Bitcoin and other proof of work cryptocurrencies are decentralized, and therefore not powered by a centralized authority. Instead, they are powered by a network of miners using their computing power to validate transactions and keep the network secure. Approximately every 10 minutes a new number of Bitcoins are released (this will differ for other cryptocurrencies) to a miner. This works like a lottery where the miners with the most computing power have a higher chance of winning. Miners can either operate individually or join a pool of other miners and split the mining rewards between them.
Miners can use CPUs, GPUs, or ASICs. The majority of individuals tend to perform GPU mining as they are more powerful than CPUs but still affordable compared to the more powerful ASICs. So to answer the question ‘what is GPU mining,’ – it is the process of supporting a cryptocurrency’s network with your graphics card, in the hope of ‘winning’ newly released cryptocurrency. So most Bitcoin GPU mining done now is generally at a loss by people who are mining for a bit of fun or learning more about it.
If GPUs were to be used to mine coins on the SHA-256 algorithm (i.e., Bitcoin mining GPUs/Bitcoin mining cards), the returns would be minimal, and you would likely be operating at a loss when hardware and electricity costs are considered, as your GPU will be unable to compete with the more powerful ASICs. There is no best Bitcoin mining graphics card, as they are all doubtful to be profitable for Bitcoin mining. This applies for AMD Bitcoin mining and Nvidia Bitcoin mining video cards, as we will be reviewing cards from both companies in this article.
If you want to use a GPU to increase your Bitcoin holdings, a better strategy would be to mine other coins and then sell your mined cryptocurrency immediately for Bitcoin, rather than looking for a profitable Bitcoin graphics card/the best video card for Bitcoin mining. It is also possible to sell your hashpower to the highest bidder and not even worry about what is the best cryptocurrency to mine, so this may be worth considering too.
The coin you choose to mine with your GPU is an essential factor to consider too, as different GPUs are more efficient at mining different coins. The best currencies to mine with GPU will change over time. The best coin to mine with GPU 2017 is very unlikely to be the best coin to mine with GPU 2019.
AMD Radeon RX 580
The AMD Radeon RX 580 costs approximately $200.00 for 8GB of memory. The AMD Radeon RX 580 is a mid-range graphics card targeting those operating on a budget. The AMD Radeon RX 580 is a powerful graphics card given its price, with very few genuine competitors at that price range.
The AMD Radeon RX 580 was launched in 2017, has a hashrate of 27.5 MH/s and works best for the Ethash mining algorithm. The best-known coins using the Ethash algorithm are Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, so the AMD Radeon RX 580 is a good Ethereum mining GPU. The AMD Radeon RX 580 is powerful enough for 24-hour mining. The AMD Radeon RX 580 is also an efficient GPU for mining cryptocurrencies that use the CryptoNight algorithm, such as Monero.
AMD advises the typical power requirement of the AMD Radeon RX 580 is 185W. Although this is for more general use, so for mining, you may only need 120W-150W depending on the algorithm you use. It is generally the case that you will use less electricity for mining than quoted by the manufacturer. The AMD Radeon RX580 was widely considered to be one of if not the best GPU for Bitcoin mining 2017.
AMD Radeon RX 570
The AMD Radeon RX 570 costs approximately $160.00 for 8GB of memory. The AMD Radeon RX 570 is more of a value graphics card than the AMD Radeon RX 580. When it comes to general use, there is very little difference between the AMD Radeon RX 570 and the AMD Radeon RX 580.
AMD advises the typical power requirement of the AMD Radeon RX 570 is 150W. The AMD Radeon RX 570 has come under criticism for not being very power efficient, so it may not be the best card for mining Ethereum. Although when optimized the RX 570 hashrate Ethereum is slightly more efficient than the AMD Radeon RX 580, with the RX 570 Ethereum hashrate at 27.9MH/s vs. 27.5MH/s. Like the AMD Radeon RX 580, the AMD Radeon RX 570 can be used for 24-hour mining. The AMD Radeon RX 570 can also be used to mine two different cryptocurrencies simultaneously.
Like the AMD Radeon RX 580, the AMD Radeon RX 570 is most efficient when using the Ethash algorithm. The RX 570 is also very efficient mining coins using the CryptoNight algorithm.
Both the AMD Radeon RX 570 and AMD Radeon RX 580 have been criticized for being less power efficient than their Polaris predecessors on which they are based.
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 is a higher-end GPU than the AMD Radeon RX 580 and AMD Radeon RX 570. Although the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 costs approximately $300.00, it may not be the best value GPU when compared to others which are at around the same price point.
