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Best GPU For Mining: Graphic Card Reviews For Crypto

Cryptocurrency mining is the process of verifying and adding cryptocurrency transactions to the ledger and verifying the coins. It takes a specialized computer, or “rig” to accomplish the tasks efficiently and accurately.

For this reason, many miners turn to the power, speed and efficiency of a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) over the smaller, smarter Central Processing Unit (CPU).

This article will cover the best GPU for crypto mining and offer more details on the process and why you should shop for a specific GPU.

Image

Product Name

Core Clock

Memory Clock

Power Connector

Power Draw

Check Price

EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition...

1480 MHz

11 GB/second

PCIe x16

300 Watts

XFX AMD Radeon VII 16GB HBM2, 1750 MHz Boost,...

1750 MHz

1 TB/second

PCIe x16

400 Watts

EVGA GeForce 08G-P4-5671-KR, GTX 1070 Ti SC...

1607 MHz

9 GB/second

PCIe x8

217 Watts

MSI VGA Graphic Cards RX 580 Gaming X 8G

1393 MHz

8 GB/second

PCIe x16

230 Watts

NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition

14000MHz

12 GB/second

PCIe x16

330 Watts

MSI Gaming Radeon RX 570 256-bit 8GB GDRR5...

1268 MHz

7 GB/second

PCIe x16

275 Watts


Brief Guide on Crypto Mining

Crypto mining is the physical process of adding blocks to a blockchain. A block, here is a coin transaction ledger that is encrypted, verified and added to other blocks to make the chain.

Computers continuously run to execute the mining process—each one verifying the parts of the ledger, transactions, and destination of the cryptocurrency coins.

The most famous cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. There are others, though, that are also trying to make a name for themselves and enter the crypto market as a viable alternative to the Bitcoin. Currencies such as Litecoin, Ethereum, Zencash, and Dashcoin, just to name a few, are alternative coins, or altcoins.

Each coin needs to be verified, encrypted, split into blocks, and added to the blockchain. Since coins are not centralized, meaning they are not controlled by a government or single entity, the peer-to-peer network is responsible for verifying and controlling all transactions and storage of coins.

This verification is known as mining. The computers run on the peer networks that run the transactions and verify the blockchains are specialized computers that get paid (in crypto coins) to work in this capacity. The good news is that if you want to earn your own coins, you can build your own mining computer yourself.


Why Graphics Cards for Mining Is Important

Graphics cards quickly became the favorite processing power of mining because of their price, power, and capabilities. Versus a CPU, the GPU is considered "dumb."

This means it is only capable of doing certain tasks where a CPU is made to run the entire system making changes and decisions for the software, hardware, and user.

GPUs:

  • Are larger
  • Have more Arithmetic/Logic Units (ALUs)
  • Can process simple, repetitive tasks faster
  • Have more steam processors than CPUs
  • Are much more powerful when running ALU algorithms
  • Cost less than a CPU
  • Can be linked to run in parallel allowing more GPUs to run at once

Choosing Quality Video Cards for Mining

When building a mining rig, you will want to pay special attention to your GPU selection. The wrong card can make or break your operation.

AMD vs. Nvidia

AMD and Nvidia are the two biggest names in GPU production. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages; however, AMD generally has the edge when it comes to mining.

Nvidia cards use what they call Cuda Cores, and each core is made up of ALUs. This means the Nvidia card has to work harder to reach its limits faster than the AMD cards do. AMD uses a VLIW system that processes 32-bit ALUs on a low clock rate. This means they use fewer resources to accomplish the same tasks as the Nvidia cards.

When you break it down by the numbers, both cards use 3072 ALUs in total, but AMD is more efficient, working up to 5 times faster than the Nvidia counterpart. This doesn’t mean that Nvidia is a bad GPU for mining, quite the opposite.

It just means AMD has the advantage for solo mining. Nvidia cards have a higher cost to value ratio, making them ideal for side miners or part-time rigs.

Coin Algorithm

All coin algorithms are based on the SHA-256 encryption method. However, there are various algorithms that the GPU ALUs need to process, depending on the type of coins being mined. Besides SHA-256, you need to understand how your GPU handles Ethash, Equihash, X11, Cryptonight, and Scrypt.

