The Best GPU For Ethereum Mining – NVIDIA and AMD Tested

We’ve never done an article on GPU mining on Legit Reviews before, but continued interest in the ethereum project has caused Ether (the name of the cryptocurrency that runs on the ethereum blockchain app) to skyrocket in price by more than 2,800% this year alone. On Sunday, ethereum traded at an all-time high of $250.41, according to data from industry website CoinDesk. With increases and coin prices like that it has spiked the demand for discrete graphics cards in order to do GPU mining. Ethereum discourages the use of custom ASICs and FPGAs when it comes to mining, so this is something you could do if you wanted to on a PC with a powerful discrete graphics card.

When you dive into the world of GPU mining you’ll quickly find that to make any serious money that you’ll need to invest in a fair bit of hardware. Let’s go trough the hardware that one would likely need if they wanted to build a 6  or 7 GPU ethereum mining machine. Over at the Ethereum Community Forums you’ll find hundreds of threads about building a 6-7 GPU mining machine and you can make some pretty good money off a system like that. With 7 AMD Radeon RX 480 video cards that have been optimized for mining you should be able to get around 200 MH/s when mining ethereum, so if you plug that into a profit calculator you are looking at making a profit of $12,870 per year at the current difficulty and ETH price of $245. That’s guessing the rig uses around 1,000 Watts 24/7 and electric costs $0.1265 KW/h. (Please keep in mind the price of ethereum could always drop to zero or skyrocket, so think long and hard before you buy hardware to do this.)

7 GPU mining rig

Custom Mining Rig Build By mining hardware (MHW) on ECF

So, you want to building a mining PC? This is a quick summary of what you’ll need to get going.

Motherboard:  You’ll need a little luck and possibly some magic or a custom UEFI to find a motherboard that supports six to seven video cards. The Intel Z87 and Z97 chipsets for LGA1150 processors offer a pretty good bang for the buck as they are being cleared out to make room for the newer Intel Z170 and Z270 motherboards for the LGA1151 processors. Our favorite board right for GPU mining is the MSI Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON as it has the ability to run SEVEN GPU’s at a time when using the latest UEFI for $129.99 on Amazon. That board is starting to get hard to find, so grab one sooner rather than later!

Processor: If you go with an LGA1150 motherboard the Intel Celeron G1840 Processor is often used as it a TDP of just 53 Watts and costs $55.99 shipped.  If you opted for the newer Intel LGA1151 platform something like the Intel Celeron Processor G3930 at $42.11 shipped would not be a bad choice and has a TDP of 51 Watts. Since the CPU load is minimal (usually under 15% for pooled mining) you can get away with a low-cost processor and they both come with a heatsink fan (HSF) that you can use. We highly suggest turning off the Windows 10 search indexing service (simple guide) on your dedicated mining rigs as that eats up power for something that isn’t needed. With it enabled we noticed our CPU load was going up to 40-50% and the system was using significantly more power.

Power Supply: Your system is going to be running 24/7 and using close to 1000 Watts of power non-stop,  so you’ll want to drop some coin on a good model. We highly suggest an 80 PLUS Platinum rated power supply that is 1200W or greater. We’ve used the Enermax Platimax 1350W ($239.99 shipped) with good success. If you plan on undervolting the GPU and reducing the power consumption you should be able to get away with a 1,000 Watt power supply. The EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 is solid 80 PLUS platinum model for $213.72 shipped or you can go with a lower cost Corsair RM1000x that is 80 PLUS gold certified for $179.99 shipped. Depending on the model you get and the model of video card that you are running you might need to get some SATA to 8-pin PCIe power adapters.

Memory: Depending on what motherboard you got you’ll need DDR3 or DDR4 memory. Chances are you’ll need DDR4 memory and we suggest using an 8GB of memory. Some people say you can get away with single channel memory, but we’ve always run dual-channel in our mining rigs. A typical DDR4 2133 MHz 8GB (2x4GB) memory kit will run you about $59.99 from a big name brand.

