What video cards are best for cryptocurrency mining? Is it worth doing this at all? Bitcoin and Ethereum mining has made headlines again. Cryptocurrency prices and mining profitability have increased significantly compared to previous years.
All who did not start mining then reproach themselves for the lack of foresight. The best graphics cards and GPUs are good choices for mining cryptocurrencies. How good is it? We will discuss this in this article and show performance figures, prices, and other parameters.
We are not going to agitate in favor of mining and we are not offering to mortgage a house or sell a kidney to buy equipment for mining cryptocurrencies. We will only consider statistical indicators based on current market conditions. Predicting where the cryptocurrency rate will go next is more difficult than predicting the weather or politics.
Chances are, if you haven't purchased mining hardware now or two months ago, you are already late and won't get the big profit others are telling you about. As with the gold rush in the past, those who sell hardware to miners make more money than the miners themselves.
If you are looking for a new or used graphics card, the current prices may surprise you. Someone decides to purchase new cards to replace their outdated GTX 1070/1080 or RX Vega 56/64. However, it may turn out that these old cards now cost the same as when they were purchased several years ago, and sometimes even more expensive. If you have such a card, you can sell it, although it can be difficult to find a replacement.
Lots of gamers and PC enthusiasts are upset about the current state of affairs with Zen 3 graphics cards and processors. However, computers are not only needed for games. More than 10 years ago, we learned that they can earn money by mining cryptocurrencies. In particular, 2011, 2014, 2017 can be distinguished. Then the bitcoin rate grew significantly, and with it the demand and interest in cryptocurrencies grew.
2021 is on a par with these years. One can only predict that the prices for bitcoin and ether will change, and in both directions. Along with this, the cost and availability of video cards will also change. In addition, when video cards are running around the clock, there is a chance of burning out fans, power circuits and other elements. Because of this, buying video cards on the secondary market is risky.
Testing the best graphics cards for mining
So which video cards are best suited for mining? This is a rather theoretical question, since now it is difficult to find at least some kind of video card on sale. This article uses the February prices of the US eBay store.
How much will you earn from mining ether on a video card and how long will you pay for a video card at current prices? Let's find out.
Ether mining performance was adjusted using NBminer or PhoenixMiner, depending on the video card, with an eye on minimizing power consumption at the maximum hash rate. Energy consumption measured with equipment Powenetics instead of purely programmatic methods, the accuracy of which is poor.
Calculations were carried out at a price 7 rubles for 1 kW * halthough your prices are probably different. Taking into account the hash rate and the current difficulty, the electricity bill was deducted to get the daily profit. The average cost on eBay was divided by the daily profit and the payback period of the video card was calculated. The table below is sorted by payback duration, if the price and mining difficulty do not change, which cannot be the case.
|Video card||Average price on eBay as of February 2021||Mining performance, Mh / s||Power consumption, W||Daily profit||Payback period, days|
|GeForce GTX 1060 6GB||$ 271||25||90||$ 2,82||96|
|Radeon RX 590||$ 336||28,6||130||$ 3,16||106|
|Radeon RX Vega 56||$ 483||39,2||174||$ 4,34||111|
|Radeon RX Vega 64||$ 519||42,5||254||$ 4,55||114|
|Radeon RX 580 8GB||$ 363||29||135||$ 3,2||114|
|Radeon RX 5700||$ 682||51,3||133||$ 5,91||115|
|GeForce GTX 1070||$ 364||28,2||114||$ 3,15||116|
|GeForce RTX 2070||$ 597||43,8||130||$ 5,01||119|
|GeForce RTX 2060 Super||$ 597||43,7||129||$5||119|
|Radeon RX 5600 XT||$ 55||39,6||115||$ 4,53||121|
|GeForce GTX 1660||$ 359||25,3||70||$ 2,9||124|
|GeForce GTX 1660 Super||$ 436||30,2||75||$ 3,49||125|
|GeForce GTX 1080 Ti||$ 607||44||197||4,87||125|
|GeForce GTX 1080||$ 451||32,1||138||$ 3,57||126|
|Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB||$ 378||26,3||81||$3||126|
|GeForce GTX 1660 Ti||$ 442||29,7||73||$ 3,43||129|
|GeForce RTX 3060 Ti||$ 920||60,6||116||$ 7,08||130|
|GeForce RTX 3070||$ 940||61,3||123||$ 7,15||131|
|GeForce RTX 2070 Super||$ 665||43,9||128||$ 5,02||132|
