what are the best gpu for mining? Is it worth getting into the cryptocurrency craze? Bitcoin and Ethereum mining has made headlines again, as mining prices and profitability have risen sharply compared to recent years. everyone who didn’t start mining last time is kicking themselves for their lack of foresight. Not surprisingly, the best graphics cards and chips at the top of our GPU benchmark hierarchy also end up being very good choices for mining. that’s great? that’s what we’re here to discuss, and we’ve got hard numbers on hash performance, pricing, power, and more. We regularly update this article, at least the main table showing potential earnings and prices. the latest update uses price data from the month of January 2022, combined with current ethereum prices. note: these numbers are no longer up to date, but current potential earnings have plummeted, along with cryptocurrency prices. bitcoin and ethereum have lost more than half their value since the beginning of 2022; ethereum is down over 60% since jan 1, 2022. do your own math as needed, but there is a reason we advise caution since we created this article in 2021. we are not here to encourage people to get started to mine, and we’re definitely not suggesting you should mortgage your home or take out a big loan to try and become the next big mining sensation. primarily, we are looking at data based on current market conditions. predicting where cryptocurrencies will go next is even harder than predicting the weather, politics, or the next big meme. If you don’t already have the hardware to start mining today (or actually, about eight months ago), you’re late to the party. Just like the old gold rush, the ones most likely to strike it rich are the ones selling equipment to the miners rather than the miners themselves.
if you’ve been looking for a new or used graphics card lately, current prices have probably caused at least one raised eyebrow, maybe even three! our gpu price index has additional details, but the market had a perfect storm of pandemic-induced shortages and increased demand, and mining only made the bad situation worse. we’ve heard from people who have said, in effect, “i thought with the amp and rdna2 releases, it was finally time to retire my old gtx 1070/1080 or rx vega 56/64. then i looked at the prices and realized my The old card is selling for what I paid over three years ago!” They’re not wrong. Pascal and Vega cards from three or four years ago are currently selling at a price close to the original release, sometimes more. if you have an old graphics card, you might even consider selling it yourself (although finding a replacement might be difficult). The good news for those not interested in mining is that profitability has dropped and GPU prices followed suit (to a lesser degree). Now more than ever, we strongly recommend that people do not try to get rich from crypto mining. even with reduced gpu prices, the best case scenario right now requires over a full year of 24/7 mining just to break even. Ethereum should make the switch to proof of stake sometime before July (maybe), plus there’s the environmental cost to consider. but the cryptocurrency market is nothing short of extremely volatile, and many are willing to take risks now in hopes of a big reward later.
Reading: Best gpu for mining ethereum 2017
Ultimately, we know that many gamers and pc enthusiasts are upset about the unavailability of graphics cards, but we cover all aspects of pc hardware, not just gaming. We’ve looked at GPU mining many times over the years, including in 2011, 2014, and 2017. Those are all times when the price of bitcoin skyrocketed, sparking interest and demand. 2021 is just the latest in the cryptocurrency mining cycle. the only prediction we are willing to make is a beautiful tautology: the prices of bitcoin and ethereum will change in the coming months and years, sometimes up and sometimes down. And as we’ve seen so many times before, the impact on the price and availability of graphics cards will continue to exist. You should also note that based on the personal experience some of us have with 24/7 consumer graphics cards, it’s absolutely possible to burn out your card’s fans, vrms, or other elements. proceed at your own risk.
the best mining gpus evaluated, tested and classified
With that preamble out of the way, let’s get to the main point: what are the best gpu for mining? this is something on a theoretical level as you can’t actually buy the cards at retail for the most part but we have a solution for that as well. We will use ebay prices, on sold listings, taken from our gpu price index. how much can you earn mining ethereum with a graphics card and how long will it take to recoup the cost of the card using currently inflated ebay prices? we’ll see. For this chart we have used the current difficulty combined with the average ethereum price over the last week, because nothing else comes close to ethereum for gpu mining profitability right now. We’ve tested all of these gpus on our standard test computer, which uses a core i9-9900k, an msi meg z390 ace motherboard, 2 x 16gb corsair ddr4-3600 ram, a 2tb xpg m.2 ssd, and a seasonic 850w 80 plus platinum certified power supply. We have optimized ethereum mining performance, with an eye to minimizing power consumption and maximizing hash rates. also note that we are using real world online power measurements for the gpus, collected using our powenetics hardware and software solution, so our power figures are not dependent on software data, which can range from a few few watts to more than 50w, depending on the gpu. Finally, we have used $0.10 per kWh for energy costs, which is much lower than in some areas of the world but also higher than in others. Taking the hash rate and the current difficulty, we subtract the energy cost to get the daily earnings. We then use the approximate ebay price divided by current daily earnings to calculate the time to pay off the cost of the graphics card. the table below is sorted by time to breakeven (assuming price and difficulty don’t change, which they will).
