Do you need graphics cards for mining cryptocurrencies?
If yes, this article serves as a guide for you to choose the graphics card that can serve your needs. The guide contains a brief introduction to cryptocurrency mining. This is followed by a discussion of the criteria for choosing graphics cards for mining.
The Basic Idea of Cryptocurrency Mining
Before examining the factors for selecting mining graphics cards, let’s first discuss what cryptocurrency mining is all about.
Cryptocurrency mining involves the verification of transactions on a crypto-based network. To achieve this in such a way that is secure and reliable enough to support value exchange, the computers must correctly guess a “string of characters” called a hash.
As it’s called, this consensus algorithm or protocol is an important feature of a cryptocurrency network. It serves as the operating mechanism for determining valid transactions. It also protects the network from malicious attacks by mischievous people trying to create more cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrency mining could be done with different kinds of computers. The most common one is the CPU – Central Processing Unit. They were the go-to machines for crypto mining when the competition wasn’t so keen as it’s now.
However, application-specific integrated circuits or ASICs and Graphics Processing Units (GPU) are now preferred by reputable platforms like bitcoin-code.io to CPUs for mining cryptocurrencies. The main reason being that these tools are more efficient than CPUs per unit time in guessing the string of characters. The number of correct guesses a device makes per unit of time is its hash rate. Therefore, the best GPUs for mining are those with high hash rates!
GPUs have become important tools for doing intense rendering work as seen in video production and playing the latest video games.
Actually, there has been a shortage of GPUs since the explosion of cryptocurrencies in 2017. Thousands of people buy them yearly to mine digital currencies, and the shares of GPU companies like AMD and NVIDIA have skyrocketed too.
Nevertheless, you need to tread carefully when buying a GPU since there are different models to choose from.
What to Consider Before Buying a GPU
When buying a GPU, one thing to keep in mind is that each model has its own hash rate, which may be higher or lower than that of others. Even if they have the same computing power or performance rate, the productivity of each GPU varies according to the cryptocurrency being mined.
Here are some things to put into consideration before choosing a particular GPU model:
1. Hash Rate – The hash rate of a GPU is expressed in terms of its amount of hashes per unit second. This is the graphics card’s mining power generated to write or validate blocks on a blockchain network.
2. Price – Price is also an important factor to consider before making a buying decision. At the least, you can estimate the value of a GPU by doing a price comparison of different models based on their key features.
3. Electricity – Electricity is another major criterion to put into consideration in order to maximize the profitability of a graphics card. Indeed, many GPUs aren’t optimized for crypto mining, and they often consume too much electric power compared to their hash rate.
It must be noted that in choosing a graphics card, the main goal should be mining as many cryptocurrencies as possible with minimum electricity consumption. As a matter of fact, many miners have gone bankrupt for not taking into account the cost of electricity in mining.
4. Random Access Memory (RAM) – Another factor to remember when buying a GPU is the value of RAM memory on each model. In fact, to mine some cryptocurrencies such as Cardano and Ethereum, for example, you’ll need not less than 3 GB of RAM memory. Other cryptos like Monero and Zcash can be mined with GPUs of lesser memory value.
Speaking about GPUs, NVidia cards remain smart choices because of their relatively low power consumption. On another hand, AMD cards are generally cheaper and also more efficient, but consume more electric power.
The ability to put these factors into careful consideration may make or mar your mining operation in the long run.
Which GPU Should I Purchase?
The crypto market is already flooded with more than 1,250 different cryptocurrencies. Needless to say that these digital currencies come with different consensus algorithms.
However, the most popular algorithms are SHA-256, DaggerHashimoto, Cryptonight, Equihash, etc. For instance, Bitcoin utilizes the SHA-256 protocol and it’s very difficult to mine, especially with the introduction of ASICs. But mining with other algorithms is relatively easier and more profitable with suitable equipment.
That said, those algorithms are more ideal for certain blockchain architectures and GPUs. Let’s examine one or two cases here.
Mining Bitcoin with GPU
There’s no gainsaying that Bitcoin remains the most valuable digital currency in the world. For example, a Bitcoin is currently worth about $58,177.50, while the next most valuable crypto Ethereum is valued at $1,774.73. As a result, Bitcoin has continued to generate considerable mining interest.
Nevertheless, the best graphics cards aren’t good enough for mining Bitcoin. This is because the cryptocurrency depends on the SHA-256 protocol which consumes much electric power.
Moreover, the difficulty faced in mining Bitcoin often increases as there are more miners competing for the same rewards. Thus, its acceptability has led to more challenges, which leaves ASIC mining as the most viable option to mine new Bitcoins.
But this option is very expensive and may not be cost-effective due to rapid hardware deterioration. With this in mind, the best way to mine Bitcoins is to first mine alternative cryptos like Ethereum, and then exchange those currencies for Bitcoin.
Best GPU for Mining Ethereum – Ethash
DaggerHashimoto is a type of ‘proof-of-work consensus algorithm used in some cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, DubaiCoin, Ethereum Classic, Expanse, SoilCoin, etc.
The best GPU for mining crypto based on this protocol is the Radeon RX series cards from AMD. In this regard, RX 560 or RX 570 can do the job perfectly.
These low-cost GPUs are very popular among miners because they allow newcomers to enter the business without paying a fortune.
Best GPU for Mining Zcash – Equihash
NVIDIA cards are the best for mining Equihash-based cryptocurrencies like Zcash, Komodo, Zencash, and Zcash Classic.
Further, Bitcoin Gold (Bitcoin’s hard fork) uses the Equihash algorithm to block ASICs and perform mining using NVIDIA. It must also be mentioned that opportunities still exist in Equihash mining since Equihash-based cryptos have a policy against any form of ASIC mining.
From the foregoing, it’s clear that each GPU has its own advantages and will only do well in certain environments. Therefore, everything boils down to the crypto you choose to mine.
You can use affordable, low-end GPUs to mine Ethereum or any DaggerHashimoto-based crypto. But you’ll need something more powerful if you want to mine Zcash.
Overall, choose a GPU that suits your needs, after you must have given everything careful consideration.