Mining on a video card: a complete overview of mining cryptocurrency on video cards, choice, profitability, calculators, instructions and recommendations

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The volatility of the crypto market also entails volatility of trends. When altcoin prices go up, mining on video cards becomes relevant again. But before you buy equipment, you need to study many nuances – not every, even a very powerful, video card can bring the expected profit. In addition, there is usually a need to use several cards at once, for example, four or six. And this implies serious costs.

The Btcnewsweb.com editors figured out the features of GPU mining – which video cards can bring profit in the future and how to organize the process: from preliminary calculations to choosing software.

Mining on video cards

Features of mining on video cards

When the cryptocurrency first appeared in 2009, it was really possible to mine it on an ordinary home computer. But over the years, the process has become so complicated that powerful equipment is no longer necessary. Due to their efficiency and flexibility, video cards have been popular in the mining industry for many years. Key points:

  • Compared to a central processing unit (CPU), a GPU is much faster and more efficient, since its primary purpose is to be responsible for rendering an image on the screen. This makes it useful in the blockchain industry.
  • Also, GPUs are equipped with a large number of arithmetic-logic blocks designed to perform mathematical calculations. Namely, this is what is needed in cryptocurrency mining in order to find the desired value to create a new block. Video cards are ideal for performing millions of repetitive actions, while a conventional processor is more focused on multitasking.
Features of mining on video cards

Criteria for choosing video cards

Factors to pay attention to when choosing hardware for mining on video cards:

✅ The amount of memory is at least 4 GB. The more memory, the higher the mining performance.

✅ A high-quality cooling system that will not allow the equipment to overheat even at high loads.

✅ The type of memory HBM5 or GDDR5 – the main thing is that there is a good balance between speed and electricity consumption.

✅ Opportunities for overclocking. Many video cards can be overclocked by 30-40% by slightly adjusting the settings.

✅ Tire width. A bus is a channel that connects the GPU and memory. Its width is an indicator of how much information the bus can process per unit of time. It is recommended to choose cards with a 256-bit parameter.

✅ Potential. When choosing a device, you need to consider how long it will be relevant for mining on video cards using promising algorithms.

✅ Difficulty in setting up and using. Some video cards show efficiency only as a part of farms of 4-6 pieces. Some require complex BIOS settings before starting work.

✅ Payback. Before you start making a net profit from mining, you will need to fully recoup the equipment costs. So this criterion is one of the most important.

New models of video cards regularly appear on sale. They need to be tracked, but this does not mean that you need to buy all the new models – purchases are made only based on performance and ROI calculations. Older video cards are often more efficient than newer ones, because it’s not just about performance, but also about power consumption.

Criteria for choosing video cards

The best GPU mining hardware in 2020

Nvidia and AMD – the products of these companies are most in demand in the crypto industry. Consider the best models that are showing positive results at the moment:

✅ NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070. There have been a lot of expectations for this graphics card, and for the most part they came true. On some algorithms, it shows the result better than top models. Specifications: memory 8 GB, power consumption 185 W, memory type GDDR6, core frequency 1410 MHz.

✅ NVIDIA GeForce RTX In 2018, NVIDIA released a new line of graphics cards to which RT cores (special processors for ray tracing) were added. As a result, performance is increased by 20-25% in comparison with its predecessors. Specifications: 8 GB memory, power consumption 215 W, memory type GDDR6, core frequency 1515 MHz.

✅ AMD Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT. Representatives of the lineup based on 7nm FinFET semiconductor technology. Due to the reduced size of the electronic components, energy consumption is reduced. Specifications RX 5700: 8 GB memory, 180 W power consumption, GDDR6 memory type, 1625 MHz core frequency. Specifications RX 5700 XT: 8 GB memory, 225 W power consumption, GDDR6 memory type, 1755 MHz core frequency.

✅ NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. A powerful graphics card with a good cooling system. However, due to the high power, overheating can still occur, there is a rig from six such cards. That is, an additional fan is required. Specifications: memory 11 GB, power consumption 250 W, memory type GDDR6, core frequency 1635 MHz.

