The light hash rate Nvidia RTX 3080 is real, here's what you need to know

Promotional Image Of The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Graphics Card
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia has made it official: an improved hash rate limiter is coming to the RTX 3080, RTX 3070, RTX 3060 Ti, and RTX 3060 in an effort to get more of its graphics cards into the hands of gamers.

In a post on the Nvidia blog, the company said: "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.

"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 be required to carry a Light Hash Rate or LHR label to differentiate them from other RTX cards without the limiter for transparency – and probably for legal reasons, as well.

This is great news for gamers hoping to see more graphics card stock in the near future, as it takes away at least one element of the sky-high demand for these graphics cards: cryptominers.

A hash rate limiter was introduced with the RTX 3060, but unfortunately, it was quickly circumvented, including the accidental release of a beta driver by one of Nvidia's partners that disabled the limiter entirely. Hopefully, with the new GPU SKUs, we'll see an improvement on these earlier efforts – including a hash rate limiter that can't actually be circumvented.

There's reason to hope, though. As Wccftech points out, these new cards will be all new GPUs, so hopefully there is more of a hardware solution to the mining problem than something that can be disabled with something as simple as a driver. 

Is there some ray-traced light at the end of the tunnel for gamers?

How well the hash rate limiter works will mean everything in terms of how much the new GPU SKUs help the stock issues facing gamers. 

Assuming that these limiters work as planned and are durable enough to prevent cryptominers from circumventing them, there is definitely reason to hope here. With the recent fall in Bitcoin and Ethereum value (Thanks Elon Musk!), the profit margins on mining these two cryptocurrencies in particular are going to be tighter, so every little bit helps. Cutting the hash rate of the new cards will definitely make these cards much less attractive for miners in that regard.

Combine that with Nvidia's newer CMPs due out in the next few months and there is real chance that cryptomining demand can be completely countered as far as these particular RTX cards are concerned. 

It's interesting that the RTX 3090 isn't in line for a new lite hash rate card, but considering that the RTX 3090 is a really high end card, the cost-benefit of doing a new GPU SKU for a card that very few gamers could afford to buy even at the stated MSRP probably won't make much of a difference to justify the expense.

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).