Nvidia’s new RTX 3070 and 3080-Ti cards try to appeal to gamers and miners alike

Nvidia’s new 3070 Ti and 3080 Ti graphics cards will hit the market with built-in Ethereum hash rate limiters when they go on sale later this month. Nvidia announced the pending release of the new cards during its Computex 2021 livestream on Monday, which announced the specifications and release dates for both models.

Of particular interest to cryptocurrency enthusiasts is Nvidia’s decision to launch the cards with built-in limiters to curb their ether mining utility.

The company had previously promised to develop a crypto-specific card designed for mining Ether (ETH) and other GPU-compatible cryptocurrencies. The move should pull demand from would-be crypto miners, but Nvidia’s insistence on releasing all newer GPUs with crypto limiters suggests that this plan may not be as final as initially expected.

Nvidia recently stated in its Q1 earnings report that it cannot accurately assess the demand from cryptocurrency miners. This is despite the black market prices in the 3000 series, which are up to 300% higher than in retail, after having already achieved estimated secondary market sales in the millions.

While the 3060, 3070, and 3080 (including the Ti models) all have the specially designed Lite Hash Rate (LHR) GPUs, Nvidia didn’t mention the 3090 series of cards. The 3090 is at the upper end of Nvidia’s product range and is priced sufficiently high that its demand by gamers or miners is generally limited at first.

A comparison of the 3080 Ti and 3090 also shows that the former is very similar to the latter. The only difference is that the 3090 contains 24 GB of video RAM compared to the 12 GB of the 3080.

Regardless of Nvidia’s actions in the near future, the supply problem regarding the ether miners is likely to resolve over the next 6 to 12 months as Ethereum moves from its proof-of-work consensus algorithm to the proof-of-share. At this point, graphics cards become irrelevant in relation to the production of ETH coins. While this seems to detract from the value of the cards in the long run, the short timeframe in which you can benefit from ETH mining is likely to result in further spikes in demand and a subsequent supply shortage.