Storage Drive: Small and inexpensive is again the name of the game here. You likely don’t want to use a M.2 PCIe graphics card as some boards will disable PCIe slots when a M.2 PCIe SSD is inserted into the board. For that reason we suggest going with something like a low-cost SATA III SSD. The Kingston A400 120GB SATA III SSD at $47.99  or PNY CS1311 120GB SSD at $52.99 are hard to beat. If you don’t care about brand names or how easy it is to RMA if it breaks the DREVO X1 Series 60GB SSD at $39.99 shipped is cheap and will hold an OS.

Riser Cards: Most go with USB powered 1x to 16x riser cards. These sell out often and they are mostly all made by companies that no one has heard of. The reviews on most are mixed, so you’ll just need to pick some and roll the dice. You’ll likely be paying around $8 each.

Case: Get creative and make your own! Our favorite GPU mining builds are done using milk crates, some PVC pipes and zip ties. The might not look fancy, but they cost under $15 to make.

Mouse/Monitor/Keyboard: Whatever is cheap! The AmazonBasics wired keyboard and mouse is just $14.69 shipped.

OS: Windows 10 works, but ethOS Mining OS is a 64-bit linux OS that was designed just for ethereum mining and runs $39.

Electricity Power Usage Meter: We highly suggest picking up a Kill-A-Watt P3 P4400  power usage monitor to see how much power your system is using. This will allow you to calculate your bills and dial in your GPUs by lower the power usage to your liking.

Power Cord: Are you building multiple systems or plan on putting them in a garage or basement? You might need a heavy-duty power extension cord to get to the power outlet.

Video Cards: AMD Radeon RX 470/480 and Radeon RX 570/580 video cards are all the rage right now when it comes to ethereum mining, but they are extremely tough to find since they are all being bought to mine ether.

 

 

AMD Radeon RX 580

Since we couldn’t find any Radeon RX 580 video cards to purchase at Amazon, Newegg, Micro Center or Best Buy we figured we’d try mining on some of the cards we had laying around to see how they perform. Let’s take a look at the results on our system running Claymore’s Dual Ethereum GPU Miner v9.4 and Windows 10 v1703.

Ethereum Best Mining GPU

Best Performance:  AMD Radeon R9 295X2

The AMD Radeon R9 295X2 came out in April 2014 and is over two years old, but this Dual-GPU card is able to be at the top of the performance chart with 57.6 MH/s of performance. We’ve seen these selling for as low as $500 on eBay, but the TDP on this card is an awe-inspiring 500W, so packing 7 of these into a single system would be more than what any one power supply could handle. The thought of a single system pulling  3,500+ Watts is pretty crazy!

Best Value Performer: 

The AMD Radeon RX 480 and Radeon RX 580 are solid performing cards.When the AMD Radeon RX 480 first came out it the prices started at $199 and for that you get around 24 MH/s of performance ether mining in stock form, but you can easily get that up to 25-27 MH/s if you wanted to mod the BIOS and dial the cards in. You can reduce the power usage in AMD Wattman to get the power draw on these cards well below the 150W TDP rating. The new AMD Radeon RX 580 uses more power and costs more than the Radeon RX 480, but it gets higher performance and many are able to get 29 MH/s per card at around 135 Watts of power when you do all the widely known power adjustments. No wonder the AMD Radeon RX 580/570 cards are all sold out.

Biggest Upset: 

When we saw the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 getting 27.4 MH/s in stock form we were impressed, but then the faster clocked NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with more CUDA cores only got 20 MH/s. We talked to NVIDIA about this and they said it’s because the Ethereum base code fits the GDDR5 latency characteristics better than GDDR5X. So, when it comes to Ethereum mining a GeForce GTX 1070 is better to have than the GeForce GTX 1080. That said the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti uses GDDR5X memory and is getting 32 MH/s.