Hashrate

The hash rate is the speed at which your computer processes the algorithms for mining. In almost every situation, the Giga Hash (1GH/s) is used as the determining marker, much like Gigahertz is used to measure your RAM speed.

For mining, every Gigahash means your computer is trying 1,000,000,000 hashes per second. At this speed, as an example, it would take about 10 hours to mine a single Bitcoin. Note, though, that this process is counting every mining computer in the world, not just yours.

Every 10 minutes, the collective miners of the entire world mine 1 Bitcoin. The higher your hash rate, the more mining you can accomplish, and the more you get paid.

Clock Speed & Bus Width

Each GPU (and CPU) come from the factory with a set clock speed and bus width. The clock speed is a measurement of the number of ticks per second of the clock. A bus width is the number of bits that can be sent to the processor at one time. The average clock speed is currently measured in Gigahertz (GHz).

Some GPUs and CPUs allow for overclocking. This is the process of making the CPU or GPU work faster than the factory settings. For example, a CPU with a clock speed of 3.2GHz can actually handle speeds between 2.8 and 4.0 GHz. However, it is sent out at 3.2GHz, as this is the optimal speed for performance and power balance.

Overclocking is disrupting that balance and forcing the processor to work at its 4.0GHz maximum rate. This can damage the processor, but the performance is notably increased.

Power Consumption

The GPU requires a lot of energy. In total, a single GPU at max load will require more power than the rest of the computer’s components, combined. The average power draw is about 270 watts. However, when mining, you will max out the GPU for the most performance and speed, increasing the power draw to its limits.

Each GPU has a different maximum power draw, though most top-end GPUs top out at around 450 watts.

Cooling System

As you can assume, drawing that much power, working on so many ALUs per second is going to cause a lot of heat. GPUs need to be cooled, just like CPUs. The cooler the GPU can run, the more efficient it is.

Most GPUs have fans built-in to pull the heat away from the card. The more airflow the fans can produce, the more heat is removed. Most GPUS will have two or three fans, but some still use a single fan to keep them cool.

Form Factor

Form factor is the overall size of the GPU. This simply tells you how wide, thick, or long the GPU is so you can get the right one for your case. There are several form factors of GPU, which include small, compact, low profile, single slot, or dual slot.

The form factor isn’t a make or break deal when mining is considered, though you will want to watch your spacing to allow active cooling if you use more than 1 GPU in your rig. In this instance, a low profile GPU may be better than a dual slot GPU.

Outputs

The outputs on a GPU is how it is connected to your system. VGA is still popular, though it is being phased out. DVI took over for a short while, but HDMI is now the primary output. There are others, of course, such as DisplayPort, Mini DP, or the DVI -/+ connection.

You will need to match the output of the GPU with the inputs on your rig and displays.

Price & Warranty

The final consideration factor is the price. GPUs are much cheaper than CPUs, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get expensive. If you are buying multiple GPUs, the cost can add up quickly.

While most GPUs will come with a warranty, unless the GPU is specifically designed for crypto mining, the warranty will be void as soon as it is connected to a mining rig.


6 Best Graphics Cards for Cryptocurrency Mining Reviewed

Below we show you the 6 best graphics cards for cryptocurrency mining. Each one is reviewed and compared to show its effectiveness and cost to value ratio. Find your mining GPUs here and get ready to earn some Bitcoin.

1. EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

On Sale Today
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition...
  • Real Base Clock: 1480 MHz / Real Boost...
  • The EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is the latest...
  • What you see is what you get! - No additional...
  • DX12 OSD Support with EVGA Precision XOC

Product Specification

Core Clock

1480 MHz

Memory

11 GB

Memory Clock

11 GB/second

Power Connector

PCIe x16

Power Draw

300 Watts

Outputs

1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort

One of the top picks for best mining GPU goes to the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. This model is a step up from the 1070 model and produces more ALUs with fewer resources than previous models.

