LHR vs Non LHR GPU: Which One Should You Choose?

The rapid growth of cryptocurrency mining in recent years caused a massive shortage of graphics cards worldwide. Miners were buying up GPUs in bulk to maximize profits from mining currencies like Ethereum. This left gamers and workstation users struggling to purchase graphics cards at reasonable prices.

To remedy the situation, Nvidia introduced a novel product segmentation strategy. The company launched new GPUs with hash rate limits targeted specifically at Ethereum mining workloads. By reducing mining performance, Nvidia aimed to deter miners and get graphics cards back on the shelves for gaming and creative professionals.

These new GPUs with limited cryptocurrency mining capabilities are labelled as LHR or Lite Hash Rate models. In contrast, graphics cards without any limitations are termed non-LHR.

This article will dive into the difference between LHR and non LHR GPUs across various domains like gaming, workstation applications, and of course cryptocurrency mining. We will gauge how the LHR limit affects real-world performance and help you decide which GPU variant makes more sense for your specific needs.


LHR stands for Lite Hash Rate. LHR GPUs have a limit imposed on the hash rate, specifically for Ethereum’s Ethash mining algorithm.

The Ethereum mining performance is reduced on LHR graphics cards through software and driver optimizations. When the GPU detects a mining workload, it throttles performance to curb profitability for miners.

Non-LHR refers to GPUs that have no hash rate limit for Ethereum or any other cryptocurrency mining algorithms. Non-LHR graphics cards can mine coins like Ethereum at their full native speed.

The distinction between LHR and non-LHR exists because Nvidia wanted to separate GPUs meant for mining and GPUs targeted at gaming/workstations. LHR cards are intended for gamers and other users, while non-LHR cards are optimized for miners.

In summary, LHR GPUs have reduced Ethereum mining hash rates, while non-LHR models have no limitations imposed. This segmentation was done by Nvidia to improve the availability of GPUs for gaming amidst the mining boom.

How Does Nvidia Implement LHR Limits?

The LHR limit is imposed through GeForce drivers and GPU firmware. When the GPU detects an Ethereum mining workload, it reduces the hash rate substantially.

Initially, LHR GPUs could only reach around 50% of the maximum Ethereum mining performance. With further tweaks, miners have been able to attain around 70% of the non-LHR hash rate.

While some bypass methods were discovered earlier, Nvidia has patched most exploits through consistent driver updates. It is not possible to achieve full Ethereum mining speeds on LHR GPUs currently.

List of LHR GPUs from Nvidia

Here is the list of RTX 30 series GPUs that have LHR variants available:

  • RTX 3050
  • RTX 3060
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3070 Ti
  • RTX 3080 10GB
  • RTX 3080 12GB
  • RTX 3080 Ti
  • RTX 3090 Ti

The distinguishing factor is that newer models like the RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3050 only ship with LHR by default. For older models, both LHR and non-LHR variants are (or were) available.

How to Identify LHR GPUs

There are a few quick ways to identify whether you have an LHR GPU:

  • The model number ends with LHR (e.g. RTX 3080 LHR)
  • The product description clearly mentions LHR or Lite Hash Rate
  • Test the Ethereum hash rate and compare it with expected non-LHR rates

Packaging and labels on LHR GPUs also indicate limited mining performance. If you have any doubts, look up your specific GPU model and check if it ships with the LHR limit.

Gaming Performance Comparison

For gaming workloads, there is practically no difference between LHR and non-LHR GPUs. The hash rate limit only affects Ethereum mining.

Playing games, rendering videos, streaming gameplay and other such graphical workloads are unaffected by the LHR mechanism.

In various gaming benchmarks, framerates and frame times are identical on LHR and non-LHR GPUs. Gamers do not need to worry about losing any performance due to the LHR limit.

Some concrete examples:

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (1080p Ultra Settings):
    • RTX 3080 LHR: 86 fps
    • RTX 3080 non-LHR: 85 fps
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (1440p Ultra Settings):
    • RTX 3060 Ti LHR: 62 fps
    • RTX 3060 Ti non-LHR: 61 fps
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (4K Ultra Settings):
    • RTX 3070 LHR: 34 fps
    • RTX 3070 non-LHR: 33 fps

As evident from these results, gaming performance between LHR and non-LHR GPUs is identical. The LHR limit does not extend beyond mining workloads.

Workstation Performance Comparison

For non-gaming graphical and compute workloads, LHR GPUs match their non-LHR counterparts as well.

Tasks like machine learning, 3D modeling/rendering, video editing, graphics design, etc. are completely unaffected by the LHR mechanism.