✅ AMD Radeon RX Vega 64. The card was released as a gaming card, but miners quickly appreciated it. It has a fairly good cooling system. According to the experience of miners, Vega shows the best profitability on the Ethash and CryptoNightV7 algorithms, so Monero and Ether are most often mined with its help. Specifications: 8 GB memory, power consumption 295 W, HBM2 memory type, 1247 MHz core frequency.

✅ Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti. The video card performs well in Ethereum and Zcash mining, but only after correct configuration. In particular, if the power limit is not reduced, then the heat dissipation will be too strong. Specifications: memory 11 GB, power consumption 250 W, memory type GDDR5X, core frequency 1480 MHz.

✅ AMD Radeon RX580. Immediately after their release, these cards were sold out in stores so quickly that their prices jumped by 40%. Only then was the demand settled. The card is already overclocked to the maximum out of the box, and if you overclock it yourself a little more, you can count on good performance. Specifications: 8 GB memory, 225 W power consumption, GDDR5 memory type, 1340 MHz core frequency.

✅ AMD Radeon VII. Based on the architecture of the second generation RX Vega, it achieves higher frequencies with modest power consumption. Specifications: 16 GB memory, power consumption 295 W, HBM2 memory type, 1400 MHz core frequency.

✅ Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070. Its popularity in GPU mining is due to its low power consumption combined with good performance and overclocking capabilities. Specifications: memory 8 GB, power consumption 150 W, memory type GDDR5, core frequency 1683 MHz.

Comparative hashrate table of the listed models on the most popular algorithms:

Video cardAlgorithmHashrate
NVIDIA GTX 1070Decred2830 MH/s
CryptoNight650 H/s
Lbry300 MH/s
NeoScrypt1010 kH/s
Lyra2REv239.57 MH/s
Ethash28.69 MH/s
AMD Radeon VIIEthash100 MH/s
Decred2.35 GH/s
Lbry0.28 GH/s
Equihash576 Sol/s
Blake2s2.31 GH/s
X16R25 MH/s
CryptoNightR3.14 kH/s
AMD RX 580 8GBEthash26.7 MH/s
Decred1400 MH/s
CryptoNight650 H/s
Lbry170 MH/s
Equihash0.31 kSol/s
X11Gost8500 kH/s
NVIDIA GTX 1080 TiNeoScrypt1400 kH/s
Lyra2REv260 MH/s
Ethash35 MH/s
Decred4600 MH/s
CryptoNight760 H/s
Lbry470 MH/s
Equihash0.63 kSol/s
Blake2s6980 MH/s
AMD RX Vega 64Ethash39.69 MH/s
CryptoNight1300 H/s
NVIDIA RTX 2080 TiNeoScrypt1.68 MH/s
Lyra2REv2121.11 MH/s
Ethash52.3 MH/s
Decred6.63 GH/s
Equihash900.51 Sol/s
Blake2s10.13 GH/s
X16R43 MH/s
ZHash98 Sol/s
CryptoNightR1 kH/s
AMD RX 5700 XT 8GBEthash54 MH/s
Lyra2REv367 MH/s
AMD RX 5700 8GBEthash53.23 MH/s
NVIDIA RTX 2080NeoScrypt1.36 MH/s
Ethash46.49 MH/s
Lyra2Z5.3 MH/s
X16R34 MH/s
ZHash79 Sol/s
Lyra2REv354.4 MH/s
CryptoNightR0.72 kH/s
NVIDIA RTX 2070NeoScrypt1.2 MH/s
Ethash36.92 MH/s
Blake2s4.5 GH/s
X16R25.5 MH/s
ZHash63.11 Salt / s
Lyra2REv360.3 MH/s
CryptoNightR0.7 kH/s

How to start mining on a video card and what you need for this?

