Defining Your Cryptocurrency Mining Goals
The first thing you need to ask yourself is “What are my mining goals?” Seriously. This is important. Is it to make the most profit? Is it to mine the most coins in the shortest period of time? Is it to just have fun? Are you on a limited budget or have unlimited funds? The answer to that question will dramatically change the rig you decide to build.
You can build a rig that costs $50,000 and will mine cryotocurrency with incredible hashrates, but that machine will likely take 3-4 years just to pay for itself and require you to upgrade the electrical panel in your house to feed it. Additionally, with this being an emerging market there is no guarantee the whole game is even the same game in a year. With that in mind, if speed is your only concern then you should only look at the highest hashrate cards below. Power consumption and cost to acquire will not be part of the equation for you.
Mining With Profit as the Most Important Factor
When looking at mining for profits, it should be approached like any other business venture. The best GPU for mining cryptocurrency will be the one that has the best combination of hashrate, price, and power consumption. This is the card that will have the highest return on investment over a certain period of time (usually 6 months). This definitely will not be the fastest card on the market. You’ll also want to consider time of ownership and resale value. Either you will run these cards until they die, or you will replace them annually with faster hardware. Again, all in your ROI equation. It’s super important to do your research and completely ignore YouTube comments, as much of them are completely wrong. You wouldn’t get stock market advice from YouTube comments would you?
Mining with Fun as the Most Important Factor
This is honestly where I think the best place to be is. Don’t get too worked up over the hashrates or the hundreds of combinations of builds. Just buy what you can afford (or in some cases even find) and have fun with it. Try under/over clocking, under/over voltage, etc and just see what you can get your hardware to do. That alone can be great fun. If you happen to make money while doing it then that’s great too! If not, no big deal!
Where did I land?
I finally made my decision to build middle ground between fun and profit. I bought some things I wouldn’t have bought if it were solely for profit. For example I purchased a rather nice open air mining case. That added about $100 to the build. I could have easily made that from scrap wood. I also bought a Noctua silent CPU cooler to reduce the noise to a level I could live with. I did feel the best GPU for mining in my case was the NVIDIA GTX 1060 because of its low power consumption, super low price, and decent hashrate. I’ll make plenty of money on it, but its also a nice machine and showpiece in my office.
The Best GPU for Mining
So let’s take the next step and break it down to the nuts and bolts and decide which is the best GPU for mining in your case.
The Best GPU for Mining: Hashrate
If you want the absolute highest hashrates you can currently get, then the NVIDIA Titan V is the master at a whopping 82 MH/s in Ethereum mining! Of course this card costs a whopping $3000 each. Six Titan V GPUs in a miner would get you a 492 MH/s rate while setting you back a cool $18,000 USD. And with a power demand of 250 watts you’ll be mining for 17 months before you break even. But then you don’t care about profit right?
The Titan V is fast and sexy, and carries a hefty price tag to go with it.
The Best GPU for Mining: Profit
When decided the best GPU for profitability, things take another turn and get interesting in a different way. As mentioned earlier we’re looking for the lowest wattage (lowest power consumption) card that is affordable to purchase and has a decently high hashrate. My current pick for this is the NVIDIA GTX 1060. Many people will disagree and say the AMD RX 580. However, of this writing I can purchase the GTX 1060 for exactly half the price of the RX 580. This is of course due to demand. The best GPU for mining is sometimes the one you can actually acquire at any given time. Demand for the RX 580 has raised the price, making its ROI much worse.
The GTX 1060 has a hashrate of between 22-27 MH/s (Ethereum) depending on overclocking, and which memory brand is installed on your card. The card consumes between 90 and 100 watts of electricity. It can currently be purchased for roughly $250 on Amazon and Newegg. This gives you a break-even time of 3.5 months. Much better than a Titan V!
Best GPU for Mining By the Numbers
Since availability changes, prices change, and you never know what will happen in this brave new world of mining I will list the best GPUs below in order for your further consideration. Take your time and really study the facts before making your purchase.
GPUs Sorted by Hashrate
As you can see the Titan XP is absolute monster in hashrate performance.
GPUs Sorted by Purchase Price
The NVIDIA GTX 1060 is the clear winner in the price wars.
GPUs Sorted By Power Consumption
Again the GTX 1060 is the clear winner in power consumption.
Final Thoughts on the Best GPU for Mining
As you can see it takes some time and some decision making, depending on what your goals are. If you’re purely profit motivated, there’s a much different choice to make. Of course, if profit is everything you might just consider purchasing Ethereum rather than mining it in the first place. At its current growth rate it might just be a better investment than the hardware. Of course it could also go bust. Any investment or business comes with a certain amount of risk. All of these GPUs and numbers are based on a modest overclocking. See my article on overclocking GPUs for mining rigs for more information.
Take your time and decide what your priorities are, but most importantly just have fun and ignore the haters!