the general global semiconductor shortage, it makes acquiring PC parts or gaming laptops even harder for gamers, so the quicker Nvidia cracks down on this gray market, the better – though the damage might have already been done.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.