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Old 2021-02-19, 15:23   #1
tServo
 
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Default Nvidia CMP mining chip

Nvidia has announced a processor to be used explicitly for mining, the Nvidia CMP.
It has no graphics capability. Ominously, they also mentioned that the drivers for their new RTX 3060 will detect mining code being run on it and throttle it 50% !!!
Will this throttling spread to all their consumer cards?

https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2021/02/18/geforce-cmp/
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Old 2021-02-20, 08:42   #2
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How user-unfriendly is that! having the guts to say it out loud: we (Nvidia) get to decide what you use your GPU for. I must ask, what about watching porn on Nvidia GPUs, is that allowed by the driver?

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Originally Posted by tServo View Post
Nvidia has announced a processor to be used explicitly for mining, the Nvidia CMP.
It has no graphics capability. Ominously, they also mentioned that the drivers for their new RTX 3060 will detect mining code being run on it and throttle it 50% !!!
Will this throttling spread to all their consumer cards?

https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2021/02/18/geforce-cmp/

Last fiddled with by preda on 2021-02-20 at 08:43
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Old 2021-02-20, 09:42   #3
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It is nvidia's right to sell their product how they wish, as it is a consumer's right to buy whatever product suits them. They wish to make "gaming" GPUs less attractive to miners, it is their choice.

I'm mixed about this. I'm never a fan of intentionally crippled hardware, but this is clearly being announced up front. They're not taking away anything you ever had from a 3060.

On that note, they can't do this on other already released cards, because that would be reducing functionality after selling it to you. A question remains how robust their implementation is. If it can be circumvented by changes to mining code, that'll be bad. Also, it needs to not be overly broad in application so there it doesn't falsely act on non-mining uses. Assuming it remains unhacked, I can see them rolling this out to as yet unannounced products, such as the high vram refresh of the higher cards that have long been rumoured.

And finally, if you look at the specs of the cards in the new mining range, it seems plausible that all but the highest card will be on Turing. If the fab is the constraint this makes some sense since Turing is/was on TSMC 12nm compared to Ampere on Samsung 8nm.
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Old 2021-02-20, 12:51   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by preda View Post
How user-unfriendly is that! having the guts to say it out loud: we (Nvidia) get to decide what you use your GPU for. I must ask, what about watching porn on Nvidia GPUs, is that allowed by the driver?
DRM is never for the benefit of the consumer. The video entertainment industry is a pioneer in that respect with the likes of HDCP which is in GPU's, and Netflix requiring DRM for 4K content (which I think is through 4K content exclusively using SGX enclaves, which for the longest time meant no 4K content unless you were on windows using edge with an intel CPU Kaby Lake onwards. I think Linux users are still shut out to this day, there were talks of an AMD Zen compatible version but don't know if it's materialised). So while Nvidia isn't likely going to stop you watching Prime Sluts 7, the tools are in place for your friendly porn provider to restrict how you watch their content if they so choose.

All supposedly to stop consumers making perfect copies of content that doesn't require a perfect copy. Video encoders are so good now that a generational loss, even if using the "analog" loophole is required, is inconsequential.

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It is nvidia's right to sell their product how they wish, as it is a consumer's right to buy whatever product suits them. They wish to make "gaming" GPUs less attractive to miners, it is their choice.
It could be argued that DRM is an extension of market segmentation, but it's an incredibly poor proposition from a consumer perspective. While control via DRM is Nvidia's wet dream, I'm not convinced the market will accept it. Best case scenario this is just a marketing ploy to pretend that they're doing something for gamers but easily circumvented, worst case the wooden horse has arrived.

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Originally Posted by mackerel View Post
I'm mixed about this. I'm never a fan of intentionally crippled hardware, but this is clearly being announced up front. They're not taking away anything you ever had from a 3060.
Would Nvidia offering a subscription service to allow a gaming GPU to mine at 100% be acceptable? It wouldn't be taking anything away either, it would be a feature that our benevolent overlords honour us in providing.