It uses a PCIe x16 connector, which is ideal when using a PCI riser. You can chain 6 of these together without issue, and each one will work independently, providing you a more seamless algorithm solution. You will also find 1 HDMI output and 3 DisplayPort outputs so you can connect to your monitors with options.

The 300-watt max power draw also uses a little less energy than some of the other models while still performing at top speed. You can expect an average clock speed of 1780 MHz, but these can easily be overclocked to as high as 1582 MHz.

Combine that with about 30 MH/s rate, and you can easily cover the 1GH/s hash needed for most mining rigs when combined with 5 other GPUs. Heat may be a concern as there is only one cooling fan. However, it is streamlined to create an airflow vortex that helps reduce the heat around the card.

It does come with a warranty of 3-years, though this doesn’t cover extreme use that a mining rig causes, so don’t expect to file a warranty claim if it burns out.

Good
  • High cost to value ratio
  • 11 GB RAM for speed and efficiency
  • Multiple output options
  • draw
Bad
  • May overheat easier than others

2. XFX AMD Radeon VII

XFX AMD Radeon VII 16GB HBM2, 1750 MHz Boost,...
  • Chipset: AMD Radeon VII
  • 16GB HBM2 memory
  • Boost clock - 1750 MHz
  • Peak clock - 1801 MHz

Product Specification

Core Clock

1750 MHz

Memory

16 GB

Memory Clock

1 TB/second

Power Connector

PCIe x16

Power Draw

400 Watts

Outputs

HDMI, DisplayPort, etc.

The AMD Radeon VII is hands down the best mining graphics card for cryptocurrency mining on the market today. The reason it isn’t the top pick has a lot to do with the overall performance and the cost to value ratio. However, if you aren’t worried about the price and you want the absolute best there is, the Radeon VII is it.

With a 1 TB/s clock speed, you will run hash rates that dwarf all other GPUs in comparison. Chaining 6 of these together will allow you to take a larger portion of the mining pool and perform the complex algorithms in half the time.

It also boasts 3840 steam processors, using the VLIW methodology, making it fast, capable, and hungry for more. You will also find that the card has three cooling fans that constantly run, pulling heat away from the card to keep it cool and functional.

Overheating is basically irrelevant here, with a heat-absorbing aluminum frame and the three fan set up, the card itself barely changes temperature from 30 minutes of use to 3 days. With great product comes great speed and the Radeon VII is king.

With 16 GB of onboard RAM, the clock speed tops out over 1 terabyte per second, making it one of the fastest GPUs created to date. You can overclock the core as well, with a base of 1750 MHz to a maximum of 1801 MHz, resulting in a performance GPU capable of simultaneous functionality.

Good
  • Fastest GPU on the market
  • Reliable and durable
  • Stays cooler longer
  • Over 1GHz hash rate
Bad
  • Low cost to value ratio

3. GTX 1070 Ti

On Sale Today
EVGA GeForce 08G-P4-5671-KR, GTX 1070 Ti SC...
  • Real Base Clock: 1607+ MHz/Real Boost Clock:...
  • With the click of one button, EVGA Precision...
  • Run Longer, Play Longer with EVGA "ACX 3.0"...
  • DX12 OSD Support with EVGA Precision XOC...

Product Specification

Core Clock

1607 MHz

Memory

8 GB

Memory Clock

9 GB/second

Power Connector

PCIe x8

Power Draw

217 Watts

Outputs

1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort, 1x DVI-

Before the Radeon VII and the GTX 1080, there was the GTX 1070 Ti. This is the most widely used GPU for mining, currently. It will soon be dethroned by the Radeon VII and 1080 Ti models, but for now, and into the near future, this high cost to value GPU is still a worthy purchase.

Because it has power, speed and precision, as well as a lowered cost because of the release of newer models, the 1070 Ti is still the best Nvidia graphics card for bitcoin mining. What it lacks in hash rate (about 20M/s), it more than makes up for in other features and its ability to process ALUs with ease.

One of the best features is the automatic overclocking. One little button and the GPU overclocks itself to the best performance output based on its configuration. Of course, this will need to be monitored and double-checked for mining, but it is at least a quick method to move in the right direction.

