Best Ethereum Mining Hardware (2018 Updated)

Ethereum’s Ethash algorithm quickly set itself as one of the go-to GPU mining algorithms on the cryptocurrency market. It’s currently the driving algorithm behind many coins like Ethereum, Ethereum classic, Musicoin, Pirl, Ubiq, Expanse, Ella and growing, most of them are forks of the original Ethereum code with different specifications.

The Basics of Ethereum Mining

If you’re new to mining Ethereum, there are 4 important things you should know:

Proof of Stake is Planned

Ethereum has been planning to switch to Proof Of Stake using an algorithm called Casper. This switch will either make Ethereum mining not possible or severely decrease the rewards, but this applies to only Ethereum. The other coins using Ethash will not be affected and so your cards will still be able to function properly on another coin.

Sufficient VRAM is Required

When looking at an Ethash coin to mine you need to check on something called the DAG, the Ethereum Directed Acyclic Graph. This gets stored in the VRAM of the GPU and so to be able to mine this coin, your GPU must have enough storage to load the DAG in.

Currently you can only mine Ethereum with cards that have at least 3 gigabytes of VRAM, the DAG increases with every epoch, which is approximately every 30,000 Ethereum blocks. While Ethereum mining is currently not possible with 2 gigabyte cards, you can mine other coins like Ubiq with 2 gigabyte cards until 2027.  So if you’re new to mining and want to try it out with your old card, you are always welcome to do that on other coins.

You can check the current and future status of Ethash coins in here.

Mining Demand Drives Up the Cost of  GPUs

GPU-based cryptocurrency mining in the past few months has reached a popularity level in which the two companies producing GPUs (AMD and Nvidia) are no longer able to supply the demand. This made retailers and secondary market sellers increase their prices.

One of the skills of being a good miner is being able to hunt for deals where GPUs are moderately priced by checking out online stores, offline stores and other secondary market outlets.

There’s more to it than GPUs

While the graphics processor is arguably the most important part in Ethereum mining, your system’s hardware must match a following specification. Here’s what we recommend:

  • For rigs of less than 6 GPUs, a 4GB ram is required. For more than that I recommend getting an 8GB ram stick.
  • A motherboard with enough PCIe inputs, this is a crucial thing to look for in your motherboard. If you are building a multiple GPU rig your motherboard needs to have enough PCIe inputs to hold them.
  • A Powered riser cable for each card.
  • An open-air rig for multiple GPUs.
  • A reliable power supply. The capacity needs to be calculated based on the GPUs you choose, we’ll follow up on this one later.
  • A reliable internet connection.

There’s also the software side and the programs and drivers you’ll need. Some of these are GPU specific so we will list only the general ones here and expand later:

  • Temperature monitoring and overclocking software – this software is intended to be used to tweak your GPUs performance. It will make your GPU mine better (more hashes per second), mine cooler (lower temperature is always good for the cards), and mine more efficiently (use less power). Most miners use MSI afterburner overclocking software and GPU-Z for temprature and power monitoring.
  • Mining software – for mining Ethash coins most people use the Claymore software, it is one of the oldest and most supported Ethash miners. Some other programs have been surfacing in the past year like Ethminer and Phoenix miner.

The rest of this guide focuses on the hardware side. For further help setting up an Ethereum wallet, joining a pool and using your miner read our beginner’s guide to mining Ethereum.

Ethereum Mining Hardware Manufacturers: AMD vs Nvidia

AMD cards are almost always more suitable to the starting miner in terms of price,  as the base mining cards of AMD cost almost 2/3 the price of its Nvidia counter part.  However, this comes at a price. Nvidia cards are almost always easier to use, configure and overclock. So Nvidia cards do not require more time learning how to configure cards, flash a bios or undervolt.

AMD cards also are not as powerful as Nvidia cards. One of the most important advantages of Nvidia cards is that they are better on a lot of other algorithms. While AMD cards are more efficient on the Ethash and Cryptonight algorithms, Nvidia cards beat them on most others.

Comparing the Best Hardware for Ethereum Mining

We’ve compiled stats on the best available cards, which should help you decide which one to pick. Here’s a brief explanation of these terms:

Name

The name of the chipset produced by Nvidia or AMD for each card remains the same (such as RX 480). But there will always be variations of the same model produced by different companies, each of them will be known for their pros and cons. For example, the MSI Gaming X variation is known to consistently have one of the best cooling systems of all, but one of the highest price tags as well.

Some variations can also have out of the box better performances as they can come factory overclocked, but this can be compensated by using an overclocking software.

Price

The initial price you pay will determine how long it takes for your card to pay for itself, based on your mining profits. The current earnings can be calculated by an Ethereum mining calculator. The calculator takes into account only on the current earnings and does not take into account difficulty increases or price increases.

Hashrate

The rate the card achieves under ideal mining conditions. This will be given as a range, which can be reached by overclocking, underclocking, flashing a BIOS or undervolting.

