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Best GPUs to mine ethereum in 2022

Author: LB 2022-02-15 1002

There are many GPUs to choose from when you want to mine altcoins. One of the most popular sites on mining statistics, minerstat.com currently lists 73 cards with positive mining profitability. When you have a limited budget you have to choose the best card for ethereum mining and you should make this decision based on your needs. This guide will try to help you in the decision process.


One of the most straightforward approaches is to simply look at the price and choose the cheapest and the best GPU to mine ethereum or other altcoins. This might not be the best way to make our decisions, because cheap cards usually come with low profitability. Currently the Nvidia GTX 1050Ti is among the cheapest GPUs to mine altcoins. With 4Gb onboard memory, setting up an ethereum miner can be painful (How to keep mining ethereum on 4Gb GPUs?). You can also mine ravencoin on this card and it will give you approximately 0.01 USD per day in mining profits.


Clearly, buying the cheapest card to mine altcoins is not the best strategy. The size of the onboard memory is extremely important, mostly because mining algorithms are designed to be memory hard. If you want to mine ethereum, then the DAG file size should be less than the size of your onboard memory.


We’re in a different situation if the currency under consideration is not ethereum. There is an increasing number of altcoins with “memory light” mining algorithms. Toncoin is a very good representative example. You don’t need lots of memory to mine these coins, however there is a latent risk in strategies focusing on these digital assets. The main problem here is that the mining algorithm of ethereum has been intentionally designed in such a way that it consumes lots of memory. This is how Vitalik Buterin has guaranteed the ASIC resistance of the mining algorithm. In other words, if you make a mining algorithm memory light, then you motivate ASIC designers to come up with specialized electronic circuits that can more efficiently mine the coin. When ASIC miners appear on the market, the profitability of the GPUs deteriorates heavily. Consequently, right now toncoin might seem to be very profitable to mine, but unfortunately its mining profitability will plummet in the near future. It’s always better to buy mining equipment after things have panned out on these overheated markets.


minerstat.com lists the recent Nvidia RTX 3050Ti card as well. Its price is very attractive, however cheap cards yield low hashrates, and if you have a Nvidia RTX 3050Ti Laptop model, then you can expect even lower mining profitability. A 3050Ti should mine almost as much as the 3060Ti, but laptop versions tend to mine with approximately 50% of the actual hashrate.


The site lists the Nvidia RTX 3060 LHR V2 card in the 42nd place. This card has been available since early 2022 and with the current ethereum rate it produces roughly 1 USD per day. Back in the days a Nvidia RTX 3060 card mined much more, but unfortunately LHR (low hashrate) limits the ethereum mining performance and the V2 LHR cards are not as attractive to miners as the old ones without this limitation. Ethereum miners usually avoid these cards, because they operate with 65-70% of the total performance when the ethash algorithm is running. So LHR influences the ROI in a negative way, but fortunately there are a few promising initiatives to nullify this effect.


LHR unlock with dual mining


Dual mining has been around for a few years and several mining programs make this function available to users. With dual mining miners can mine two different coins simultaneously, but unfortunately this technique doesn’t really work well. When I tried dual mining ethereum and some other coins, first I saw that the ethereum mining hashrate decreased significantly. As a result, my ethereum profitability dropped and even though I was mining another coin as well, the math didn’t seem to work out for me. Until this year dual mining sounded a bit counterintuitive for me, because how could you increase the profitability on a GPU which is already 100% utilized?


If you use nvidia-smi on Ubuntu for example when you are running the ethash algorithm to mine ethereum you see that its memory is 100% utilized. If you want to mine another coin on the side, there is no memory space to do that. Clearly, in order to do dual mining you have to confiscate some memory space from the ethash algorithm and then you can load your data that is necessary to mine the secondary coin into the memory of the GPU.


The latest dual mining algorithms have slightly changed their approach. Toncoin for example goes along with ethereum very neatly. This is mainly because the toncoin miner utilizes almost no GPU memory and most of the calculation is performed in the GPU core. Youtubers from various countries are continuously reporting a 20-30% increase in mining profitabilities on both LHR and non LHR cards. I also have to note that the old power limit settings won’t work, because dual mining consumes more electricity.


Apparently even the strongest LHR technology can be rendered ineffective with dual mining, because 65% of the GPU’s performance can be allocated for the ethash algorithm and the rest of the resources can be utilized to mine toncoin. lolminer was the first software to support ethereum+toncoin dual mining, but t-rex miner and nbminer are also adding the functionality.


