Second only to Bitcoins, Ethereum and Ether are among the hottest digital assets today when it comes to the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain based technologies.
Unlike Bitcoins, which can no longer be effectively mined using GPUs, it is possible to mine Ethereum using them. This is possible thanks to Ethereum’s ASIC-resistant algorithm which make it impossible to be mined by dedicated processors.
There are four components of mining for Ethereum. Here we address the first component, which is mining hardware. Then there’s Ethereum Mining Software, Ethereum Wallets and Ethereum Mining Pools. We will take a closer look at each of them in a dedicated chapter.
Before we get on to comparing the best available Ethereum Mining hardware and the best GPUs in the market, let us take a closer look at what GPUs are and what do you need to keep in mind before you buy a GPU to mine Ethereum with.
GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit. Most high-end machines come with high-end GPUs these days. Basically, this is a dedicated processor in your computer which handles graphics processing, thereby taking the load off your CPU which will perform actual computational tasks while the GPU takes care of the graphics.
When Ethereum started off, the original vision was to have it mined via the CPU itself. The primary reason behind this (and making mining Ethereum ASIC-resistant) is that this will help provide fair competition. (While this is debatable it is still fairer than ASIC-led mining). However, while the original intention was to have Ether mined on CPU, miners soon discovered that the GPU led mining is faster because it provides a greater hashing power.
GPUs are up to 200 times faster and more effective when it comes to mining Ethereum than compared to mining via CPUs. GPUs with at least 3GB of RAM are recommended for mining. In the past, this used to be 2GB, but as the difficulty rises, you would need more powerful machine. The best GPUs for mining Etheruem currently feature 8GB of Graphic RAM.
However, it must also be kept in mind that most professional miners would never mine with a single GPU. They create ‘rigs’ with multiple GPUs running together. Most commonly used rigs are 6-GPU Ethereum Mining Rigs and 8-GPU Ethereum Mining Rigs. On many occasions, multiple such rigs are used together. We will discuss rigs in depth in a later chapter.
There are some things that you need to consider when buying a new GPU to mine Ethereum. The most important of these factors are:
The ideal GPU when it comes to mining Ethereum is one which offers the highest hash-rate at the lowest power. Currently, there are GPUs which provide hash-rates up to 46MH/s at the upper end and at the lower end there are GPUs which offer a hash-rate of about 24MH/s. There are many others which offer a lower hash-rate, but they are quite slow and would take a long time to generate Ethereum.
Power consumption is another major factor. Some GPUs consume as much as 500 Watts of power while there are others which consume as less as 150 Watts. This can be further broken down to power consumption cost per day which stands in at about $1.44 at the highest and $0.43 at the lowest.
Let us now take a look at the best GPUs for mining Ethereum.
The Radeon R9 295X2 is currently the most popular GPU when it comes to mining Ethereum. It offers a hash-rate of 46 MH/s and is the industry leader when it comes to hashing power. This GPU is in high demand and tends to get sold out as soon as it goes on the stock. It comes with an 8GB GDDR5 RAM.
The Sapphire Radeon R9 295X2 is usually available at a price of $600. However, since it is almost always out of stock, some users prefer buying it over eBay where it is sold for inflated rates of $1100-$1500.
Hash-Rate: 46 MH/s
Power Consumption: 500W
Power cost/day: $1.44
Cost per MH/s: $13
You can buy Sapphire Radeon R9 295X2 from Amazon
Another popular choice when it comes to Graphic Processing Units for mining Ethereum, the Radeon R9 HD 7990 used to be the biggest name till the R9 295X2 came along. This device is still in use by many users, but the biggest drawback it offers is that it comes with a slightly higher price but provides a lower hash-power. Nevertheless, the R9 HD 7990 is still one of the best GPUs to mine Ethereum.
It consumes a power of 300W at max load which is one of its benefits when compared to the R9 295X2. The Radeon R9 HD 7990 comes out into the markets with a 6GB GDDR5 RAM.
This GPU usually sells at a price of about $900 and is considered the second-best alternative to the R9 295X2.
Hash-Rate: 36 MH/s
Power Consumption: 300W
Power cost/day: $1.03
Cost per MH/s: $18.9
You can buy Radeon R9 HD 7990 from Amazon
You can use our Ethereum Mining Calculator to calculate profitability
While this GPU is not as powerful in terms of hash-power when compared to the aforementioned Radeon R9 295X2 and Radeon R9 HD 7990 processors, it is still very popular because of the fact that it is the most economic options for mining Ethereum. This GPU features an 8GB GDDR5 RAM.
The card itself costs $295 - which is one of the cheapest when it comes to mining Ethereum. Considering the low price and low power consumption, this is one of the most popular GPUs for Ethereum mining. The 8GB RAM is an additional advantage here.
Hash-Rate: 25 MH/s
Power Consumption: 150W
Power cost/day: $0.43
Cost per MH/s: $7.96
You can buy Radeon RX 480 from Amazon
Note: You can also Buy Ethereum if you don't want to mine!
The Radeon RX 470 was among one of the first graphic cards crafted specifically for the purpose of mining Ethereum. This graphic card is marginally different from the aforementioned RX 480. The biggest difference between the two being that the RX 480 was a gaming graphic card which became popular among cryptocurrency miners due to its powerful processing and good hash-rates. However, the RX 470 was specifically made for the miners.
The GPU would cost you about $220 after ROI.
Power cost/day: $0.4320
Cost per MH/s: $9.13
You can buy Radeon RX 470 from Amazon