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Nvidia says GeForce RTX 3060 is for gamers, not crypto miners

Instead, the company is launching a new CMP line for professional cryptocurrency mining.

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Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 video card launched on Feb. 25.

Lori Grunin/CNET

Nvidia says it's taking steps to make sure its GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card ends up in the hands of gamers. The RTX 3060 will be able to detect aspects of the Ethereum cryptocurrency mining algorithm and limit its hash rate by around 50 percent, the company said in a blog post last week. This will make the GPU less efficient at mining the digital coin. 

"We designed GeForce GPUs for gamers, and gamers are clamoring for more," wrote Matt Wuebbling, Nvidia's vice president of global GeForce marketing, in the blog post. "Yet Nvidia GPUs are programmable. And users are constantly discovering new applications for them, from weather simulation and gene sequencing to deep learning and robotics. Mining cryptocurrency is one of them."

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GPUs -- which are important for PC gaming, video editing and other graphics-intensive activities -- have been increasingly difficult to find in stock as the price of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum hit new highs. Cryptocurrencies are mined using powerful computers, often equipped with multiple GPUs. 

But Nvidia isn't leaving cryptocurrency fans out in the cold. The company said it's launching a new CMP, or cryptocurrency mining processor, product line. CMP products will be optimized for mining, with features to improve power efficiency and airflow, but won't do graphics, Nvidia said. 

"They don't meet the specifications required of a GeForce GPU and, thus, don't impact the availability of GeForce GPUs to gamers," wrote Wuebbling.

Nvidia unveiled the entry-level RTX 3060, in January at CES 2021. The RTX 3060 is meant to entice those who are still using older-generation chips, and Nvidia said it offers 10 times the performance of 2016's GTX 1060 and twice the performance of 2018's 2060. 

The RTX 3060 launched on Thursday with a $329 starting price, but shortages will make it hard to find in stock.