It is easy to see why the 1070 Ti is a fan favorite, not only in mining but also in gaming. If you are looking to build a rig for gaming and want to mine cryptocurrency on the side, or part-time, the 1070 is the GPU you want to buy.

Good
  • Extreme cost to value ratio
  • More available than other models
  • Accurate ALU processing
Bad
  • Becoming outdated
  • Low hash rate

4. MSI VGA Graphic Cards RX 580

On Sale Today
MSI VGA Graphic Cards RX 580 Gaming X 8G
  • Chipset: AMD Radeon RX 580.HDR...
  • Boost/Base Clock: 1393 MHz (OC Mode), 1380...
  • Video Memory: 8GB GDDR5
  • Memory Clock: 8100 MHz (OC Mode), 8000 MHz...

Product Specification

Core Clock

1393 MHz

Memory

8 GB

Memory Clock

8 GB/second

Power Connector

PCIe x16

Power Draw

230 Watts

Outputs

2x HDMI, 2x DisplayPort, 1x DVI 

MSI has the RX 580 GPU. If you are looking for the best AMD graphics card for mining, aside from the Radeon VII of course, then you have found it. This MSI GPU could easily be the one for those looking for a graphic card for mining Ethereum.

With a solid clock speed of almost 1400 MHz and an 8GB onboard memory, paring 6 or more of these together in a dedicated rig will have you mining with the pros in no time. You can use a PCI riser to connect the GPUs together for the motherboard and start mining at base speeds without any noticeable downsides.

However, when you are ready to amp it up, you can overclock this card with a few simple tools. It is also reported, though not recommended, that the RX 580 can even be overclocked beyond the noted parameters, making it even more valuable. However, this will most certainly shorten the life of the card, so overclock with caution.

You also have your pick of outputs. Between HDMI and DisplayPort, you also get a single DVI -D output connector. The one downside to this card, though, is the relatively high power draw for its size. Compared to higher-end models, it requires more watts per hour of use than some of the models that produce more algorithm processing.

However, if you are on a budget, or are building a smaller rig for more leisurely mining experience, the RX 580 is a great option to save on your initial investment costs.

Good
  • Medium cost to value ratio
  • Ideal for part-time rigs
  • High overclock abilities
Bad
  • Higher power draw compared to output

5. NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2080 Ti

NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
  • 11GB GDDR6
  • CUDA Cores: 4352
  • Display Connectors: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB...
  • Maximum Digital Resolution: 7680x4320

Product Specification

Core Clock

14000MHz

Memory

11 GB

Memory Clock

12 GB/second

Power Connector

PCIe x16

Power Draw

330 Watts

Outputs

1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, 1x USB-c

Nvidia brings out the big guns with the RTX 2080 Ti. This monster is easily the best high-end USB graphics card for mining. With USB 3.1 capabilities and the USB-c output, you won’t need to worry about connectivity or connector speed loss.

With 14000 MHz clock speed, you can expect there to be a little heat production going on. You would be correct, too. However, with the dual fan and aluminum chassis, the cards stay cooler than most other models on the market when used in the max mode for extended periods.

If you are going to spend the money on a top end GPU for mining, though, you should also invest in extra cooling capabilities. This card is worthy of that extra cooling. Once connected, the GPU will come to life, and you can watch your mining software display to see just how fast everything is moving along.

With 11 GB of onboard RAM and the new Turing model and chip setup, the 2080 Ti will surpass any expectations you may have.

It is also a worthy contender for gaming machines and part-time rigs, with its gaming abilities far beyond other GPUs, it would seem like a waste to only use it for mining. However, due to the much higher price tag, the cost to value ratio does go down.

With the Cuda cords of the Nvidia cards, the RTX 2080 Ti loses a bit of gusto. While it does have enough power to process an entire mining rig on its own (with at least 5 others, of course), a solo mining career is achievable.

Good
  • Stays cool
  • Ultra processing power
  • USB-c output for chaining
Bad
  • High wattage usage
  • More expensive than most others

6. MSI Gaming Radeon RX 570

On Sale Today
MSI Gaming Radeon RX 570 256-bit 8GB GDRR5...
  • Brand MSI, Model RX570ARMORMK2 8GOC
  • Interface PCI Express x16, Chipset...
  • Effective Memory Clock 7000 MHz, Memory Size...
  • DisplayPort 2 x DisplayPort, DVI 1 x DL-DVI-D...