The last time we updated this list, the best case scenario to break even required as little as 160 days. with ethereum prices declining combined with mining difficulty increasing, at current rates your best bet would be a little over a year to break even, which of course will change, because cryptocurrencies are nothing but volatile. note that ethereum is still supposed to transition to proof of stake (i.e. no mining) sometime in the first half of 2022. however that transition has been pushed back a couple of years so who knows when or even if it will. ever happen? six months from now we could see substantially lower profitability, if gpu miners are forced to find alternatives to ethereum. miners are likely hoping that some other coin will take off and replace ethereum, but that’s another gamble. Older GPUs like the GTX 10 series and RX 500/5000 series continue to top our list, though the RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti (non-LHR) rank seventh and eighth overall. Also note that finding some of the older card models in sufficient quantities can be more difficult, and running multiple GPUs on a single PC requires PCIe riser cards and other extras that add to the overall cost. not surprisingly, nvidia’s lhr model cards tend to perform much worse overall. balance times currently vary from just under 400 days to 750 days, depending on the gpu. Unless the current ethereum price trend reverses, you can expect it to take even longer, especially when you factor in the other hardware you’d need. There is also a real risk of graphics cards failing two years from now when they are mining 24/7. Please note that the power figures for all GPUs are before taking into account the efficiency of the power supply. for the raw power of the graphics card, you need to divide the numbers in the table by the efficiency rating of your power supply (eg rtx 3080 measured 220w, and with a 90% efficient power supply, actually I would use 245w). We also do not include the rest of the pc, that is, the cpu, motherboard and other components. for the rtx 3080 as an example, the total power from the wall outlet for a single gpu on our test computer is about 60w more than what we have listed in the table. if you’re running multiple gpu’s on a single pc the total wasted power would be somewhat less, though it doesn’t really affect things that much. if you take the worst case and add 60w to each gpu, the time to breakeven increases to between 20 and 30 days.
It’s also fair to say that our test results are not representative of all graphics cards in a particular model. vbios mods can help (use at your own risk), and some models just work better and faster. rtx 3090 and rtx 3080 can run high gddr6x temperatures on some cards, but much lower temperatures on others. the 3090 can potentially do 120-125mh/s, for example, though it’s still almost two years away from breakeven. [That’s it for the new material. most of the rest of the item hasn’t been touched since around July 2021, though we’ve modified some of the prices and break-even time estimates.]
the problem is that the table above has no way of predicting the price of ethereum, other coins or the difficulty of mining. Guessing the price is like guessing the value of any other commodity: it can go up or down at any time, and ethereum, bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies are generally more volatile than even the most volatile stocks. on the other hand, mining difficulty tends to increase over time and only decreases when people stop mining (as with the Chinese mining crackdown), as difficulty is directly related to the network hash rate (ie how many gpus, asics etc are mining that coin). the above is kind of a best case scenario for when it would break even with the cost of a gpu. actually, that’s not true. the best case scenario (for miners) is that the price of ethereum doubles or triples or whatever, and then everyone who owns ethereum makes a lot of money. until people start charging and the price drops, causing panic sales and a plummeting price. that happened in 2018 with ethereum, and it happened at least three times during the history of bitcoin. as we said: volatile. Still, there are obviously many people who believe in the potential of ethereum, bitcoin, and blockchain technologies. Even with today’s inflated GPU prices with mining profitability falling, it’s likely that some people will still try mining. at least if the value of the coins drops, you still have hardware that is worth at least something (as long as the card doesn’t die prematurely due to heavy mining). that means that, despite overall ratings (in terms of time to break even), it’s generally best to buy newer hardware if possible.