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On that note, they can't do this on other already released cards, because that would be reducing functionality after selling it to you.
Sony reduced functionality by removing OtherOS from the PS3, the class action that resulted was a slap on the wrist. Nvidia could do this but realistically they would get destroyed as there's a lot more interest in mining. More likely they'd just discontinue every existing SKU and implement DRM on all future SKUs, which has been rumoured but I can't imagine they'd make such a decision without testing the water with the 3060 first.

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A question remains how robust their implementation is. If it can be circumvented by changes to mining code, that'll be bad. Also, it needs to not be overly broad in application so there it doesn't falsely act on non-mining uses. Assuming it remains unhacked, I can see them rolling this out to as yet unannounced products, such as the high vram refresh of the higher cards that have long been rumoured.
An arms race between DRM and hacker oh goodie, what a good use of time and effort.
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Old 2021-02-20, 13:41   #5
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I would throw one other example of limited hardware out here: Radeon VII.

I know, the situation isn't exactly the same, but The Radeon VII was based off I forget what the "pro" version was, but AMD eventually chose to offer it with lower FP64 performance compared to the pro version. In general we can have different product offerings with some functionality reduced to use up partially defective silicon, but I'm not sure that was entirely the case here. When the VII came out, there was a LOT of confusion around what the FP64 rate was. It sounded to me it was a late decision where they wanted to dial in that number for the consumer offering, and it was not a choice dictated by hardware. That doesn't sound any different to me, but I don't recall people getting out the pitchforks and flaming torches on that occasion.

Thoughts?
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Old 2021-02-20, 14:44   #6
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In a perfect world market segmentation by fusing off working features wouldn't exist either (some of it is down to binning but also maximising profit), but this is different. This DRM doesn't just tweak hardware features to maximise profit workload unaware, this selectively gives some workloads preferential treatment over others. Designing generic hardware and DRMing it to/from a specialised niche is a bad precedent.

If they want to separate mining from non-mining the right way to do it is to design separate crypto silicon. This is basically creating an ASIC for Ethereum which others have tried, but Nvidia is in a unique position in that the mining algorithms were designed for GPU's. A third party has to design an ASIC from scratch for the algorithm, Nvidia merely has to hack away the unnecessary components from existing designs and optimise for cost.

Crippling gaming cards is also beneficial to commercial miners at the expense of consumers and the health of crypto. It reduces consumers efficacy in the mining market, which is already limited by commercial farms and ASICs, which would centralise mining further than it already is. Cards are expensive now, but at least savvy gamers are mining half the time and clawing the outlay back.
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Old 2021-02-20, 15:51   #7
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Making dedicated mining silicon is high risk for something so transitory. Design and manufacturing lead times are too long to cope with that. To de-risk it they could be general compute cards, but then you'd have to leave in pretty much all the functionality anyway and you have the same GPU as for gaming, with differentiation mainly being at board level. If as suspected they're in large part reusing Turing, that doesn't really require much design work.

There is a lot of scepticism out there but I do think nvidia wants gaming to continue. In part, they want to keep ahead of AMD, and also, it is no small part of their revenue. I don't have on hand the latest figures but it provides good growth even if it might have been overtaken by datacentre products. If the supply to gamers falters, with AMD also having nothing to offer, we could end up with a dip in PC gaming that would be hard to reverse. Premium gaming will fall to consoles, and nvidia has nothing to gain from that. AMD at least gets a cut from those.

So for a short term view, I think it is about the least worst solution they can actually offer. PC gaming continues. Large scale miners can get the dedicated cards, more likely based off Turing to not eat too much into Ampere production. Small scale miner (including gamers who mine on the side) might lose out, but I don't think they're going to miss that market.