|GeForce RTX 2060||$ 491||33||125||$ 3,71||132|
|Radeon RX 5700 XT||$ 802||51,8||119||$ 6,01||134|
|GeForce RTX 2080||$ 688||43,8||129||$ 5,01||137|
|RadeonRX 6800||$ 1018||64,5||166||$ 7,43||137|
|Radeon VII||$ 1312||83,6||231||$ 9,6||137|
|GeForce RTX 2080 Ti||$ 998||60,1||180||$ 6,87||145|
|GeForce RTX 3080||$ 1593||93,9||234||$ 10,84||147|
|GeForce RTX 2080 Super||$ 757||43,9||124||$ 5,03||150|
|Radeon RX 6800 XT||$ 1312||64,6||186||$ 7,4||177|
|GeForce RTX 3090||$ 2379||106,5||279||$ 12,26||194|
|Radeon RX 6900 XT||$ 1570||64,6||183||$ 7,41||212|
It is quite unexpected to see old video cards in this list, and at the top positions. It's all about their price. The GTX 1060 6GB and RX 590 have a modest hash rate and are the cheapest on this list. Their power consumption is low, which makes it possible to run up to six video cards on one computer. However, this will require additional components, which will increase the cost.
It should be borne in mind that the power consumption of all video cards is taken without calculating the efficiency of the power supply. To get the net power consumption of a video card, divide the number in the table by the power supply efficiency rating. For example, the RTX 3080 measured 234 watts; if the PSU is 90% efficient, that's 260 watts.
The calculations also do not include the main components of the computer, namely the processor, motherboard, and others. In the RTX 3080 example, the computer as a whole uses 60 watts more than shown in the table. If you have multiple graphics cards on the same computer, the difference in power consumption will be lower. If we take the worst-case scenario and add 60W to the video card, the payback period will grow by only 4-5 days.
The test results are not suitable for all video cards of a certain model. VBIOS modifications can help, which are done at your own peril and risk. Some models just work faster and better. The RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 can run in high temperatures while overclocking GDDR6X without additional tweaking.
If you make an effort, you can squeeze 3090-120 Mh / s out of the 125 model. This still leaves this card in third place in terms of payback time, while it has the fastest GPU. It is also possible to mine with fewer more efficient GPUs if you can buy them.
The best graphics cards for mining
The problem is that the presented table does not predict the cost of ether and the complexity of mining. Guessing about the price is pointless, it can fall and rise, and cryptocurrencies are more volatile than the most volatile stocks. As for the difficulty of mining cryptocurrencies, it usually grows and decreases over time only when people stop mining.
Speed is directly related to the hash rate of the network. This says how many GPUs, ASICs, and other hardware are mining that particular cryptocurrency.
Thus, the table shows the most optimistic scenarios in which you can recoup the cost of your video card. In fact, the terms are longer. In the best case, the cost of ether will double or triple, and then all its owners will earn.
They will make money virtually, because if they all immediately start selling ether and withdrawing cash, panic sales of ether will begin and its cost will collapse. This happened with this currency in 2018, and in the entire history of bitcoin there were at least three such cases.
As we said, cryptocurrencies are very volatile. However, now we are at record heights, so everyone is happy and it seems that nothing bad can happen. Until something bad happens.
Many people believe in the potential of technologies such as Ethereum, Bitcoin and blockchain. Even now, with overpriced graphics cards that are more than double the suggested retail price, the worst RTX 3090 and RX 6900 XT cards in this table theoretically pay off in less than 7 months.
Even if the cost of cryptocurrencies is dreamed of, you will have equipment that can sellunless the video card burns out due to high continuous loads. Thus, despite the payback rating of video cards, it is advisable to buy new models.
The best choice of graphics cards for mining
Let's take a look at what happened to graphics card prices over the past three months. We've filtered out fake eBay entries where possible to get more accurate price trends. In the past three months, the cost of all video cards has been growing, some more than doubling. This even applies to cheap models, as they still make a profit.
Given the quoted prices and profitability, there is a balance between payback time and potential daily profit. A list of the best graphics cards for ether mining has been compiled at the moment, although this may change depending on the course and availability in stores.