Finding the optimal OC settings for dual mining is no easy task, because mining algorithms react differently when the core and memory frequencies are changing. With every new coin, one has to run benchmark calculations to find the optimal parameters for OC.


minerstat.com lists the Nvidia RTX 3070 LHR card in the 23rd place. According to their data the card is capable of producing 45Mh per second with the ethash algorithm and considering the current USD/ETH rate, the card has a net profit rate of 1.61 USD. Such a card is sold for approximately 1000 EU in the European Union on the major online marketplaces. The card itself is of compact size, it’s not too noisy so it’s not going to give you headaches even if you mine ethereum 24/7 in your bedroom with it. You’re in a much better situation if you can get hold of a non LHR Nvidia RTX 3070Ti as this card with 54.82 MH/s yields a daily net profit of $1.81. It is also true that there is no straightforward way to judge whether a GPU has the LHR limitation or not. You’re lucky if you can buy a model from 2020 or 2021, because LHR appeared in 2021, so by buying used cards that are at least 1 or 2 years old, there is a chance that you are buying cards with more Mh/s.


Oddly enough, the Nvidia RTX 3060Ti performs better than the Nvidia RTX 3070Ti. The Nvidia RTX 3060Ti with proper OC settings consumes 120W and produces 60Mh per second with the ethash algorithm. Once you overclock the card, you need to regularly check both the memory junction temperature and the core temperature on the card, because these values tend to go up and you might damage your GPU. In many cases, the manufacturer uses thermal pads of low quality and bad heat conductivity and these constructions can lead to very high memory junction temperature. There is an increasing number of professionals who dismantle the card, replace the old thermal pads and reapply new ones with high quality thermal paste in order to cool the memory chip with higher efficiency. Unfortunately such repairs damage the warranty, but might be worth the try to avoid long term thermal effects and thermal throttling, which usually leads to decreased ethereum mining performance. In addition to applying high quality thermal pads and paste, some advise to use watercooling. Liquid cooling blocks provide promising means to completely eliminate the nuisances caused by the sound pollution of the cards. Such an equipment can be pricey and mounting the liquid cooling block onto the GPU requires circumspection and special care, because once you accidentally spill liquid on the chip you can start looking for soldering kits. Even distilled water damages the ICs on the GPU, so no matter what liquid you use for water cooling, everything has to be safe and sound before you attach the power cables and power on your mining rig with water cooling.


The Nvidia RTX 3060Ti is also very compact. It is by no means large. Its fans are quiet and while it produces an attractive amount of ethereum hashes it doesn’t consume too much electricity. Its price is usually comparable to the price of a Nvidia RTX 3070Ti card. If you’re looking for GPUs to mine ethereum, based on my personal experiences this might be the best graphics card to mine the second most popular cryptocurrency in early 2022. For beginners, its price tag at 1000-1200 eu. is pretty attractive, isn’t it? Once ethereum’s PoW chain gets abandoned you can switch over to ravencoin for example. The card, running the kawpow algorithm produces a daily profit of $1.39 at the current exchange rate.


Let’s go higher in the list published by minerstat.com. The Nvidia RTX 3080 LHR is obviously more powerful than the 3070 and this increase in performance comes at a cost. This GPU produces 64.8 MH per second on the ethash algorithm and this would yield a net daily profit of $2.17. Clearly LHR limits the performance of the card, because normally the 3080 should mine with ~100Mh/s. The card has 10Gb if onboard memory, so even if the number of days to break even with this card might seem long (~1000 days) there is plenty of memory space for the memory heavy mining algorithms to run. Even if the PoW chain in the ethereum network gets discontinued there will be a handful of coins to mine on the 1000th day to break even.


The best GPU to mine ethereum


The most powerful card to mine ethereum in 2021 was unquestionably the 3090 from Nvidia. And its price reflected its popularity. Back in the days, when ethereum mining was merely discussed as a mystical thing even these cards were relatively cheap. Lucky early adopters paid $2000 for a 3090 and they got 120Mh/s with the optimal overclock settings. This is history already, because the card’s price has almost doubled (at least in Europe) and even in 2022 the 3090 is an extremely popular GPU to mine ethereum. If you have limited space and you want to spend a larger budget on mining equipment, then the 3090 is a good choice. There are several low performance GPUs with 30-40Mh/s mining speed, however if you consider the amount of PCI Express slots you would need three or four times more space to accommodate these weaker models, compared to a rig composed of 3090s.


Nvidia is continuously upgrading its lineup. As a result there are already newer models with better electricity consumption/hashrate efficiency. The Nvidia A6000 for example is a more sophisticated model. It is less noisy and it consumes at most 300W, which is slightly less than the power consumption of the 3090. Nevertheless, I believe that the 3090 will remain listed as one of the best mining GPUs in 2022.


Along with the Founders Edition (FE), there are other manufacturers that produce 3090s. Some non FE cards can be a bit noisy, but in general there is no difference between the FE and the non FE cards.