top picks for best gpu for mining
Our table above includes estimates of “current” ebay prices and associated profitability. even when profitability falls, gpu prices tend to take longer to come down. There is also a balance between time to breakeven and potential daily earnings, but at this point we strongly discourage anyone from investing more money in gpu mining. okay, sure, you can try to get ahead of the next wave, as long as that happens (if that happens). For those still interested, we’ve considered the options and put together this list of the best mining gpu for ethereum right now – things can change quickly based on price and availability, not to mention the valuation of ethereum and bitcoin. /p >
geforce rtx 3060 ti: after tuning, this is one of the most efficient gpu for ethereum at the moment, it uses less than 120w and breaks 60mh/s. however, make sure you get one of the non-lhr models, or the profitability of mining ethereum is much lower. The geforce rtx 3060 is also worth a look, provided you can find one of the older models where the left lock was accidentally broken (with older drivers) at a good price.
radeon rx 5600 xt: amd’s previous generation navi gpus is very good for mining, and the 5600 xt can hit around 40mh/s while using around 115w of power. the 8gb rx 5500 xt might also be worth considering, depending on price. mining performance is lower, but efficiency and breakeven time are basically the same as the 5600 xt.
geforce rtx 2060 super: ethereum mining needs a lot of memory bandwidth, and all rtx 20 series gpus with 8gb end up around 44mh/s and 130w power , which means you should buy whatever is cheapest. that’s usually the rtx 2060 super, or maybe the older rtx 2070.
radeon rx 570 8gb: all polaris gpus with 8gb gddr5 memory (including rx 590, rx 580 8gb, rx 570 8gb, rx 480 8gb and rx 470 8gb ) end up with relatively similar performance, depending on how well your card’s memory is overclocked. the rx 570 is currently the cheapest (theoretically) but not as readily available as other gpus so look into any of the other polaris 10/20 gpus. just don’t get the 4gb models!
geforce gtx 1060 6gb: mining performance is lower than the rx 570 8gb, but power is well below 100w in our tests after tuning. Of course, these cards could be five years old at this point, and buying a used graphics card presents some obvious risks!
See also: Tether enters Latin America by launching the MXNT stablecoin, pegged to the Mexican peso, initially available on the Ethereum, Tron, and Polygon blockchains (Yogita Khatri/The Block) – Global Unshared News
radeon rx vega 56/64: overall performance is good and some cards may perform much better – our reference models used for testing are more of a worst case option for most the gpu. after tuning some vega cards can even reach 45-50mh/s which would put them higher on the chart. however, try to find a card for less than $500.
radeon rx 6800: big navi is powerful when it comes to hashing, with all cards we’ve tested achieving similar hash rates of around 65mh/s and 170w power consumption. the rx 6800 is generally cheaper than the others and uses slightly less power, making it the clear winner. Also, when you’re not mining, it’s a very capable gaming gpu.
geforce rtx 3090: this is the fastest graphics card right now, for mining and gaming purposes, and is the only amp gpu from nvidia that won’t be replaced by an lhr equivalent . the timing to break even is bad enough, but if you hit the black end, you’ll end up with the highest return from then on. but with less than $4 profit per day, it’s hard to bear to buy a $2600 gpu for mining.
what about asics ethereum?
A final topic worth discussing is asic mining. bitcoin (sha256), litecoin (scrypt), and many other popular cryptocurrencies have reached the point where companies have spent time and effort creating dedicated asics: application-specific integrated circuits. Just like GPUs were originally designed for graphics workloads, Asics designed for mining are generally only good at one specific thing. bitcoin asics does sha256 hashes very, very fast (some can do around 25th/s while using 1000w, that’s trillions of hashes per second), litecoin asics does scrypt hashes fast, and there’s x11, equihash, and even ethereum asics. Over the years many cryptocurrencies and hashing algorithms have been created, some specifically designed to thwart asic mining. usually that means creating an algorithm that requires more memory, and ethereum falls into that category. still, it is possible to optimize hardware to hash faster using less power than a gpu. Some of the fastest ethereum asics (eg innosilicon a10 pro) can reach around 500mh/s while using only 1000w. that’s a lot faster than a single gpu, but not much more efficient than the best gpu. take the rtx 3060 ti as an example. let’s round up a bit to say each does 61mh/s at 125w. that means 1000w of the 3060 ti cards would do 488mh/s which is pretty close to what the best ethereum asics achieve. The cost of such asics is prohibitively expensive, and even worse, ethereum 2.0 will soon put an end to proof-of-work mining. there are other non-ethereum coins that use the same hash algorithm, but none are as popular/profitable as eth. Bottom line: we wouldn’t invest in an ethereum asic these days.
more: best graphics cards
more: benchmarks and gpu hierarchy
more: all graphic content
See also: What is an Ethereum node?