GeForce RTX 3060 Ti: The newest and cheapest of the Ampere graphics cards. It's just as fast as the RTX 3070 and is often cheaper. With the correct settings, it is the most efficient GPU for ether mining, consuming less than 120W at 60 Mh / s performance.
GeForce RTX 3060 Ti graphics card
Radeon RX 5700: Graphics cards based on the previous generation AMD Navi GPUs perform very well in the mining of cryptocurrencies and can reach speeds of 50 Mh / s with a power consumption of about 135 watts. The pure 5700 is as fast as the 5700 XT and is cheaper. The choice is obvious.
Radeon RX 5700 graphics card
GeForce RTX 2060 Super: To extract ether, you need a lot of memory bandwidth. All RTX 20 series graphics cards with 8GB memory deliver about 44 Mh / s with power consumption in the region of 130 watts. You just have to choose the cheapest one. This is usually the RTX 2060 Super model.
GeForce RTX 2060 Super graphics card
Radeon RX 580 8GB: All Polaris GPUs with 5GB GDDR8 VRAM (including RX 590, RX 580 8GB, RX 570 8GB, RX 480 8GB, and RX 470 8GB) have roughly equal performance. It depends on how well your card overclocks from memory. The RX 590 is now theoretically the cheapest of them, but there are not many of these cards on sale.
GeForce GTX 1660 Super: performance when mining cryptocurrencies at the level of RX 580 8 GB (30 Mh / s), after the settings the power consumption was only 75 watts. True, the price is higher, so the choice is not the easiest.
GeForce GTX 1660 Super graphics card
Radeon RX Vega 56: Overall performance is good, some instances of the card may perform much better than others. After making the settings, some of these cards accelerate to 45-50 Mh / s, getting to the top of the list.
Radeon RX Vega 56 video card
Radeon RX 6800: Big Navi is effective in mining cryptocurrencies and all tested cards have a performance of about 65 Mh / s and a power of about 170 watts. This model is usually several hundred dollars cheaper than others and uses less energy, which makes it the best choice. If you're not into mining, the Radeon RX 6800 is great for PC gaming.
Radeon RX 6800 graphics card
GeForce RTX 3080: It is now the second most powerful video card for PC gaming and mining. The payback time is slightly worse compared to other graphics cards, and then profitability rises. If you stop mining cryptocurrencies, these are the best cards for gaming, especially if they paid off. With a performance level of around 95 Mh / s, you can make money faster from it after it pays off.
GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card
What about ASIC mining?
Finally, we should talk about the extraction of ether on ASIC devices. Bitcoin (SHA256), Litecoin (Scrypt) and many other popular cryptocurrencies have reached the point where it no longer makes sense to mine them on computers. Manufacturers have created specialized ASICs, which translates to "application-specific integrated circuits."
GPUs were originally designed as ASICs for processing certain graphics tasks. They were good at just this task, as mining ASICs are only good for mining. The Bitcoin ASIC performs SHA256 hashing very quickly (some can achieve performance of about 25Tx / s with a power consumption of 1000W, that's trillions of hashes per second). ASIC for Litecoin quickly hashes Scrypt, there are ASICs for X11, Equihash and Ethereum
Regarding hashing, we can say that many cryptocurrencies and hashing algorithms have been created over the years, and some were created specifically to prevent mining with ASICs. This could mean creating an algorithm that needs more memory, and ether falls into this category. However, it is possible to optimize the hardware to increase the hash rate while using less power than the GPU.
Some of the most powerful Ethereum ASICs, such as the Innosilicon A10 Pro, can reach 500 Mh / s at 1000W of power consumption. It is faster than a single GPU, but not much better than the best graphics cards in terms of efficiency.
Take the RTX 3060 Ti as an example. Rounding up, these cards show a performance of 61 Mh / s with a power consumption of 125 watts. This means that with a power consumption of 1000 watts, the RTX 3060 Ti cards will deliver 8 times higher performance, namely 488 Mh / s. This is close to what an ASIC is capable of. At the same time, the price of ASICs is now very high and every more or less large miner wants to buy them. But they are sold out, as are the video cards.
Ethereum developers tried to reduce the motivation for mining, but failed. We will not go into details, but ether mining is very popular to this day. There are other cryptocurrencies that use the same hashing algorithm, although they are less popular. As a result, the largest cryptocurrencies are mined on ASICs instead of video cards, microprocessors or FPGAs. This time has not yet come for the airwaves.