ASIC, GPU, and CPU Mining
This article by Paul Andrew was originally published at CoinCentral.com
Cryptocurrency mining has gotten more competitive over the last five years and as cryptocurrencies have seen enormous gains, this has fueled a race for more efficient means of mining. While huge mining facilities with ample budgets can afford to go with all ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) chips, most home miners are using CPU or GPUs to operate their nodes. In this article, we’ll briefly go over what a GPU miner is and compare the best GPUs for mining currently on the market.
CPU vs. GPU
A CPU or Central Processing Unit is the main chip of your home PC. This is the actual processor that performs the software functions that are programmed into your computer. Think of your CPU as the brain of your computer, it’s what tells your PC what action to execute and in what manner. Today’s PCs can have multiple CPUs or even multicore CPUs directly integrated into their motherboard.
A GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is designed to handle the labor-intensive tasks of rendering graphics. These are critical in allowing your PC to function smoothly during graphic-heavy applications. While many computers have integrated GPUs on their motherboard, a more advanced PC will feature a completely separate GPU to handle the intense graphical demands of today’s PC applications.
A CPU core can handle 4 32-bit instructions per clock whereas a GPU such as the Radeon HD 5970 can execute 3200 32-bit instructions per clock. This is a huge difference in computing power. Think of your CPU as the foreman on your computers construction site and your GPU as the workers. GPUs posses more ALU’s (Arithmetic Logic Units); this is what’s used when handling the complex mathematical equations found in proof-of-work systems.
Your CPU is designed to be smart and flexible because it must handle a wide range of tasks related to the operations of your PC, whereas, a GPU is designed to be strong and repetitive. Your GPU is perfectly suited to repeat the same math equation a million times until it finds the correct answer.
AMD GPUs vs. Nvidia GPUs – The Best GPU for Mining
There are two main manufacturers of GPUs in the marketplace – AMD and Nvidia. While both of these manufacturers control a large portion of the mining sector, AMD GPUs are slightly faster. AMD is able to get better performance from their GPUs by adding more ALUs that function at a lower clock speed. Nvidia utilizes more complex ALUs that are more powerful but they use less in their units.
This leaves AMD GPUs running at almost 3x the speed of their closest competitor. In addition, AMD GPUs only need a single hardware instruction to mine using the SHA-256 hash. Nvidia requires three separate instructions to do the same task.
While AMD GPUs have much better performance, once you factor in the added electricity costs, you may find that many Nvidia GPUs are a more affordable option to consider. Electricity usage is a huge factor in determining the true profit of your mining activities and many anew miner has flopped due to a failure to consider these important factors.
Choosing the perfect GPU miner for your needs can be difficult with all of the options in the marketplace. You will need to weigh a number of factors to choose a GPU that’s well suited for your needs. Below are the 5 best GPUs for mining in 2018.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 features 8GB GDDR5 ram with the core clocked at 1,506 MHz. This unit requires 150W and will provide you with a good balance of power vs. hash rate. It’s capable of delivering 30mh/s without consuming too much power. If you are looking for the best GPU for mining, you must consider the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070.
AMD Radeon RX580
The AMD Radeon RX580 is one of the most popular mining GPUs of all time and because of this, it may be difficult to locate one of these units for sale in your area. This unit features a 1,257 clock speed with 8B of GDDR5 ram. And, it draws 185W of power during use. You’re capable of 29mh/s with this well-designed GPU.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 is the latest addition to Nvidia’s impressive line of GPUs. This is an affordable option for someone looking to enter the mining sector without breaking their budget. The unit features a core clock speed of 1,506MHz with 6GB GDDR5. The low power (120w) consumption of this unit and its affordable price point make this a smart buy for newbie miners.
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 delivers excellent mining performance due to its 1,156MHz core clock speed. This unit comes equipped with 8GB HBM2 memory that adds to the capabilities of this miner. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 uses 210W when in operation, so it’s ideally used in a location with cheaper electricity costs. This unit has seen considerable adoption over the last year and it may be difficult to get your hands on one without signing up for a waiting list.
Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti
The Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti offers you a more powerful option to consider. This unit is capable of 32mh/s with a core clock speed of 1,480. This miner includes 11GB GDDR5X memory which gives it a strong advantage in the market. All of this added power comes at a trade-off in electricity as this unit draws 250W during operation.
Choosing the Best GPU for Mining
You will need to take into consideration a number of factors to determine what the best GPU for your particular rig is. Be sure to carefully consider the electricity costs involved in your operation so that you can predict your profit accurately. All of the units listed above have proven to be the hardware of choice for GPU miners and by sticking to this guide; you can avoid the headaches most first time miners encounter.