Product Specification

Core Clock

1268 MHz

Memory

8 GB

Memory Clock

7 GB/second

Power Connector

PCIe x16

Power Draw

275 Watts

Outputs

2x HDMI, 2x DisplayPort, 1x DVI

MSI is back with another budget-friendly purchase. This time, the Radeon RX 570 introduces a low clock speed with a high output potential. While it can be overclocked, and for mining it should be, you might not have to go to extremes.

This card offers a 256 bus width out of the box, and for those looking to build larger mining rigs, you may want to consider this option. Using 10 or more GPUs will obviously get quite expensive, but this is the card to do it with.

While the cards only carry an onboard RAM of 8 GB capacity, the 7GB/s when paired with at least 7 other cards will result in nearly 1TB/s hash rates. Compare that to the Radeon VII at twice the cost, and you can see the value here.

Where you do need to be careful is in using a PCI riser for that many cards, the heat alone can burn the card and any nearby as well. Make sure you have plenty of space and airflow in, though and space between the cards.

These are dual slot form factor cards, so they do take up a bit of room; however, if you invest in a mining rig open-air chassis set up that can hold up to 10 GPUs (or more), you shouldn't worry about space or heat.

Good
  • High cost to value ratio
  • Easy to overclock, if needed
  • Open air, dual fan helps cooling
Bad
  • Can overheat with multiple GPUs
  • Need more for mining than other models

About Mining Software & Wallets

After you build your rig, you are still not quite ready to mine. First, you need to install the mining software and get a wallet. A wallet is simply what it sounds like. It is a digital or physical device that stores and encrypts your cryptocurrency.

If you want to collect, store, or use cryptocurrency to make transactions, you need a wallet. Different wallets can store or process different coins.

The mining software is also coin specific. Based on the type of coins you want to mine, you need the appropriate software. The software will connect you to the right blockchains, run the proper algorithms, and perform the mining operations where they need to be used.

Some of the most common options are:

  • CGMiner - Cross platform with multiple pools.
  • BFGminer - ASIC miner written in C for use with Bitcoin.
  • NiceHash - Quick set up and GUI options.
  • MSI Afterburner - Not a mining software, but does help you overclock your GPU
  • SAPPHIRE TriXX - GPU control for Sapphire Nitro+ and PULSE GPUs
  • Claymore Dual Miner - Simple miner for AMD and Nvidia cards
  • BitMinter - One of the original mining pools for Bitcoin.

Dedicated GPU Mining Rigs Vs. Simple Miners

Should you build a gaming rig that can mine, or build a mining rig with only one purpose? That is the debate. It all depends on your costs, expectations, and needs.

A dedicated rig is ideal for those that want to start a solo mining operation. While this will give you more coins in the long run, it is more expensive to set up and operate than any other option. It is a higher reward, of course, since you don’t need to pay fees for coins you mine and everything you earn is yours.

If you are a part-time miner, or just want to earn a little bit of cryptocurrency while you sleep, a simple mining computer will suffice. With these, the primary action of the computer is to work, play games, or browse the internet. However, when you aren’t actively using the computer, you can log in to a mining operation, set up your system and let it work for you.


Setting Up a GPU Mining Rig

Building a mining rig is going to be an investment. While it is ideal to mine as part of a mining pool, you can go it alone. Just note that if you mine alone, you need a more powerful rig, and you won’t see much if any payout for several months.

Below are the basics needed for a dedicated mining rig.

