Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

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v00d00
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Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

Post by v00d00 »

Will Nvidia's attempt to stop crypto mining by crippling the cards at the software level have any effect on Folding@home software?

While we aren't as prolific in buying cards for compute tasks as say cryptominers, as a community we do buy a lot of hardware that probably never gets used for gaming. Now that the company has decided to target Ethereum miners and probably all crypto currencies eventually, will they in turn do the same for all users of Nvidia hardware for uses besides gaming? I don't know the answer, but I think it would be nice if someone from the Folding Consortium could ask Nvidia if what they are doing will impact us in the future.

Sources for the story.

https://www.theregister.com/2021/02/18/ ... pu_mining/
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56114508
https://www.gamespot.com/articles/nvidi ... 0-6487754/
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JimboPalmer
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Re: Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

Post by JimboPalmer »

[I am just a volunteer like you, with no 'inside' knowledge]

Yes, the RTX 3060 folding will be impacted by this change, and I can't imagine it not impacting a future RTX 3050ti.

Nvidia has re-released the RTX 2060, which may be the better folding option.
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Re: Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

Post by ajm »

Hm, or will those CMP cards be able to fold well, that is, would they handle CUDA?
https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/cmp/ could be interesting.
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Re: Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

Post by JimboPalmer »

ajm wrote:Hm, or will those CMP cards be able to fold well, that is, would they handle CUDA?
I expect that during the next mining bust, they will be cheap and fold well.
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Re: Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

Post by ajm »

JimboPalmer wrote:
ajm wrote:Hm, or will those CMP cards be able to fold well, that is, would they handle CUDA?
I expect that during the next mining bust, they will be cheap and fold well.
That would be great news!
I left a question on Nvidia's forum: https://forums.developer.nvidia.com/t/c ... cmp/168866
v00d00
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Re: Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

Post by v00d00 »

I considered asking on the Nvidia forums, but its a bit hit and miss on there.

I am also not asking for myself per se. Having enough money to buy any card from the 3xxx series is not likely for a while. It also seems like this is aimed at specific cards.

I read somewhere that they calculated and tested which cards gave the best ethereum returns and then went about crippling those cards. I also read another post that said the way it is crippled uses an anti hacking feature which is a mixture of hardware and software, presumably to defeat people reflashing the cards, im guessing the actual gpu chips have a hardware failover system built in to them at the circuitry level. Possibly if you hack the driver in some way it throttles the card to 50% power overall. i will be interested to see how they actually did it, when that information becomes available.

Apparently the 3060 ti is the ideal card for mining, so i guess the 3060 and probably 3050 are the obvious targets. Where as the 3070 and 3080 are that expensive that most miners would never consider them. From what i've read the drivers for the 3070 and 3080 are unaffected (so far), but I wouldnt count on that being the case indefinitely. While I doubt the current 3070-3090 cards will have the hardware capability to be crippled, its possible that any cards built with whatever chip provides the new antihack feature may not be suitable going forward.

And yes, I do look forward to seeing if the new CMP cards will work with folding. I would definitely be interested in such a card and it might make building 4 card folding servers a bit easier.

Link to the Hardware Cripple article I read:

https://www.techpowerup.com/278712/nvid ... -more-skus

And found this saying someone has tested it on a 3060 (probably using a hacked driver since one isnt available yet) and it does seem to be implemented at the hardware level, since the card throttled back when running the ethereum miner software.

https://www.guru3d.com/news-story/nvidi ... -bios.html

I probably wouldnt buy an RTX 3060 for folding until we find out whether this will affect Folding and if this will affect Folding in the future.
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Re: Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

Post by Neil-B »

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v00d00
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Re: Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

Post by v00d00 »

Cool explanation page. It does seem to lay it out quite nicely. I also wonder if all cards from this point onwards will have this tech installed. I expect it will, since its being deployed at the silicon level and presumably has been implemented in the core chip as well as vBIOS. If they use a completely different BIOS setup and encryption on each model they could keep the miners at bay indefinitely since cracking say a 3060 may only allow a 3060 to mine, but a 3070 may need a completely different approach, which would turn into a very expensive operation if you had to crack each model and write new drivers for it. i did think the other way to discourage would be to cripple the power requirements of the cards and lock out changing the voltage, ie, make the cards use far more power, which in turn hits mining profits especially if you cant undervolt them or modify the power at either the software or hardware level.

