Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 stock is coming — with a crypto mining limiter

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
(Image credit: Nvidia)

We’ve known for a while that Nvidia wants to fit its entire GeForce RTX 30-series range with an Ethereum cryptocurrency mining limiter, after trying it out on just the GeForce RTX 3060. Now we have our first look at partner versions of these anti-mining cards, starting with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3070.

As spotted by VideoCardz, Galax has revealed new “LHR” (Lower Hash Rate) versions of its GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3070 cards. These should make the GPUs only about half as effective at mining Ethereum, without affecting gaming performance.

The idea, as with Nvidia’s hash-rate-lowering efforts on other GPUs, is to discourage miners from snapping up what previous little stock will be available, thanks to production problems caused by an underlying semiconductor shortage. Ordinary PC owners, who’ve likely been struggling to find where to buy the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, could therefore have a better chance of buying one.

For its part, Galax is making it clear that these new models are mining-limited by adding a new “FG” suffix. It’s not clear what this stands for, though. “For Gaming” perhaps. Or “Finally, GPUs” for anyone who’s spent months unsuccessfully chasing restocks.

Nvidia’s first attempt to slap an Ethereum mining limiter on the GeForce RTX 3060 didn’t exactly go to plan: its own beta drivers were found to disable it. And more enterprising miners eventually managed to crack it anyway. This second attempt is supposedly more secure, and is tipped to feature on the upcoming Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti in addition to these existing GPUs.

However, the new limiters’ effectiveness remains to be seen, both in terms of how tough it is to crack and how well it actually helps get in-demand graphics cards into PC gamers’ hands. In any case, available stock is practically guaranteed to be low, so you’ll still need to be quick when the LHR cards launch.

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.