Ethereum is the world’s second best-known cryptocurrency behind only bitcoin. Built as more of a development environment than a currency, Ethereum is a popular digital asset among miners.
Ethereum has several unique features that make it an attractive option for miners. First, Ethereum is ASIC-resistant, which means hobbyists like you can mine cryptocurrencies at home without needing to buy expensive ASICs.
The lack of ASIC support means that Ethereum mining hardware doesn’t have to consist of highly-specialized chips that can only be using for mining; instead, Ethereum mining hardware consists of ordinary GPUs.
These GPUs can be used to mine Ethereum one day, then switch to high-end PC gaming or video editing the next day. ASICs, on the other hand, are only useful for mining cryptocurrencies.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at Ethereum mining hardware.
The Importance of Buying the Right GPU
Your Ethereum mining efficiency depends largely on your GPU. The GPU is your graphics processing unit or video card. Before cryptocurrencies, high-end GPUs were used for high-end gaming or video editing. Today, high-end GPUs are in huge demand because of the cryptocurrency mining boom.
Some gamers – or anyone else in need of a pricey GPU – will offset the costs of their GPU by mining cryptocurrencies. You might not be able to justify spending $1500 on three video cards for gaming, for example. However, if you can recapture that $1500 investment with 6 months of Ethereum mining, then the cost is justified.
When Ethereum first launched, most mining took place via CPU. Then, as mining became more difficult, miners increasingly began using GPUs. GPUs provided significantly more power – but with steeper power consumption and higher electricity costs.
Today, most Ethereum mining continues to take place using GPUs. As mentioned above, Ethereum is an ASIC-resistant network. There are no Ethereum ASIC devices. Today’s high-end GPUs are approximately 200 times more effective at mining Ethereum compared to high-end CPUs.
How to Choose the Best GPU for Mining Ethereum
Today, the best GPUs for mining Ethereum have between 6GB and 8GB of video RAM (VRAM). Most professional miners, however, would never be caught mining Ethereum with a single GPU. Instead, they build rigs with multiple GPUs running together.
You can find Ethereum mining rigs equipped with as many as 6 or 8 GPUs inside. This provides maximum power and efficiency for Ethereum mining – although the startup costs are obviously higher.
There are three important things you need to consider when shopping for GPUs, including hashing power, power consumption, and price. By carefully balancing all three of these things, you can purchase the best GPU for mining Ethereum:
Hashing Power (Hashrate): Different GPUs mine Ethereum at different hashrates. Sometimes, the most expensive GPU isn’t the best option for mining Ethereum. Check the hashrate of a GPU before you buy. The higher the hashrate, the better mining power the GPU has.
Power Consumption: If your GPUs consume too much power, then any profits you make from Ethereum mining might be negated by your electricity bill. When comparing GPUs online, you might find a stat that says something like “power consumption cost per day.” This is the cost of mining Ethereum over a 24 hour period based on a specific cost per kWh.
Price: Most people don’t mine Ethereum for fun. Most people mine Ethereum to generate a profit. If you spend a lot of money on Ethereum mining GPUs, then you might never make your money back.
Another thing to consider is whether you want an AMD or Nvidia card. In most cases, AMD cards are the superior option for mining Ethereum. However, if you find a good deal on Nvidia cards, or use specific mining software, then you might be able to get better performance from an Nvidia card.
Got it? Good! Now, lets take a look at some of the best GPUs for Ethereum mining in 2018 and 2019.
The Best GPUs for Mining Ethereum
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64
Typically, AMD cards are better for mining Ethereum. The Radeon RX Vega 64 might be the most popular Ethereum mining GPU on the market. At stock settings, the GPU can mine Ethereum at around 33 MH/s while consuming 200 watts of electricity. However, with tweaking and cooling, you can increase hashrate to as much as 41 MH/s while dropping electricity consumption down to 135 watts.
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 is slightly less efficient than the Vega 64, but it’s still a great option for many Ethereum miners. You can expect to get hashrates of approximately 31 MH/s using 190 watts of electricity.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
Up until the release of the 1060, 1070, and 1080, AMD dominated the Ethereum mining space. Nvidia, however, managed to capture a slice of the market with its phenomenal performance on the GTX 1080 Ti. The GTX 1080 Ti keeps up with leading AMD cards by providing 32 MH/s of hashrate while consuming 200 watts of electricity. That puts it just behind the Vega 56 and Vega 64 in terms of Ethereum mining efficiency, but significantly ahead of the next options on our list.
AMD Radeon Rx 580
The AMD Radeon Rx 580 is a significant step down from the top three cards on our list. It uses slightly less electricity (175 watts), although it also produces a hashrate of just 25 MH/s.
AMD Radeon Rx 480
The Rx 480 delivers a hashrate of 24 MH/s while consuming 170 watts of electricity. Like the Rx 580, it’s a decent mid-range option, but you’re a step below the top miners listed above.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
The GeForce GTX 1070 is the second Nvidia option on our list. The 1070 uses too much electricity and delivers too little hashrate to place it at the top of our list. However, the performance difference isn’t as significant as you might think. The 1070 consumes 200 watts of electricity while delivering 27 MH/s of hashing power.
Other Popular Ethereum Mining GPUs
New GPUs are being released every year. Both AMD and Nvidia have seen a surge in sales and demand due to cryptocurrency mining. They’re now designing cards with cryptocurrency mining in mind. While the Vega 64 and Vega 56 remain at the top of the list of best Ethereum mining GPUs for now, this list could be totally different before long.
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
- Radeon Rx 570
- Radeon Rx 470
- Radeon R9 290x
Ultimately, Ethereum mining hardware is an understandably important part of mining Ethereum. Using the GPUs listed above, you may be able to mine Ethereum to earn big profits – or at least enough to offset the cost of your next gaming PC.