I do agree, I don't like the idea of software limited hardware in this way. If we imagine a world where Ethereum has gone PoS so mining as we know it stops, assuming miners don't manage to create a viable fork of PoW, and also assuming other coins based on same or similar code don't become viable, then this might be a temporary. Oh, throw in a if it doesn't get hacked too. I think nvidia can employ people good enough to create a sufficiently strong cryptographic implementation to do what they want, but humans are not perfect so it might come down to if any implementation errors allows it to be circumvented.
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Old 2021-03-07, 20:30   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackerel View Post
It is nvidia's right to sell their product how they wish, as it is a consumer's right to buy whatever product suits them. They wish to make "gaming" GPUs less attractive to miners, it is their choice.

I'm mixed about this. I'm never a fan of intentionally crippled hardware, but this is clearly being announced up front. They're not taking away anything you ever had from a 3060.

On that note, they can't do this on other already released cards, because that would be reducing functionality after selling it to you.
Oh, but reducing functionality after you buy their product is exactly what various companies are already doing - for instance Apple is notorious for this. What part of the modern Silicon Valley "you don't own that device|content, you only rent it from us" business model do you not understand? "OK, so I'll just make sure I don't do any firmware upgrades after 'buying' the gear", you reply. Oh, look! 1 day after your 1-year warranty expired, that initial-install firmware "detected a fatal error" and simply stopped working - and your only option is to download a newer version, which just happens to force your device to run at 1/10th speed due to "hardware degradation detected". Whaddya gonna do about that? And an ever-increasing number of manufacturers are removing even that tiny element of customer choice re. which software to run - they're simply pushing 'upgrades' out via OTA whenever they feel like it.

How many stories about 'owners' of newfangled IoT (Internet of shiT) suddenly finding 'their' devices bricked due to the company going out of business, or getting acquired, or having server issues, or getting hacked or whatever do you need to hear? If such greed-exploits are doable in software, they will be getting done in software with ever-increasing frequency, absent laws to prevent them.
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Old 2021-03-16, 15:39   #9
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But itsn't hardware, it's software. Their driver. Again, encrypting unlike AMD, so newer Nvidia cards are practically unflashable.
It's different, like they reduced certain hardware thingies from GTX 580 onward. They are free to design a card that isn't efficent at certain operations. But everything a gpu does is math, so if it can draw pretty 3D graphics or train AI, it can do plenty of other things as well.

Just like some newer cars have built in features not unlocked unless bought or used via a subscription service. But every hardware it completely operational.

Last fiddled with by thyw on 2021-03-16 at 15:40
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Old 2021-03-16, 18:16   #10
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Nvidia have already screwed up with the 3060. They've released a driver, accidentally or otherwise, that doesn't have the hash rate limiter, rendering the entire PR exercise hilarious. There's also been work to the mining algorithm which breaks detection at the expense of some efficiency. There's apparently a roadmap to transition Eth fully to PoS by 2022 but we've heard this song and dance before.

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But itsn't hardware, it's software. Their driver. Again, encrypting unlike AMD, so newer Nvidia cards are practically unflashable.
...
Modern AMD GPU bios are signed since Vega just like Nvidia's are, rendering bios modification impossible unless AMD's keys get leaked (wouldn't that be a shame). It hasn't caused many problems, yet.
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Old 2021-03-18, 05:52   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thyw View Post
Just like some newer cars have built in features not unlocked unless bought or used via a subscription service. But every hardware it completely operational.
Best example are oscilloscopes. You pay few thousands of bucks to get a toy and when you want to use it, you find out that the most of the modules are not free, and you can only use it like a very basic scope that you could buy for 89 bucks, unless you pay another 20 or 30 thousands (or more) to get the software modules. Even the voltmeter, is only 2% accurate, and you must pay 800 bucks to get a key (yes, not a piece of software, just a serial number! - the software is already inside, but disabled!) to make the voltmeter 0.1% accurate. Tektronix is the king in this kind of scam. We bought tools from them for close to USD100k in 2019, and still deal with the hangover we had after this "party". Funny that after the event, they started spamming us with ads, maybe can suck more from us, and the most active "marketeer" there was called Roland Dung. No joke.
/offtopic

Last fiddled with by LaurV on 2021-03-18 at 06:11
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