The 3090 produces 120Mh per second with the ethash algorithm and with the optimal power limit settings it consumes 280W. 120Mh/s is obtainable only with the optimal OC settings. By default the card mines at 107-108Mh/s. The card has 24Gb of onboard memory, so there is plenty of space to run memory heavy mining algorithms to mine altcoins other than eth. Luckily LHR doesn’t apply to the 3090 and every instance is capable of mining ethereum with full speed. Speaking of the physical specification of the card, I can say that the card is huge with confidence. If you have an entry level gaming motherboard, mounting two of these cards onto the motherboard will be a difficult task and even if you manage to attach two 3090s to the board, expect high temperatures. If you want to cool them efficiently you need to set them apart first and then attach auxiliary fans to the front of the cards.


The Geforce RTX 3090 GPU is shipped with no LHR and therefore we would think that dual mining is not going to enhance the mining profitability of this card. Au contraire, while it is true that mining ALPH along with ethereum does not give you more profits, toncoin seems to get on well with ETH. By doing so, miners can attain a 10-15% increase in mining profits (depending on the exchange rate and the mining difficulty). Note that toncoin loves PL. With dual mining, 120Mh/s at 280W is unrealistic. You will have to increase PL up to 300W, so this change requires consideration, especially if you’re mining in a country where electricity is expensive.


Mounting 3090s to the motherboard using risers can be troublesome. Old, low quality risers usually don’t work, or even if they work they become unstable from time to time and mining rigs with these risers can switch off or restart unexpectedly. This can be especially annoying when you’re far away from your rig. For example you’re on your vacation and you realized that your hashrates dropped. Remote desktop software unfortunately don’t work when the rig is switched off. If you want to assemble your mining rig using power hungary cards you need high quality risers. Once the card cannot draw enough power from the 2x8 pin PCI Express connector, it switches over to the data connector and if the riser is unable to provide enough power, the system will simply stop working. I’ve experienced this at least a hundred times and debugging risers can be very very painful.


A 3060Ti for example requires a single 8 pin PCI Express connector. A 3090 is much more power hungry and you need two of these connectors to provide enough power to the GPU. Some low quality PSUs (power supply units) are unable to output this much of electric power and in some cases the motherboard doesn’t even switch on. For example if we take 300W as the maximum power draw of a 3090 GPU, buy a 500W PSU, assemble our mining rig supposing that 500 is smaller than 300 we are not making any mistake. Unfortunately 500W is a nominal amount, which doesn’t really give you any hint on how much electric power the PSU can supply on its single lines. Some connectors will give you more, some less. And in some very unfortunate cases, when you connect the electric cables in such an order that the electric draw exceeds the PSU’s capabilities, it won’t even turn on. In some cases, when ethereum mining is running at full speed for example the PSU dies and causes headaches to the user again. To avoid these accidents, my advice would be to always buy high quality risers and PSUs.


What to mine after the discontinuation of the PoW chain in ethereum?


The end of PoW mining in the ethereum network is coming to its end. No one knows the exact date, but according to the rumors June, 2022 is the likeliest. We expect no certainty in crypto projects, but still it doesn’t hurt if you start building your plans for the post-ethereum-mining era. Guesswork set aside, let’s examine the options we have at hand currently.


There are dozens of altcoins that can be mined using Nvidia and AMD cards. Cortex, Ergo, Conflux, Toncoin, ALPH, AE, Ravencoin, Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum Classic are among the most prominent ones. The mining profitability of these coins vary with their difficulty parameter and their market price, as such it’s not easy to predict or say anything about the mining profitability in the future. The incredible success of the ethereum project led to a very overheated mining market where ETH is in focus. Therefore, most of the time mining ethereum is more profitable than other altcoins. The mining profitability of RVN is comparable to ethereum’s mining profitability, however these secondary altcoins don’t seem to appreciate much in the long run. In order for an altcoin to increase in price new blockchain functions needed and this requires work. As long as there is no innovation in a cryptocurrency network, the price of the coin doesn’t go up significantly or even if it does, it falls back in the near future because usually these movements are triggered by manipulation. As for a PoW a miner, it’s important to focus on cryptocurrency projects where development is ongoing and there are new functionalities added to the blockchain. Such new functions should be added regularly and they should be meaningful. Meaningful in a sense that they should be easily comprehensible and they should solve real world problems.


Personally I think a good approach is to follow the latest trends in the blockchain industry, focusing on what the key functionalities are. Decentralized exchanges, Schnorr signatures, NFTs, Layer 2 solutions, atomic swaps and sharding are among the most important features that will be implemented in the properly evolving blockchains. Bitcoin and ethereum, being the leaders of the crypto world, are backed by the best blockchain engineers so no doubt that these networks will be the first to implement these functions. This will lead to additional appreciation in BTC and ETH prices. If you want to switch over to another coin and start mining something other than ETH, then the best option would be to choose the one that’s being developed with the most amount of enthusiasm. This is especially true if you want to mine and HODL.


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