In a nutshell: A recent BIOS update for EVGA's graphics cards increased the RTX 3080 Ti's mining performance by up to 21 percent. Non-EVGA 3080 Tis can flash this BIOS, though not without serious risk. The situation could worsen an already struggling GPU market for those just interested in playing games.
During the summer, users discovered that EVGA's factory VBIOS contained a hidden power limit that downclocked GPUs during high-memory usage (a mining trait). An EVGA firmware update removes the limit, improving mining and rendering performance. It may also positively affect gaming performance, but there has been no solid confirmation on that front.
Bravo_char1 on Reddit last month observed that removing the limit took EVGA's 3080 Ti XC3 from roughly 66 million hashes per second (MH/s) to around 80. Users wanting the update should get it through EVGA Precision X, then deactivate the features "Fast Boot" and "CSM Support" in the motherboard's BIOS.
One can also flash that updated BIOS to cards from other manufacturers. YouTuber Red Panda Mining used it to get 90MH/s out of an Inno3D 3080 Ti. However, Reddit user HelloAtilla warns that flashing it on non-EVGA GPUs can brick them.
This new BIOS could make 3080 Tis even more desirable for miners in a time when most GPUs are selling for at least double their MSRP. News aggregator 3DCenter's latest price tracker for December 2021 this week shows German retail graphics card prices holding at around 200 percent above MSRP since October, without factoring in the 3080 Ti. TechSpot's checkup from last month shows the 3080 Ti's eBay price inflated by 60 percent -- significantly less than the over 100 percent inflation seen with all the other Amperes and most of the Radeon 6000 line.
Image credit: 3DCenter