Looks Good On Paper: 

The AMD Radeon R9 NANO gets an impressive 27 MH/s, but that’s all you can really get on that model as AMD doesn’t allow you to overclock the HBM memory and if you reduce the power usage at all the hashrate drops as well. This 175W TDP card has good performance, but at $515 it will take a longer time to recoup your money. You can actually buy two Radeon RX 480/580 cards for this price and overclock them to get up to 27 MH/s and reduce the power usage/voltage to get about 40-50W lower power use per card. The AMD Radeon R9 390 gets an impressive 30 MH/s in stock form, but the cards 275W TDP makes is less desirable.

Worst Performer:

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 series cards don’t mine well on Windows 10 and use a fair bit of power, so if you have one of these cards you’ll want to run Windows 7 or EthOS where you can get higher performance levels with older driver builds. You’ll need to do your homework if you want to mine on a GTX 900 series card and generate revenue!

 

Final Thoughts: 

We could have talked about mining for days, but it really depends on what hardware you get and how you configure all your software. The AMD Radeon RX 580 and Radeon RX 480 are the cards to get right now, but it’s tough to find them. You can build up a rig like this for $2,500 or less and make an extra $1,000 a month at the current rates. We highly suggest looking at Ethereum profit calculators and factor in the build cost and electricity to see if mining is right for you! Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!

 

6/14/2017 Update: A new article has been published that covers mining Ethereum on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card that is worth a quick look! We managed to go from 27 MH/s up to over 32 MH/s with some small tweaks!

6/16/2017 Update – We have now have an article posted on GeForce GTX 1060 mining for those that are interested in how that GPU model does. After tweaking the EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 FTW+ we managed to get over 22 MH/s with the card running so cool that the fans didn’t even run!

 

Print
  • Diogo Dos Santos

    PLZ PLZ PLZ MAKE A STEP BY STEP ON HOW TO MAKE THAT FRAME! PLZ!!!

  • minefreak

    If anyone needs any help i am available in the community chat I’ve created Join if you have any questions. Lets farm. join https://discord.gg/KuNthC

  • minefreak

    GTX 1070 Model # 08G-P4-6173-KB This model is superclocked. Giving me 35MH/s without overclocking. get them while you can boys.

    • minefreak

      I forgot to mention each card only uses about 140W. If you have a Platinum Power Supply you are set.

      • sleepyone

        Hi there, would be keen to pick you brain about mining, I able able to get the 580 in my country, trying to figure out if it is worth getting into and the best set up.

    • David smiley

      which driver are you using ?

  • RaxCityHD

    does ti matter what Processor i use ??
    thinking of using this one
    Intel Boxed Core I7-6700 FC-LGA14C 3.40 GHz 8 M Processor Cache 4 LGA 1151 BX80662I76700

    • oicu0rt

      You should get the cheapest viable/available processor. Unless you want to do something else with the system or CPU mining another coin, but even then, returns will be relatively low.

  • Brice Fleckenstein

    AMD pricing hadn’t gotten totally crazy yet when the article was written.
    In any event, NVidia cards worth mining on can make more on coins OTHER THAN ETH (except perhaps the 1060 varients).

  • Amet Monegro

    Thanks for the info

  • oicu0rt

    I can get 20.6 Mh/s on my EVGA GTX 970 using older drivers and a bit on underpower/overclock.

  • Hernan Diaz

    Hi!, thanks for these information is very usefull. I have a Question:
    the assembler of the video card greatly influences the performance?. Because, for example, in my country AMD Radeon RX 480 is difficult to get, but is easily get the xfx and saphire (xfx Radeon RX 480 and Saphire Radeon RX 480). Is really performance differences ?.

    Thanks in advanced and sorry for my english

    • Amet Monegro

      Assembler will no make performance diferences, if has the same chips

      Good luck

  • cheked

    yes,amd gpu’s are maded just for ‘maining’ work,not for game playing
    also,if u use amd gpu’s for any use, prepare bigger electric bill and heat than nvidia gpu’s

    • Nathan Kirsch

      AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards are first and foremost made for PC gaming. The fact AMD cards do better at mining was just random chance!

