A few years ago, there was a lot of interest in mining cryptocurrencies using consumer hardware. This created a run on videocards, because GPUs work better than CPUs for mining. Over the past few years, however, that interest has waned because consumer hardware is no longer the best way to do it. Instead, professional miners use ASIC miners, which are devices designed specifically for mining. However, in the past few weeks, a renewed focus has been placed on videocard mining, especially for Ethereum, which has seen a major price increase. But, which cards work best? Avram's got some new suggestions.
Jarred Walton over at Tom's Hardware benchmarked and calculated ROI on a number of major videocards - some old and some new. The conventional wisdom might suggest that the newest videocards would be your best bet for mining, but that would be incorrect because of the unbelievable cost of videocards right now. Current videocards, and even some of the older cards, have gone through the roof because of scalpers and miners, all looking for hardware.
A GeForce RTX 3090 is able to produce $12.26 per day, but their current retail price is so high that it takes 194 days to break even. Instead, take a look at some of the older cards, like the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB. You can pick one up on eBay for about $275, compared to the almost $2400 for the 3090. Even though the card only produces $2.82 per days, it takes only 96 days to break even on the cost of the card.
Of course, once the cards pay for themselves, the 3090 will be the best card going forward. However, the returns are still very low on videocard mining. Don't make a purchase of a card specifically for mining. Instead, check out an ASIC if you want to get into mining on a serious level.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.