  • Open Air Case.
    The case should be open and large enough to house the system, including the external GPUs.
  • RAM.
    You won’t need much RAM as the system will primarily use the GPUs for service. If you are on Windows, use at least 8GB of RAM, where Linux systems can get by with 4GB.
  • Motherboard.
    Your motherboard is important, but only when dealing with capacity. It needs to support a minimum of 6 GPUs.
  • CPU.
    Since almost everything is done using the GPUs, you can save a lot of money by skimping on your CPU. Go with the smallest that is supported by the motherboard, generally the Intel core i3.
  • Operating System.
    Purely for installing the mining software and keeping everything running, the OS is a personal call and up to you. Linux distros are generally free to download and use, but some hard drives will come with Windows preinstalled.
  • Hard Drive.
    You need a hard drive to store your OS, files, and mining data. If you are mining alone, you need at least 100GB in an SSD, though more is better. As part of a pool, you can get by for years with about 60GB.
  • Power Supply.
    Aside from the GPUs, the power supply is the most crucial aspect of your rig. You will need enough power to run the GPUs and the rest of the system at a near-constant rate. A 1200W power supply with high-end connectors is recommended when using 6 GPUs.
  • PCI Risers.
    Think of these as an extension cord. They allow you to install 6 (or more) GPUs without cramming them all in a case.
  • GPUs.
    The basis of this article. Once you select your GPU, you need to buy at least 6 of them. It is ideal to purchase a couple more as spares in case one burns out on you.

GPU Mining Rig Maintenance

Maintaining your rig is one of the most crucial aspects of owning and operating a computer. Heat and dust are your biggest enemies, and you need to establish a cleaning regimen that keeps the system in tip-top shape.

  • Dust frequently,
    Using canned air, a feather duster, or a clean, lint-free cloth, remove the dust build-up often.
  • Clean the fans.
    The GPU and CPU, as well as chassis fans, will collect dust and debris as they spin around. Once a month or so, power off the system and clean the fans with cotton swabs.
  • Cooling. 
    Open air chassis are recommended to maximize airflow, however, the GPUswill produce a lot of heat. Ensure the system has plenty of airflow in and out at all times.
  • Check connections.
    All cables, wires, connections, and plugs need to be secure and stable. Periodically you need to check all the connections and wires for loose fits, corrosion, dust build-up, or other signs of wear.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What’s the best algorithm for GPU mining?

The majority of encryption algorithms run on SHA-256. Some are starting to move to SHA-3 series, and certain coins have their own hashes. However, if you are starting out, going after Bitcoin or LiteCoin, then SHA-256 is the best algorithm to use.

How much will it cost to build a single GPU mining rig?

The overall cost will factor in where you purchase your equipment, how much you buy, and other considerations. On average, a small mining rig with 6 GPUs and minimal other parts will cost you about $3000. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include your monthly fees for things like electricity and internet.

What is the best altcoin to mine right now?

Altcoin is a term that means alternative coin, and it is a grouping of any cryptocurrency that isn’t mainstream. The term originated as alternatives to Bitcoin, but as others, like Ethereum and LiteCoin became just as popular, the term changes a bit.

Currently, one of the best altcoins for GPU mining is Litecoin. Other promising coins include Ethereum, Zcash, and Monero.

What is the best GPU with the highest hash rate?

The best Nvidia card for hash rate is arguably the GTX 1070. However, for sheer power, hash rate and performance, the best overall is the AMD Radeon VII.

What is a mining pool?

A mining pool is a group of miners working on the same blockchain. Instead of going solo, miners join a pool and put their resources together. Mining pools can produce more coins faster, but individual payouts are smaller.

Can I use an external graphics card for mining on my laptop?

An external graphics card is a contained environment that houses a GPU, a PCI connection, and a power supply. This box plugs into your laptop so you can mine. If you are mining with a laptop, using an external graphics card (eGPU) is not only acceptable but recommended.

Where is the best place to buy a GPU for mining?

When searching for mining GPUs, the best place to buy is through Amazon. Not only will you get a better selection and any sales or promotions, but you can buy in bulk. Local stores may have a limited stock or can be sold out, so buying 6 or more GPUs as once is best done through Amazon.


Conclusion

The GPU is arguably the most important part of your mining rig. The only other component that comes close to the GPU in terms of importance is the power supply. However, choosing the right GPU for you is a tough call.

While you want the fastest and the most powerful, cost also plays a roll. If you are still unsure which GPU to buy after reading this article, we recommend taking a second look at our top pick, the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. It has a high hash rate and uses less power than the AMD Radeon VII, which makes the cost to value much higher.