It’s a troublesome time to be a PC gamer. A crippling GPU scarcity has made shopping for the most effective graphics playing cards subsequent to unimaginable, and if you can discover a GPU, it’s often at an exorbitant markup. Making issues worse, crypto currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have been completely booming all through 2021 and 2022, driving hordes of GPU miners to gobble up what graphics playing cards they will discover to mine cryptocoins and switch a pleasant revenue, typically in “farms” composed of rows of toiling GPUs.
To assist fight the dire GPU availability state of affairs confronted by avid gamers, Nvidia launched Lite Hash Charge (LHR) expertise that put strict limits on the mining efficiency of choose GPUs, ostensibly to get extra graphics playing cards into the palms of avid gamers. Right here’s a rundown of what LHR does, which graphics playing cards embrace the expertise, if gaming efficiency is impacted (spoiler: nope), and all the things else you should know.
What’s Nvidia Lite Hash Charge expertise?
First issues first—what’s LHR? Nvidia LHR graphics playing cards detect after they’re getting used for Ethereum (ETH) cryptocurrency mining and robotically halve the “hash fee.” With out diving too deeply into the weeds, this makes LHR GPUs much less worthwhile for potential mining purchases resulting from their larger energy draw relative to the now decrease hash fee. The thought is that if LHR GPUs aren’t worthwhile for miners, they are going to be bought by avid gamers as a substitute.
The preliminary try at introducing the Lite Hash Charge limiter within the GeForce RTX 3060 didn’t go as deliberate. An unintentional beta driver launch unlocked the GPU’s full mining efficiency the identical week it launched. Undaunted, Nvidia returned with a second go at LHR expertise throughout most of its lineup two months later. The newer LHR GPUs (such because the RTX 3080 Ti) supposedly function a lot tighter integrations between firmware and software program.
Will the limiter’s effectiveness maintain long run? No person is aware of. Latest information signifies that as much as 70 p.c of a LHR GPU’s mining efficiency has now been unlocked with NBMiner, up from the 50 p.c that LHR restricts them to out of the field. Crypto is massive enterprise nowadays, and bold miners will try to crack Nvidia’s protections to eke out extra income. Watch out with what you obtain, nevertheless; one high-profile purported LHR unlock device put in a Trojan on customers’ PCs as a substitute.
What GeForce GPUs have LHR?
Listed here are the GeForce graphics playing cards that embrace LHR expertise.
Nvidia utilized LHR to most of its RTX 30-series lineup in the course of Could 2021. If you happen to already personal an RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070, or RTX 3080 created earlier than the manufacturing change, their mining efficiency won’t be restricted in any method. (That’s why Nvidia’s personal limited-run Founders Version fashions don’t assist LHR—they had been all made lengthy earlier than Nvidia launched its limiter.) All GeForce GPUs made after the switchover embrace LHR expertise by default. Effectively, virtually all—the work-hard-play-hard GeForce RTX 3090 by no means bought LHR and all fashions provide full hash fee efficiency.
How do I do know if I’ve a LHR GeForce graphics card?
No matter which mannequin RTX 30-series card you purchase, you’ll know that you just’re buying an LHR GPU as a result of the field will establish it as “LHR” or “Lite Hash Charge” ultimately. AMD’s rival Radeon graphics playing cards at the moment would not have any comparable restrictions on hash fee.
Does LHR have an effect on gaming efficiency?
If you happen to’re a gamer, don’t fear about Nvidia’s Lite Hash Charge expertise. It doesn’t have an effect on gaming efficiency in any respect so far as we all know. That is strictly a hash fee limiter.
What does LHR imply for resale worth?
Resale worth on LHR graphics playing cards might go both method. Some folks might worth these fashions extra as a result of LHR signifies a graphics card most likely wasn’t for mining. Miners will worth them much less, however, resulting from their decreased efficiency relative to the worth.
If you happen to’re a miner, you most likely wish to keep away from LHR GPUs until their restrictions develop into additional unlocked. That stated, if crypto mining profitability will increase, these should be viable for miners even with decreased efficiency.
Editor’s word: This text initially printed on August 24, 2021, however was up to date to incorporate the RTX 3050 and point out the LHR Unlocker device that put in malware as a substitute.