Power Draw

This power draw is the amount of electricity a card consumes while mining, which is measured at the outlet.

Efficiency

You can determine the rating for efficiency by dividing the hashrate by the power consumption. Newer cards are usually more efficient. This rating is of prime importance—given that electricity is a fixed, ongoing cost. In other words, the more efficient your card, the more profitable it will be once you’ve received the ROI.

Comparison table for Ethereum mining Hardware:

RX 570
AMD
Power draw:
80W-200W
Hash rate:
20-30 Mh/s
VRAM:
4GB/8GB GDDR5
RX 580
AMD
Power draw:
100W-250W
Hash rate:
20-30 Mh/s
VRAM:
4GB/8GB GDDR5
Radeon RX Vega
AMD
Power draw:
150W-250W
Hash rate:
30-45 Mh/s
VRAM:
8GB HBM2
GTX 1060
Nvidia
Power draw:
60W-150W
Hash rate:
18-25 Mh/s
VRAM:
3GB/6GB GDDR5
GTX 1070
Nvidia
Power draw:
150W-225W
Hash rate:
25-32 Mh/s
VRAM:
8GB GDDR5
GTX 1080ti
Nvidia
Power draw:
150W-250W
Hash rate:
35-40 Mh/s
VRAM:
11GB GDDR5

AMD Cards

To get the most efficient mining from AMD cards, you will need to download the AMD blockchain driver. Without this driver you will see massive degraded performance from the new and old generations with the increase in DAG.

Most AMD miners also edit and flash their card’s BIOS to achieve much better mining power with much less energy costs. This is an advanced operation so you should do this only once you are mining and comfortable with it but this process can increase performance by up to 50% at times so its rewarding to know how to do it. There is a guide on the Ethereum forum that thoroughly explains the process.


AMD RX 470/570

Increased Price: $250-$550

Regular Price: $200-$270

Power Draw: 80W-200W

Hashrate: 20-30 Mh/s

VRAM: 4 and 8GB GDDR5

AMD RX 470/570

Pros: This series is by far the most energy efficient series out there. Using proper memory overclocking and core underclocking and undervolting techniques, you can get this card to run on only 70-80w and still have it push out upwards of 30 Mh/s.

Cons: Due to it being a very good series for mining, its frequent to find them overpriced by sellers at almost twice their price, making them have weaker ROI periods. They are also not very good at most other algorithms, so if you want the freedom to mine other altcoins then this series may not be for you. If something was to happen to Ethereum mining (e.g. move to Proof of Stake), expect this series to flood the market with undervalued prices.

View deals on eBay for the AMD RX 470 / View deals on eBay for the AMD RX 570


AMD RX 480/580

Increased Price: $250-$550

Regular Price: $250-$300

Power Draw: 100W-250W

Hashrate: 20-30 Mh/s

VRAM: 4 and 8GB GDDR5

AMD RX 480/580 Pros: This series is the bigger brother of the RX 470/570 series. It has an almost exact hashrate but with more power usage. It’s also better on a few other algorithms leaving you with the freedom to choose more altcoins to mine.

Cons: It has basically the same cons of the RX 470/570 series, but it has a slight advantage of mining more algorithms. So if something were to happen to Ethereum mining, you could still mine other coins like Zcash and Monero with them.

View deals on eBay for the AMD RX 480 / View deals on eBay for the AMD RX 580


AMD Radeon RX Vega series

Increased Price: $800-$1200

Regular Price: $450-$700

Power Draw: 150W – 250W

Hashrate: 30 – 45 Mh/s

VRAM: 8 GB HBM2

AMD Radeon RX Vega series

Pros: This is the newest series from AMD. It includes the RX vega 56 and the RX vega 64, both of which are 8gb RAM and are very close in mining performance. They have great performance for the power they consume and they can be resold for more as they are the newest generation. They are also really good at other algorithms like mining Monero and Zcash.

Cons: They are pretty expensive and so the ROI period can be much more than the older RX series. They run a little bit hotter than the older series and they are very rare to find at a good price.

View deals on eBay for the AMD Vega 56 / View deals on eBay for the AMD Vega 64


Nvidia cards

Nvidia cards are more expensive than their AMD counterparts. They are easier to use and don’t require any tech-savvy skills. Just get the card, download the drivers and you’re good to go. Even when you want to overclock them (for Ethash), you’re mostly going to just be increasing the memory clock and decreasing the power limit.

GTX 1060

Increased Price: $260-$400

Regular Price: $170-$270

Power Draw: 60W – 150W

Hashrate: 18 – 25 Mh/s

VRAM: 3/6 GB GDDR5

GTX 1060

Pros: If you’re aiming for Nvidia cards then this is the base card you’re going to be looking at. It’s relatively cheap and it is very good at Ethash mining. It also doesn’t face any degradation of performance as the DAG increases.

The card can be found in 3GB and 6GB configurations, while they won’t have a lot of differences in the mining hash power, the 3GB card is not going to be able to mine Ethereum in mid 2019. So if you want to mine Ethereum you should probably get the 6GB version. The card is also good at mining Zcash and has extremely low power  usage.