  • John Smith

    how do I get those rates on the nvidia cards???

    • Nathan Kirsch

      All of our rates were done on the listed cards, drivers and Claymore v9.4. Claymore has been updated to v9.5, but the results look to be about the same still. Is there a card you are having troubles with?

  • Will Rogers

    Question…Can you run different algo’s for Eth? Currently running Claymore, but not sure what Blake256 is. Not sure if these hash rates are real.
    http://62.212.74.86/~mining/list/index.php?brand=amd

  • Alkiguy

    Fascinating article! Thanks. This is so sci-fi

  • cc4Spawn

    Getting 29MHs on a RX470 4GB PowerColor Red Devil – Custom Firmware

    • Nathan Kirsch

      That is really good! Do you have a link to that vBIOS? I’d love to try it out as I have that card here!

  • crypto2017coin

    What happens if electricity is gone and the mining rig shut down.

    should i have backup power?

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Depends on how you connect to the internet. If the power outage is network wide it is likely your ISP is going to be down too.

  • Nathaniel Lewis

    What’s up with EthOS only getting 10 MH/s with the 980? I didn’t do any tweaking and on the current nvidia drivers with the genoil cuda miner on Arch Linux I’m getting 20.5 MH/s at 160 W (as reported by nvidia-smi). Obviously the newer radeon cards are better at mining per watt, but with the prices they are being hocked for on eBay…

    • Do you tried the Genoil Miner with older drivers? (345 or smth similar)

  • Angel Cota

    Why recommend 480/580 when you can get a GTX1070 for less at current prices?
    the gtx does about the same MH at much less power draw so it should be a better choice.

    Am I missing something?

    • The OGS

      Yes – the nVidia boards hardly use any power, hardly give off any heat…
      Maybe the overall development and tech support are better for the Radeon GPUs?
      Otherwise, if they are “sold out” then a small fleet of GTX1070s would be sweet.

    • Mark Sully

      Not sure, but here in Canada a 1070 is about 200$ more than a 580, although the 580’s are sold out… just saying

  • I’ve seen some BIOS modded 480/580’s can get 29 to 31MH/s and that’s with lower stock voltages.

  • iq100

    You wrote>”…

    If you opted for the newer Intel LGA1151 platform something like the Intel Celeron Processor G3930 at $51.00 shipped would be a bad choice and has a TDP of 51 Watts.
    Read more at http://www.legitreviews.com/best-gpu-ethereum-mining-nvidia-amd-tested_195229#wqoDojoPGMcQdA37.99

    Did you mean ‘would NOT be a bad choice’? If so, please correct, and try put in place procedure that do NOT make major errors, like I believe you did here. Thanks!

  • John Hopkins

    How did you connect 7 graphics card to one PSU? They look like they only have 6 8 pin connectors on the PSU.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      As mentioned in the PSU section: “Depending on the model you get and the model of video card that you are running you might need to get some SATA to 8-pin PCIe power adapters.” You’ll need something like this: http://amzn.to/2r57XW0

  • Anthony Vitale

    Total System power use would have gone a long way to help further differentiate these results. Performance per watt is an important factor if electricity isn’t free.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      I made the decision to skip that since most miners don’t run the cards at stock settings. They flash the card with a custom BIOS, underclock the voltage on the GPU/Memory, Overclock the memory, and reduce the cards overall power usage. With a dozen of the same model card that isn’t hard to dial in, but on this many cards that is very time consuming.