AMD advises the typical power requirement of the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 is 210W. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 hashrate is higher than the AMD Radeon RX 580 or the AMD Radeon RX 570 at 36.5 MH/s. Despite the high RX Vega hashrate, when compared to the AMD Radeon RX 570, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56’s electricity usage is 40% higher, while the AMD Vega hashrate is only 31% higher. So the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 is less efficient than the AMD Radeon RX 570.
Click here for a more detailed review of the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 vs. other GPUs (including a GPU hashrate chart). The analysis also concludes that although the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 may be more powerful, it is not as efficient as some of the cheaper options available, such as the AMD Radeon RX 570.
AMD Radeon RX 470
The AMD Radeon RX 470 costs approximately $200.00 for 8GB of memory, so is a very cheap GPU for mining. Although the AMD Radeon RX 470 was an excellent GPU when it was released it only cost 5% more for the more powerful AMD Radeon RX 480. This resulted in the RX 470 being an unpopular AMD mining card as the AMD Radeon RX 480 is seen as being the better value.
The AMD Radeon RX 470 is most profitable when used to mine coins using the Ethash mining algorithm. The AMD Radeon RX 470 is also efficient at mining coins using the CryptoNight algorithm, such as Monero and Digibyte.
The AMD Radeon RX 470 uses the least power out of all the AMD GPUs covered in this article, with only 120W of usage. The AMD Radeon RX 470 graphics card hashrate is 26.0 MH/s. This makes the RX 470 the most efficient and arguably the best AMD mining GPU of the four AMD GPUs covered in this article.
Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti
Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti is Nvidia’s flagship gaming GPU. The Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti costs approximately $900.00 for 11GB of memory. This price point is to be expected for those looking to build a high-end gaming PC. However for those wanting to use the GPU to mine cryptocurrency, the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti’s high hashrate is probably not worth the extra cost or increased electricity consumption. So despite being a very good graphics card, it might not be such a sound mining graphics card.
The Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti has a hashrate when mining Ethereum of 36.0 MH/s. The most profitable coins to mine with the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti are those using the Mimblewimble algorithm, such as Beam or Grin. The Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti is not one of the best Ethereum mining cards. Although not covered in this article the GTX 1080 mining Ethereum hashrate is 20.35 MH/s, which is considerably lower than the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti, with electricity usage of 180W.
Nvidia advises the typical power requirement of the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti is 250W, making it the highest hashrate GPU covered in this article. Combined with the higher cost of $900.00, would mean it could take a long time to recover your costs. The Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti is probably not better value than any of the AMDs covered concerning cryptocurrency mining.
Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti
The Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti costs approximately $600.00 for 8GB of memory, which is significantly cheaper than the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti.
Nvidia advises the typical power requirement of the Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti is 180W, although it looks like it is only 120W if used for mining. The Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti has a hashrate of 43.27 MH/s, which is by far the most powerful of the GPUs covered so far. Like the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti, the Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti is most profitable when mining Mimblewimble coins.
The Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti is more efficient than any of the GPUs covered so far. As the AMDs are, however, significantly cheaper the price and impact on time until breakeven would need to be taken into consideration when deciding which GPU to purchase. Although of all the Nvidias covered in this article the Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti may be the best video card for mining Ethereum.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 mining card costs approximately $540.00 for 8GB of memory. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 is cheaper than both the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti and the Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti. However, as expected, it is also the least powerful. This would make GTX 1070 Bitcoin mining extremely inefficient, even more so than for the other GPUs, as the GTX 1070 Bitcoin hashrate is very low.
Nvidia advises the typical power requirement of the Nvidia GTX 1070 is 150W. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 hashrate Ethereum is 32.00 MH/s, which makes it significantly less powerful than the Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti and less efficient. So the GTX 1070 mining performance is not great. It is doubtful the slightly lower price is enough to offset such a vast difference in the efficiency of the GTX 1070 mining Ethereum. The Nvidia GTX 1070 is most profitable when mining Mimblewimble coins.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 may not be the best card for mining. Both the Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti and the Nvidia GTX 1070 have come under criticism for their cooling ability. This could be an issue if you will be using them to mine cryptocurrency 24 hours a day. Despite this, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 is often ranked well in the best GPU for mining 2019 by various websites including Tech Radar.
Nvidia GTX 1060
The Nvidia GTX 1060 costs approximately $300.00 for 6GB of memory, making it by far the cheapest of all the Nvidia mining GPUs covered in this article.