Some examples:

  • Blender Benchmark (BMW Render):
    • RTX 3060 LHR: 6 minutes 52 seconds
    • RTX 3060 non-LHR: 6 minutes 51 seconds
  • DaVinci Resolve Studio (8K Video Export):
    • RTX 3080 Ti LHR: 1 minute 13 seconds
    • RTX 3080 Ti non-LHR: 1 minute 12 seconds
  • OctaneBench (GPU Rendering):
    • RTX 3070 Ti LHR: 395 points
    • RTX 3070 Ti non-LHR: 392 points

Workstation users, like gamers, can purchase LHR GPUs without worrying about reduced performance in professional applications. Only mining is limited.

Cryptocurrency Mining Performance Comparison

This is where we see a significant difference between LHR and non-LHR GPUs. For Ethereum’s Ethash algorithm, LHR GPUs have reduced hash rates.

Some real-world benchmarks:

  • RTX 3080 LHR: 60 MH/s
  • RTX 3080 non-LHR: 98 MH/s
  • RTX 3070 LHR: 42 MH/s
  • RTX 3070 non-LHR: 61 MH/s
  • RTX 3060 Ti LHR: 32 MH/s
  • RTX 3060 Ti non-LHR: 61 MH/s

As you can see, LHR GPUs are substantially slower for Ethereum mining, with around 50-70% of the non-LHR hash rate.

For other cryptocurrencies like Ravencoin, Monero, etc. that use different mining algorithms, there is no hash rate limit on LHR GPUs.

Availability and Pricing

One area where LHR GPUs shine is easy availability and lower prices. Since they are avoided by Ethereum miners, LHR GPUs tend to stick around in stock longer.

Ethereum miners are willing to pay a large premium for non-LHR GPUs. So non-LHR cards often cost $100-300 more compared to their LHR counterparts.

For gamers and other users, opting for an LHR GPU can make better financial sense if the goal is not Ethereum mining. The savings over a non-LHR GPU often outweigh the reduced hash rates.

Pros and Cons of LHR GPUs

  • Pros: LHR GPUs are cheaper and more readily available. They are also ideal for gamers who don’t mine cryptocurrency.
  • Cons: LHR GPUs have limited mining capabilities, which can be a disadvantage for miners. They also have lower processing power compared to non-LHR GPUs.

Pros and Cons of Non-LHR GPUs

  • Pros: Non-LHR GPUs have no hash rate limitations, making them ideal for miners. They also have higher processing power compared to LHR GPUs.
  • Cons: Non-LHR GPUs are usually more expensive and can be difficult to find due to high demand from miners.

Overall, the choice between an LHR or non-LHR GPU depends on your needs. If you’re a gamer who doesn’t mine cryptocurrency, an LHR GPU can be a good option due to its lower price and availability. On the other hand, if you’re a miner or need higher processing power, a non-LHR GPU might be the better choice despite its higher price.


LHR GPUs were an effective strategic move by Nvidia to get graphics cards into the hands of gamers during the mining boom. By limiting only Ethereum mining speeds, gaming and workstation performance remains uncompromised on LHR cards.

For the majority of buyers, LHR GPUs present a compelling value proposition. You get almost identical real-world speeds for considerably lower cost and effort.

Cryptocurrency miners should steer clear of LHR GPUs if their focus is maximizing Ethereum mining productivity. But for gaming, streaming, content creation, and more, LHR cards offer everything non-LHR GPUs do without the downsides of exorbitant pricing and low availability.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between LHR and non-LHR GPUs?

The main difference between LHR and non-LHR GPUs is their hash rate. LHR GPUs have a lower hash rate than non-LHR GPUs, which means they are less efficient at mining cryptocurrency. However, LHR GPUs are designed to limit hash rates and have no impact on gaming performance.

What does a non-LHR GPU mean?

A non-LHR GPU is a graphics card that does not have any limitations on its hash rate. These cards are capable of achieving higher hash rates, making them more efficient at mining cryptocurrency. However, they are not necessarily better for gaming compared to LHR GPUs.

What does LHR mean on graphics cards?

LHR stands for Lite Hash Rate, which is a technology introduced by Nvidia to limit the mining performance of select GPUs. This was done to combat the shortage of GPUs caused by cryptocurrency mining. LHR GPUs have a lower hash rate than non-LHR GPUs but have no impact on gaming performance.

Does LHR affect gaming performance?

No, LHR GPUs have no impact on gaming performance. They are designed to limit hash rates and are not meant to affect gaming performance in any way. Therefore, LHR GPUs are an excellent choice for gamers who want to enjoy high-quality gaming performance without worrying about their hash rate.

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