Cons: Their prices have been bumped up quite a lot in the past few months so they may not be as money efficient as buying their AMD counterparts. Also their mining density, the Mh/s per motherboard, will be the lowest of all the other cards.

View deals on eBay for the Nvidia 1060


GTX 1070

Increased Price: $550 – $700

Regular Price: $370 -$450

Power Draw: 150W – 225 W

Hashrate: 25 – 32 Mh/s

VRAM: 8 GB GDDR5

GTX 1070

Pros: A very good all around card. It’s not only great at Ethereum mining, it can also mine Zcash, VTC and many other coins. This is one card that won’t have any degraded performance if Ethereum mining stops as a whole, it has plenty of other choices.

Cons: Like almost every other good card, their price has increased dramatically in the last few months. If you can find them at a good price, don’t hesitate.

View deals on eBay for the Nvidia 1070


GTX 1080ti

Increased Price: $900-$1200

Regular Price: $750-$850

Power Draw: 150W – 250W

Hashrate: 35-40 Mh/s

VRAM: 11 GB GDDR5

GTX 1080ti

Pros: This card is the power house of mining. It is the most expensive, most powerful GPU used regularly in mining and it has the highest mining density. A full rig (6) of these would cost almost as much as 3-4 full rigs of the RX 470 series. This card is suitable for almost every GPU mineable coin out there.

Cons: Mining Ethereum with this card might not be the best decision, as its hash rate isn’t much higher than the gtx 1070 for almost double the price. But you’ll find that mining other coins with this card is much more profitable than mining Ethereum.

View deals on eBay for the Nvidia 1080ti


Conclusion

Whichever card you decide on, be prepared to spend a lot of time researching various retailers and resellers. Only then can you hope to find a “fair” price. Mining has really inflated GPU prices across the board, which is a good indicator that GPU mining is still profitable—if you play your cards right. You will also need to pick out a power supply that is able to fit your entire rig’s power and more, some mining rig use double power supplies as the high capacity ones are usually much more expensive, for a 6-card rig of RX 470s a 1200w power supply will probably be more than enough, while a 6-card rig of gtx 1080ti might need two of these.

Bitcoin Video Crash Course 

Dummy-proof explainer videos enjoyed by over 100,000 students. One email a day for 7 days, short and educational, guaranteed.

We hate spam as much as you do. You can unsubscribe with one click.

42
Leave a Reply

avatar
14 Comment threads
28 Thread replies
10 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
27 Comment authors
Steven HayLeoNilsonOmar WagihJohn Hawkins Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Leo
Guest
Leo

Also important to note that the high-end Nvidia cards with GDDR5X memory (1080/1080ti) get a major boost using ETHlargementPill, with the Ti’s typically reaching 55Mh/s with underclocks and minimal tweaking.

Nilson
Guest
Nilson

There is many bias trough nvidia cards. For example i get 32 MH/s from RX 570 cards, in ethash, 36 MH/s in lira2REv2, 3MH/s in lira2z and 940 H/s criptonightv7 (aka monero7). so you can see this card can be compared with nvidia gtx 1080 ti in mining performance with 1/2 power consumption and 1/4 of the price of nvidia gtx 1080 ti. the truth nowadays there is no NVIDIA card that can be compared to AMD cards.

Travis
Guest
Travis

32Mh/s is spot on Currently running 6 1070’s in my Rig
getting 194.1xx Mh/s

System
EVGA 850W BQ PSU
TB-250 Motherboard
Celeron CPU
2TB HDD (1.5TB allocated to STORJ)

Afterburner Settings
65% Power 760-770W from the wall
Temps 51-54C
Core Clock +50
Mem Clock +775

cikurk
Guest
cikurk

i use this driver. got ~ 57mh with my gtx 1070 aero oc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPXFexmYM7o

pbzrpa
Guest
pbzrpa

I think this guys is definitely a salesperson from Nvidia. I get 28Mh/s out of my RX 580 8GB Strix with the standard “GPU Tweak II” asus software in “Gaming Mode”. Card is running at 56 Degrees Celsius and rig is really not doing much. I paid $613 for the card.

jose
Guest
jose

rx 580 asus dual oc with bios mod i still get 29 Mh per card, i have a rig with 6.

Please do not lie!

cris
Guest
cris

I am getting 31.2 out of rx580 8gb gigabyte gaming

spykerhond
Guest
spykerhond

is this copywriting again with general card specs in stead of actual card tests. Cheapscate article. Does not reflect user demmo’s out there. These watt figures are guessed.

mx miner
Guest
mx miner

worst article ever, get your fact right, you state different speeds for the same card (RX vega 64) and clearly you dont have a clue, i mine with rx580 and my hashrate its 30 with bios mod and propper patched drivers for mining

chunfly
Guest
chunfly

the hashrate of my rx 580 is 20 Mh / s and you say it will go down. There’s a solution?