Nvidia advises the typical power requirement of the Nvidia GTX 1060 is 120W, so the Nvidia GTX 1060 uses the least electricity of all the Nvidia mining cards covered. The Nvidia GTX 1060 has a hashrate of 23.5 MH/s, which is by far the lowest of all the Nvidia mining video cards covered. However, despite the low hashrate, the Nvidia GTX 1060 is fairly efficient due to its low electricity usage. The low price is also a big pull for the Nvidia GTX 1060 as the payback period will likely be quicker than for the more efficient NVidia’s.
Unlike the other Nvidias covered in this article the most profitable coin to mine for the Nvidia GTX 1060 is Aeternity, with coins using the Ethash mining algorithm the most profitable after that.
Ethereum Mining Hardware Comparison GPU (including Ethereum GPU Hashrate Chart)
The below table shows a GPU mining comparison for all 8 GPUs reviewed, to help you make the right decision and build the best mining rig possible. Each GPU has been ranked based on its hashrate divided by its electricity (i.e., efficiency), as a GPU hash rate comparison is not the only factor that should be considered. However, this Ethereum mining GPU list ranking does not consider the initial outlay that would be required when buying the GPUs.
So the highest ranked (and therefore arguably the best graphics card for mining) Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti costs $600 and would take longer to pay for itself than the second-ranked AMD Radeon RX 470, which only costs $200. So this is something that would need to be taken into consideration when considering the best card for Ethereum mining (ETH mining GPU). Furthermore, Nvidia GPU mining generally has a higher initial outlay required than AMD GPU mining.
It is worth adding the hashrates below are the hashrates when mining Ethereum, effectively making the table an Ethereum mining GPU comparison. As they are all doubtful to be profitable for Bitcoin mining, so there is no point trying to find the best graphics card for Bitcoin mining.
|GPU||Price||GPU Hash rate||Most Efficient Mining||Electricity Usage||Hashrate / Elec||Rank|
|AMD Radeon RX 580||$200.00||27.5 MH/s||Ethash||185W||0.149||7|
|AMD Radeon RX 570||$160.00||27.9 MH/s||Ethash||150W||0.186||5|
|AMD Radeon RX Vega 56||$300.00||36.5 MH/s||Ethash||210W||0.174||6|
|AMD Radeon RX 470||$200.00||26.0 MH/s||Ethash||120W||0.217||2|
|Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti||$900.00||36.0 MH/s||Mimblewimble||250W||0.144||8|
|Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti||$600.00||43.27 MH/s||Mimblewimble||180W||0.240||1|
|Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070||$540.00||32.0 MH/s||Mimblewimble||150W||0.213||3|
|Nvidia GTX 1060||$300.00||23.5 MH/s||Aeternity||120W||0.196||4|
Best GPU for Mining Ethereum
Unfortunately, as explained at the beginning of this article, GPUs are not efficient at mining Bitcoin. However, some GPUs can still mine Ethereum at a profit. So what is the best graphics card for Ethereum mining? The AMD GPUs covered are better at mining Ethereum, than the Nvidia’s. As although they are generally lower Ethereum hashrate GPUs, they are more efficient – as shown by the above Ethereum GPU comparison. The most efficient, and arguably the best GPU for Ethereum, is the AMD Radeon RX 470.
Although not covered in this article, the AMD Radeon RX 480 may also be worth looking at when considering the best graphics card for mining Ethereum. The AMD Radeon RX 480 Ethereum hashrate is 29.3 MH/s, with an electricity usage of 150W. Another to consider when deciding the best mining GPU 2019 is the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64. The RX Vega 64 mining hashrate is 40.0 MH/s with an electricity usage of 295W. Thich is likely to be too high to make it a good GPU, despite the high RX Vega 64 hashrate. The AMD Radeon R9 290x is also popular, the R9 290x hashrate is 23.2MH/s.
In conclusion, there is no best GPU for mining Bitcoin because of how difficult it is to compete with ASICs. However, there are plenty of GPUs that can still be used for profitable mining, even if there is no ‘best GPU for Bitcoin mining.’ Although certain GPUs are better than others at mining different coins and algorithms, there is no GPU to rule them all. Various factors should be considered, as well as efficiency and price. Factors to consider could be the level of noise GPUs generate, the amount of heat they give off, and the amount of space they will need. All these factors should be considered when purchasing a GPU(s) for cryptocurrency mining.