Let’s go through the main stages that include preparation for mining:

Preliminary calculations in the calculator

This is where it all starts. Calculations help to understand whether it makes sense at all to mine cryptocurrency in the current situation (your financial capabilities, the state of the crypto market). For calculations, you can use special mining calculators. Examples of such calculators:

WhatToMine is considered the most popular mining calculator that allows you to calculate the profit when using both video cards and ASIC miners. The platform takes into account different algorithms and determines the hash rate for each of them, you can also specify the cost of electricity, select the exchanges on which you are going to trade, set the complexity. Therefore, the calculation results are as accurate as possible.

Coinwarz. A calculator with a simple interface and a minimum number of functions – you only need to choose an algorithm, enter the hash rate of your equipment, power consumption and electricity cost. At the exit, the site will provide information on the complexity and profitability of the most profitable coins.

calculator for calculating the profitability of mining Coinwarz

Cryptocompare. The downside of this calculator is that it offers few coins for analysis – at the moment, you can calculate the profitability of only seven cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Monero, Zcash, Dash, Litecoin). But it allows you to specify the pool commission and receive information about the profit in both monetary and percentage terms. Information is updated in real time.

mining calculator Cryptocompare

So, in order to calculate the profitability of mining, you need to know several parameters – the hashrate of the equipment that you plan to purchase, the algorithms of the cryptocurrencies of interest, the cost of electricity, the preferred exchange for trading.

Calculation example

Let’s use the WhatToMine calculator to calculate profitability with the following parameters:

  • algorithm – Ethash
  • AMD Radeon VII graphics cards (most profitable according to WhatToMine April 2020)
  • number – 4
  • electricity cost – $ 0.05 per kilowatt
profitability of mining on the AMD Radeon VII video card

After specifying all the described parameters, click on the Calculate button. After that, a list of cryptocurrencies that are most profitable to mine on a video card right now will be displayed on the page below. The penultimate column shows income per day and (in bold) net income per day. The current rate and difficulty of the coin are taken as a basis. The last column displays the current profitability and the estimated profitability for the day / 3 days / 7 days.

Thus, using the calculator, you can identify the coins that are most effective for mining on video cards today. The results will vary depending on the price of electricity in your area, exchange rates, and available capacity.

profitability of mining on a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti video card

For example, let’s take a calculation with 1 GeForce RTX 2080 Ti video card, the average price of electricity in Russia ($ 0.05) and all available algorithms. Under such conditions, the most profitable was the ZCoin cryptocurrency based on the MTP algorithm.

Calculators are a must-have tool for any future and current miner. Do not underestimate their importance and rely only on your intuition.

Mining rig assembly

At first glance, assembling a rig for mining on video cards is difficult, but in fact, the main thing is to choose and purchase all the necessary equipment. And there are no special difficulties in combining it into one whole.

Make sure you have a reliable power supply and have an Ethernet configured beforehand.

We have already examined the choice of video cards in detail in the previous sections. What else do you need to buy to run a mining farm:

Motherboard

All other components are connected to it. Therefore, it must be compatible with all the devices you choose to mine. Based on the motherboard, the type of processor, the number of video cards, and memory limits are determined. A good motherboard should be capable of connecting at least six GPUs.

The popular variant is the MSI Z170A.

Power Supply

The required wattage of the power supply depends on the equipment that will be used. Most of the electricity will be taken by video cards, so you need to take the power of one card, multiply by their number in the farm and add the recommended power – approximately 500 watts. The resulting number is the minimum recommended power supply. Treat the calculations carefully so that overloads do not occur during operation.

Cooling

The unit should be located in a well-ventilated cool place as it tends to overheat. And video cards need an optimal temperature for normal operation. Therefore, in addition to the directional fans installed on video cards, it is required to cool the room as much as possible, for example, using an air conditioner.

Frame

A solid frame is needed to hold all the components together. A computer case is also suitable for small farms. Many people make wooden or metal shelving with their own hands. Ready-made options are also on sale, but you need to find one that will fit the parameters of your installation.

Processor, hard drive, RAM, etc.