Anyway, it seems it probably will work for Folding. It seems Ethereum is the current target. I also wonder if the making money from consumer gpu's is some of the issue. If that was the case, folding wouldn't fall in that category since we dont make money doing this, well I suppose those Curecoin people do, but the vast majority of us just volunteer for sicence.
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Re: Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

Post by gunnarre »

People make money from "consumer" GPUs all the time though, when they use them for graphics work or other types of work.
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Re: Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

Post by Joe_H »

gunnarre wrote:People make money from "consumer" GPUs all the time though, when they use them for graphics work or other types of work.
True, but people doing that don't tend to purchase "consumer" GPUs by the 10s or 100s at a time like cryptocurrency miners do.
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Re: Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

Post by v00d00 »

They should design new Nvidia cards to use more power instead of less. If a card nowadays uses 75w, then make it use 125w and make it exceptionally unstable if undervolted. That will remove the market for mining on them, gamers dont tend to care too much if a card uses more power or gets hotter since heat can be fixed with watercooling and most gamers dont use the cards 24/7. In five years when the cryptocurrency boom has crashed and died, go back to releasing cards with reasonable specs. if you make the hardware of the card use more power its completely irrelevant if a mining company in China rewrites the drivers or hacks the card as they cant overcome the fundamental problem of power without spending lots of money on redeigning the card from the ground up and at that point is it cheaper to look into using ASICs or AMD cards over Nvidia cards that no longer give good returns due to the increase in power usage and the excess heat that is generated, which invariably will lead to cards dying quicker when used for 24/7 compute tasks..
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Re: Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

Post by ipkh »

It's a stopgap solution at best. Different cryptocurrencies use special algorithms so tracking each down and preventing false positives is a fool's errand. I can't imagine it will take long for this to become a cat and mouse game.
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Re: Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

Post by bruce »

There's a lot of unexplored information on this subject that's being guessed at.

I'll add a thought (and you're welcome to guess at an answer.

I doubt that FAH logic and memory access patterns don't really overlap with what crypto does. If this leads to cheaper cards that remain equally productive in FAH, I'm all for it.... but that's strictly a self-interest point of view. Given the recent and long-term histories of US political parties acting purely out of self-interest is not really in the best interest of everyone.
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Re: Nvidia crippled Crypto Mining driver

Post by v00d00 »

ipkh wrote:It's a stopgap solution at best. Different cryptocurrencies use special algorithms so tracking each down and preventing false positives is a fool's errand. I can't imagine it will take long for this to become a cat and mouse game.
Yeah, this situation reminds me of the anti cheat battle that occurred with the old Counter Strike 1.5 many years back. The anticheat developers would release an update, the cheaters would bypass it and release a new cheat, the anticheat devs would release a new update and so the battle went on for about two years. The anticheat people quit in the end. I honestly dont see Nvidia quitting. Also they have a lot of money to throw at the problem. Add in the new AI possibilities and we might see a card in not a long amount of time that uses AI to search for those calculations and then throttles or completely cancels any mining occurring on the card. A solution that no longer requires software in any way to make it work andprobably has a kill switch that renders the card useless if you try and hack it directly. I also see AMD joining this party as well.

For folding usage, I could see an exception being made via the driver. Folding had dealings with Nvidia before long ago, back when GPU was first created as I remember. I dont think they would risk the bad publicity when the project is doing something that benefits mankind, is freely available and isnt wrapped in making money.
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