  • Paul Henta

    I am surprised when you say that GTX 900 are bad miner. I can get 42mh/s using two gtx 970 in sli which mean 21 for a single one. it is documented that soem nvidia drivers are better than others. if you mine ether with a gtx 900 series you must use the 347.88 drivers and fiddle a bit with the nevidia settings. as always google is your friends. consumption is the issue but its not that bad.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Thanks for the additional info and hopefully that will help folks. I admit that I only tried GeForce 382.33 and then the GeForce 368.81 drivers recommended in Claymore’s utility. Both performed under 3 MH/s on this Windows 10 build, so I called it a day as I had a stack of cards to test. You can dive deep into optimizations on each card, but I was trying to show what you get with the latest drivers with stock settings (with the exception on a couple cards)! Rolling back to a driver that old isn’t a big deal on a dedicated mining rig, but might be a tough sell to gamers that are looking to make some spare cash when they aren’t gaming or using their PC.

    • Nakura

      Do you have more detailed instructions on how you did this? I’d like to try it out to see if it works.

      • Paul Henta

        First go on guru 3D to download driver uninstalled and clean up your mc from all previous nvidia drivers. Then install 347.88.
        Then install ethminer and mine using open cl not cuda. If you want a good bat file (I assume you are on windows) look at the various ether mining pool help section. You should already reach a healthy 18mh/s then to go the extra mile play with the nvidia smi.

        Long story short search “gtx 970 ether” in your tube and follow the video instructions to the letter.

        • Chris

          How did you stop windows 10 from attempting to upgrade the gpu drivers constantly? Or are you using an older version of windows?

        • Paul Henta

          I used windows 10. You can disable the download of universal drivers. Google “stop automatic drivers update in windows 10”. I have a dual boot of two windows 10 because I game some
          Time.

  • Coach

    I fiddled with ethereum mining a bit. My antivirus and malware software fights it constantly. I had disabled them but upon a reboot, my mining program was quarantined and deleted due to a known trojan that was in it. Do I trust the mining program or not? I found my Ryzen 1800x seems to mine as well, I doubt as well as my gpu but it was scrolling along pretty good.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      What mining program did you try? Claymore’s Dual Ethereum GPU miner is one of the more easy utilities to use and it’s multi-GPU friendly. I’ve even had it running on an AMD/NVIDIA system running Windows 10 with no issues. There is a 1% fee to use his utility, but considering how easy it is to use many aren’t bothered by it. Some go to great lengths to negate his fee by being creative and others have released utilities with bad stuff in them to reduce the developer fee.

      • Sound

        I just had the same problem last night. I tried a modded Claymore’s Dual Ethereum miner from BuriedONE and my Kaspersky virus scanner called it a Trojan. Not sure if it is actually a trojan, or if its just the scanner. Going to try the non-modded Claymore tonight.

        • Sound

          Update – tried Claymore not modded. Kaspersky picked it up as a Trojan again

        • JediMstr

          A lot of anti-virus companies/software have flagged Claymore as a trojan, but it’s not one by itself. This is because Claymore “can” be used to mine for a black hat hidden in a malware trojan package along with other “goodies”. Claymore itself, especially downloaded from the official links isn’t a trojan by itself and if you’re using it to mine for you, it definitely isn’t acting as one. The anti-virus companies don’t care and just labelled pretty much any mining behavior as potentially bad since it’s a known pattern for trojans to mine ETH or other coins for the script-kiddies.

        • Will Rogers

          Had the same problem. I exited Kaspersky, reinstalled and started mining app, then started Kaspersky again. It seems to be working.

        • Will Rogers

          I also added the executable to my list of Kaspersky’s trusted apps. Think I did this before I deleted and reinstalled.

      • Will Rogers

        Nathan, I’m just checkn things out with this mining crypto (very new at this). Thinking about building a mining rig. In your opinion what is best (most efficient) software and hardware? Currently using Claymore on my Sapphire R9 390 Nitro (29.4 Mh/s).
        My new hardware would be possible starting a mining rig (Linux OS) with two graphics cards and expanding to 6+ (RX480 or RX580).

    • Will Rogers

      Had same issue…see my response to Sound below.