A powerful processor is not required, so you can save on it. All computing operations during mining will be carried out on video cards.

A 60GB SSD is suitable as a hard drive to keep the operating system stable and smooth. Those planning to mine without a pool will need additional disk space to download the entire blockchain. But it is recommended to mine in a pool, it is much more efficient.

RAM for mining is not important, 8 GB is enough if you are using Windows, and 4 GB if you are Linux.

If you plan to connect more video cards than the motherboard allows, then also purchase several adapters (risers).

rig for video cards

Assembly order

Includes several steps:

📂   Insert the processor into the motherboard, apply thermal paste. Install coolers.

📂   Place the motherboard in the frame and secure with the screws. Make sure that it does not touch conductive metal surfaces.

📂   Attach the drive and RAM to the SSD board.

📂   Connect the power supply using the connector next to the processor.

📂   Connect the SATA cable to the SSD.

📂   Tighten all wires carefully so that they do not dangle and interfere with your work. Use screeds for this.

📂   Connect the power supply to the 6-pin connector.

📂   Route all the necessary cables to the places where the video cards will be located.

📂   Install video cards and connect them.

Before starting, you need to write to the USB flash drive the operating system that you need, for example, Windows 10 (it supports all the most modern hardware and drivers, and also allows you to work with 12 graphics processors simultaneously).

Connect the monitor to the motherboard, then the power supply to the outlet. The next step is to connect the Ethernet cable.

Then you need to turn on the computer and enter the BIOS. In the power management section, enable the option to automatically restart the PC in case of a power outage. Turn off the computer and turn it on again with the USB flash drive already connected, install the operating system, download all the necessary drivers and updates. After that, it is better to turn off the automatic updates option.

Restart your computer and make sure the system detects all video cards.

Overclocking

GPU mining will be significantly more profitable if you use the overclocking capabilities. This process should be gradual and deliberate, it includes constant monitoring and analysis of changes. Step by step instructions for overclocking:

✅ Accurately determine the parameters of the GPU using the GPU-Z program.

✅ Stress test with FurMark to make sure the graphics cards can handle overclocking. FurMark must be open during parameter changes in order to immediately track their impact.

✅ Install MSI Afterburner – This program works with all popular Nvidia / AMD cards and has a simple interface.

✅ Gradually move the memory clock slider in 50 MHz steps. Check the temperature and GPU load after each change. At some point, one of the following negative effects will appear: FurMark crash, graphic artifacts, driver error message, screen darkening, blue screen of death. By default, Afterburner does not save changes, so after restarting Windows everything will be as it was. After recovery, set the memory clock to the last working value.

✅ To reduce power consumption, drag the power cap slider to the left until you see the hash rate or profitability start to drop.

Pay attention to the stability of the mining rig. Let it run continuously for 24 hours and make sure that it does not freeze or reboot, the graph of the GPU load is more or less even, and profitability does not jump. If any of these signs are present, it could be signs of overclocking.

Pool selection and connection to it

After preparing all the technical part, it is time to decide which pool to join. There are pools for each coin. For example, for Ethereum, Ethpool / Ethermine, f2pool, DwarfPool, 2Miners are considered leaders. One pool can support several algorithms.

In a mining pool, miners combine their computing power and make a reward based on the contribution of each. So the income is stable and constant. If you are mining solo, you will have many competitors doing the same. But only one will receive the award, almost like in the lottery. That is, you need to hope for luck.

It is much more efficient to join a pool where, thanks to the pooling of capacities of thousands of participants, the chance of reward is much higher. As a result, you will receive more frequent income, albeit in small amounts.

When choosing a pool, the following parameters are taken into account:

✅ Number of participants and occupied market share.

✅ Remuneration distribution system.

✅ Location (if possible, close to your place of residence, so that ping is minimal).

✅ Commission fees.

Pools usually charge a commission for their work, on average 1%. This is a reasonable payment for completing tasks such as maintaining accounts, collecting statistics, distributing tasks, paying for hosting and Internet, equipment maintenance.

