It is a difficult time to be a PC gaming enthusiast. The severe GPU shortage has made it nearly impossible to buy the best graphics card, and when you find a GPU, it is usually at a high markup like Nvidia LHR.
To make matters worse, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others have been exploding throughout 2021-2022. This has driven hordes of GPU miners to grab whatever graphics cards they can to mine crypto coins, often in “farms” consisting of rows of GPUs.
Nvidia introduced Lite Hash Rate technology to combat the dire GPU availability situation. This technology limits the mining performance of selected GPUs to increase the number of graphics cards available. Here’s a quick overview of Nvidia LHR, including which graphics cards it is available on and if gaming performance has been affected (spoiler alert: not).
What is Nvidia LHR (Lite Hash Rate) Technology?
Let’s start with the basics: What is Nvidia LHR graphic cards detect when they are being used for Ethereum (ETH) and automatically reduce the “hash rate.” This makes LHR GPUs less lucrative for potential mining purchases because of their higher power draw than the lower hash rate. Gamers will buy LHR GPUs that aren’t profitable to miners.
LHR tech was introduced first in the GeForceRTX3060. It was quickly disregarded and then reintroduced.
The GeForce RTX3060 failed to introduce the Lite Hashrate limiter. A mistaken beta driver unlocks the GPU’s full mining power within the same week launched. Nvidia came back two months later, having had a second attempt at LHR technology across its entire lineup. The LHR GPUs with more recent features (e.g., RTX3080 Ti) are said to have tighter integrations between software and firmware.
Is the limiter going to be effective long-term? We don’t know.
Now been unlocked with NBMiner, up from the 50 percent that LHR restricts them to out of the box. To make more money, crypto is big business. Ambitious miners will try to crack Nvidia’s protections. Be cautious about what you download. One high-profile claimed LHR unlock tool was installed instead of a Trojan onto users’ computers.
What GeForce GPUs are equipped with LHR?
These are the GeForce graphics card models that feature LHR technology.
- Nvidia RTX 3050
- Nvidia RTX 3060
- Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti (Founders Edition unaffected)
- Nvidia RTX 3070 (Founders Edition unaffected)
- Nvidia RTX 3080 (Founders Edition unaffected)
- Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti
Nvidia applied LHR in its RTX 30-series lineup between May 2021 and May 2021. Their mining performance will not be affected if you have an RTX 3060Ti, RTX 3070, or RTX 3080 manufactured before the manufacturing change. Nvidia’s limited-run Founders Edition models do not support LHR. They were all manufactured long before Nvidia implemented its limiter. All GeForce GPUs manufactured after the switchover have LHR technology as default. Most hard-working, play-hard GeForce GTX 3090 GPUs have LHR technology by default. All models also offer full hash rate performance.
The massive RTX 3090 is a hybrid of play and pro, and it’s currently the only GeForce RTX 30-series GPU that doesn’t have LHR.
How can I tell if my LHR GeForce graphics cards are working?
No matter which model RTX 30-series cards you choose, you will know you are buying an LHR GPU. The box will indicate whether it is “LHR” (Lite Hash Rate) or something else. AMD’s Radeon graphics cards, which are rivals to AMD, do not currently have similar restrictions on hash rates.
Does LHR affect gaming performance?
Nvidia’s Lite Hashrate technology is not for gamers. As far as we know, it does not impact gaming performance. It is strictly a limiter on hash rates.
What does LHR stand for in terms of resale value?
LHR graphics cards can have a resale value that is either positive or negative. These models may be more valuable to some people because LHR means that the graphics card was not intended for mining. However, they will be less valuable to miners because of their lower performance relative to the price.
LHR GPUs should be avoided if they are restricted further. These may still be possible for miners if crypto mining profitability rises, even with lower performance.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 24, 2021. Later, it was updated to include the RTX3050 and mention LHR Unlocker, which installed malware.