Nvidia’s new RTX 3070 and 3080 Ti playing cards try and cater to players and miners

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

Of particular interest to cryptocurrency enthusiasts is Nvidia’s decision to launch the cards with in-built limiters aimed at curbing their Ether (ETH)-mining utility.

The company had previously pledged to create a crypto-specific card designed for mining Ether and other GPU-compatible cryptocurrencies. The move was designed to pull demand away from would-be crypto miners, but Nvidia’s insistence on releasing all of its newer GPUs with crypto-limiters suggests this plan may not be as definitive as first expected.

Nvidia most recently declared in its Q1 earnings report that it couldn’t accurately gauge the demand coming from cryptocurrency miners. That’s despite black market prices of its 3000 range selling for up to 300% higher than retail, having accumulated millions of dollars in estimated secondary market sales already.

While the 3060, 3070 and 3080 (including their Ti models) will all feature the specially designed Lite Hash Rate (LHR) GPUs, Nvidia made no mention of the 3090 series of cards. Positioned at the higher end of Nvidia’s product range, the 3090 occupies a high enough price point that its demand by either gamers or miners is generally limited to begin with.

What’s more, a comparison of the 3080 Ti and the 3090 reveals the former to be much the same as the latter. The only difference is that the 3090 packs 24GB of video RAM compared to the 3080’s 12GB.

Regardless of Nvidia’s actions in the near future, its supply conundrum as it relates to Ether miners will likely dissipate over the course of the next 6–12 months, as Ethereum moves away from its Proof-of-Work consensus algorithm towards Proof-of-Stake. At this point, graphics cards will become irrelevant in regards to the production of ETH coins. While this would appear to detract from the value of the cards in the long run, the short-time frame left in which to profit from ETH mining will likely result in another spike in demand, and a subsequent supply shortfall.