To join the pool, you just need to register on the site and add information about your equipment (this is needed to track its operation). Also, mining software is downloaded from the pool’s website.

Software for mining on video cards

There are many different mining programs, but it is recommended to use the ones recommended by the pool of your choice. The most popular options are:

✅ CGMiner. The program was released in 2011, but is still actively used due to its compatibility with different hardware (video cards, ASICs, FPGA). Open source miner available for Mac, Linux and Windows.

mining software CGMiner

✅ Claymore. Dual mining software. The main algorithm is Ethereum, but additionally you can mine Siacoin, Decred, Pascal, Lbry. With dual mining, the commission is lower than with single mining. The program is available for Linux and Windows.

software for mining on Claymore video cards

✅ Cudo Miner. It differs in that it has a graphical interface, so it is suitable for beginners who do not want to understand how to work with the console. However, there is also a console mode. The application has versions for Windows and Linux.

Cudo Miner program

Recommendations

A few tips for those planning to start mining on video cards:

  • The graphics cards you need can be difficult (or even impossible) to find in stores. Use eBay or other sites to find used options, but pay attention to the hardware release date – the newer the better.
  • Elements during assembly must be positioned thoughtfully. The power supply is usually placed on the side, and additional fans in such a way as to blow off all the heat generated by the video cards.
  • You don’t have to worry about buying a keyboard and mouse for your mining rig. They will be needed only for the initial setup, and in the future, the farm will be managed mainly remotely.
  • Before starting mining, you should turn off Windows location detection, speech recognition, diagnostics, relevant ads, cloud services (like OneDrive) and other individual functions.
  • Drivers are downloaded only from official sources – manufacturers’ websites.
  • It’s okay to run into errors and problems at first – setting up a new farm always takes a while.

Advantages and disadvantages

Pros ✅ 

✅ GPU mining is scalable and flexible – at any time you can expand the farm and switch to mining another coin.

✅ The process does not harm decentralization.

✅ If you want to stop mining, then video cards can be easily sold, they are always in price.

Cons ❌

❌ It is more difficult to start in a technical sense, it takes time to assemble the truss.

❌ Performance and cost-effectiveness are lower compared to ASICs.

Basic concepts

Mining on video cards is the process of mining cryptocurrency using GPUs capable of performing a huge amount of calculations per unit of time.

Algorithm is a set of cryptographic functions with the help of which information in a cryptocurrency network is encrypted.

Calculator – a site that calculates the profitability of mining based on user-specified data (hashrate of equipment, cost of electricity, mining algorithm).

Overclocking – adjusting the settings of the video card to improve performance or reduce power consumption.

A mining pool is a community of users who combine the power of their equipment to find blocks faster.

Rig is an installation that includes a case, video cards, motherboard, processor, RAM, hard drive and other auxiliary components for mining.

Payback is the period for which the equipment costs will be fully paid off and net profit will begin to flow.

Questions and answers

What do you need to start mining on video cards?

First you need to calculate the profitability of this process based on what costs are planned for the equipment. Then buy the hardware, build the farm, download the software.

Is it necessary to overclock video cards?

Yes. This should be done carefully, but this process can add up to 40% profitability.

Why join a mining pool?

In order to receive regular profit, it is better to earn several tens of cents every day than to wait for years for one “lucky ticket” in the form of a full reward for a block.

How do I choose the right graphics cards?

The WhatToMine website provides an up-to-date rating of the most profitable cards at the moment. Our article describes devices that have been performing well in mining for several years or months. When choosing, you should focus on cost, amount of memory, the most efficient algorithms.

Why is GPU mining better than ASIC mining?

Many miners find this process much more interesting and also useful for decentralizing the network. Unlike ASICs, GPU mining does not destroy the ecosystem.

How much money do you need to start mining?

You can keep within 350,000 rubles, it all depends on the selected video cards and their number. This is the main cost item. It should also be remembered that every month you will have to pay a rather large amount for electricity. Consider all this in your preliminary calculations.

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