RTX 3070 laptop GPU seen inside a desktop graphics card. Of course it is for cryptocurrency mining

Here is a curious case of a GPU switcheroo. There are RTX 3070 graphics cards on sale in Asia with mobile RTX 3070 chips – the kind intended for gaming laptops, not discrete graphics cards. Well, it could be someone who has plenty of laptop GPUs on hand and no laptops to put them on, but of course it actually seems like a move to get around any cryptocurrency mining restrictions and make more money.

ONE post on facebook (opens in new tab) from Vietnam, discovered by leaker I_Leak_VN (opens in new tab), describes someone’s practical impressions of the so-called RTX 3070M. They mention that “this GPU was previously only used for laptops, now they put it on cheap VGA”. There is no clear mark visible on the shroud. However, it is likely to be made by a GPU OEM partner in China as it has also been seen on the Chinese market Taobao and Aliexpress.

The RTX 3070M is going for the equivalent of $738 on Aliexpress (opens in new tab). This isn’t particularly cheap – you can buy an RTX 3070 for less at Newegg (opens in new tab) today—but there’s another draw for this card’s most likely customers: cryptocurrency mining efficiency.

A regular RTX 3070 will operate at around 45MH/s when mining ethereum, and that’s a reduced rate due to Nvidia’s cryptocurrency mining limiter Lite Hash Rate (LHR), which prevents many of its discrete graphics cards from running at 100 % efficiency when a specific mining workload is recognized.

This mobile RTX 3070M is supposedly capable of delivering around 65 MH/s, using a GPU that was never thought to be very useful to miners and therefore never came with any form of crypto mining limiter installed.

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From what I can tell, 65MH/s is the RTX 3070M’s ethereum hash rate and not a hybrid rate of multiple hashes at once. Either way, it’s supposedly bigger than an LHR RTX 3070 desktop card is capable of offering right away.

Although it must be said that Nvidia’s LHR lock was repeatedly broken (opens in new tab) or severely reduced over the past year, and many miners had already considered Nvidia’s shares to be largely redundant (opens in new tab) to avoid mining demand for gaming GPUs.

There is also an issue for the RTX 3070M: as listed on the Aliexpress product page, the RTX 3070M will not work with Windows 10, which is almost certainly due to desktop driver issues. Instead, it requires Linux. This is great for crypto miners who already use Linux for their mining rigs, but it slams the door on a regular gaming PC running Windows with one of these cards installed.

So, if you still think they are somehow intended for gaming purposes, you are sorely mistaken.

Ethereum’s profitability has dropped in recent months, however, along with a major cryptocurrency slump that has seen most of its gains this year sweep away. This caused GPU demand to falter for the first time in at least 18 months. While graphics cards are still pretty expensive, at least they’re now widely available for purchase – the RTX 3070M desktop GPU might be arriving a little late to the party.

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