Mining on video cards (GPUs) – a complete guide

GPU-mining (video card mining) can use the graphics processor or video card memory on some algorithms and can be used to mine ether as well as other types of cryptocurrencies called altcoins. In addition, a few years ago, this method of mining Ethereum became the most profitable.

As a result, the demand for mining continues to grow even now, creating a tense situation between miners and gamers who are competing to buy video cards.

What is GPU (video card) mining? GPU mining is the process of solving complex mathematical problems to verify electronic transactions using computer components – in this case, a video card. Miners who participate in this process can either create digital coins or get paid for their processing power in cryptocurrency.

However, the world of mining has become very fast-paced these days, and if you don’t have powerful video cards for mining to help with the very complex calculation process of mining cryptocurrencies, you have the risk of not even recouping your investment in buying the cards. That means you won’t be able to make any money, but that doesn’t mean that video card mining is dead.

So for the main purpose of this guide, I wanted to go into more detail about GPU mining and how it all works so that novice miners can better understand what it is all about. By the end of this guide, you will be a pro at understanding the complexities of GPU mining. Before we get started, however, there are a few things you should know about GPU mining. Let’s get started.


What is mining and how does it work on video cards?

Mining is essentially running software to solve complex mathematical problems in order to verify transactions in a cryptocurrency blockchain. Once the miner solves the mathematical problem, the reward is the portion of the cryptocurrency associated with the mining. These verified transactions are the basis of how decentralized cryptocurrency can function as legal currency.

Cryptocurrency miners use their equipment to calculate a certain number called a “nonce”, or “number used only once”. This nonce is entered into a hash function (e.g., SHA-256) and calculated. Since the miner does not know the exact value of the nonce, a lot of calculations have to be done in parallel to quickly obtain the right number. This is where GPUs come into play.

Graphics cards are specifically designed for rendering 3D graphics and shapes. This requires complex mathematical calculations that need to be done in parallel. For example, if you play Call of Duty Warzone, Dota2, CS GO then the GPU of your computer or console must not only render the entire game world (including shadows, lighting and lights), but also character models, weapons, bullets and game physics simultaneously. This requires the ability to compute a huge number of calculations at the same time, and this is something that graphics cards are very good at.

The same applies to GPU mining, where the many thousands of parallel processing cores in modern GPUs allow them to perfectly handle the complex mathematical tasks required to calculate miners’ hashes and, ultimately, to obtain cryptocurrency.

How bitcoin is mined at the moment

In 2013, ASIC or application-specific integrated circuits miners took over the bitcoin mining scene, forcing many miners to switch their “legacy” mining video cards to Scrypt-based “altcoins” such as Litecoin and Dogecoin. The excitement didn’t last long, as companies rushed to develop ASIC miners for Scrypt as well. As a result, Scrypt-based altcoins plummeted, ruining ROI.

Moreover, in 2018, many other significant cryptocurrencies were mainly mined using ASICs. Therefore, those who mine these coins today with GPUs (graphics cards) or CPUs (processors) should join large mining pools, there is very little chance to mine a block in any cryptocurrency alone.

Such pools use large capacities, specially configured to solve complex cryptographic puzzles created by these mining algorithms. Therefore, it is practically pointless and extremely unprofitable to fight them with GPUs. Thus, the mass transition of miners to ASIC is easily justified.

ASIC miners are designed exclusively for mining and are considered one of the most efficient types of mining chipsets today. For example, one integrated circuit integrated circuit (ASIC) miner is equivalent to the processing power of several hundred graphics processors.

Even though GPUs have less processing power than these more advanced miners, they can still be used to mine cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Zcoin, Grin, Ravencoin and others. Nvidia and AMD make the most famous video cards for mining because they offer a practical way to get into cryptocurrency mining without spending a lot of money.

Moreover, since there are relatively cheap video cards and yet flexibly configurable, you can use multiple cards on the same motherboard, mining different cryptocurrencies at the same time. The user can also reconfigure his rig to mine different coins depending on which coin is most effective to mine at a given time, without much downtime or problems.

Video cards have now become the norm for home mining ever since CPUs became irrelevant for mining cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. It’s relatively easy to start GPU mining, especially if you already have a computer equipped with a gaming card. The main costs come from building a mining rig, which can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the type of miner.

What is video card mining?

Before we start to break down the process of GPU mining, we need to explain what cryptocurrency mining is. In simple terms, mining is a method of using the computing power of a CPU, GPU, or ASIC to hash blocks and validate transactions in a so-called blockchain, which is a public ledger of all past transactions.

When you start mining, your mining equipment receives tiny bits of information from the blockchain network, which it then processes. This process is known as hashing or proof-of-work, and your computer power is used to solve complex mathematical problems that ultimately earn you a reward.

Therefore, GPU mining in this example is computing transactions and recording them in the public ledger of the cryptocurrency being mined, attaching them to all past transactions, which is also known as proof-of-work. This record of transactions carried over from the past is known as blockchain because it resembles a chain of blocks in digital form. Blockchain helps confirm transactions to the rest of the chain as having taken place.

The current state of GPU mining

This year the search for a new graphics card for a computer has become a nightmare. More and more people upgrading their computers, combined with the global shortage of chips and the growing popularity of mining, have inflated the price of graphics processors. For miners, this meant a longer period of time for a video card to recoup the initial investment. If all factors remained the same as they are now, the payback time would be six months to a year.

In traditional investing, this rate of return on investment (ROI) is not common. Even in the technology sector, the average annual ROI is 22.54%. So how big is the GPU mining industry if it is so profitable?

The Ethereum mining industry alone is nothing special: it currently generates 33 million euros (the value of ETH) in revenue every day, which means ~12 billion euros per year. By comparison, this is on par with major Finnish companies such as Neste, KONE and American graphics giant NVIDIA. There are large Ethereum mining companies that rely on revenues from GPU mining.

There are dozens of options for GPU miners besides Ethereum. The second largest income from GPU mining comes from Ravencoin – 285 million euros of turnover per year. The total annual revenue of the top six without Ethereum is just under 800 million euros (ETC, RVN, ERG, CFX, BTG). If you look at the data on the various coins that can be mined using GPUs, you can estimate that the rest of the industry in terms of revenue and computing power invested is less than a tenth of Ethereum mining. While there are many options, there is no competition in the first place. But it will be.

Cloud mining

The essence, as the name suggests, is to rent mining facilities, with which you will mine the cryptocurrency. It removes almost all the risks from you: you don’t need any equipment, no time costs, and in case of failure you don’t risk anything additionally. On the other hand, the relevance depends on current rates and prices. It might be easier to just buy cryptocurrency on the exchange.

cloud mining

Mining on your phone

Yes, there is such a possibility. The essence is the same, only for the process the video gas pedal of the smartphone is used. Of course, the profitability will be tiny, but the battery wear and overheating of the device is ensured.

phone mining

How much are miners paid?

Mining is also a tool used to distribute new digital currencies online: Miners are compensated for any transaction fees accrued, as well as a “bonus” in the form of newly created coins for each correctly hashed block. This serves two purposes.

  1. Decentralized distribution of new coins.
  2. Motivating miners to secure the network.

As more users join the network, the block creation rate increases. As the block creation rate increases, the complexity increases to counterbalance this effect, which can subsequently lead to a lower block creation rate. Any blocks that malicious miners attempt to create and that do not meet the given complexity will be rejected by all miners in the network and thus become practically useless.

The complexity of any cryptocurrency mining network mined on a video card is a measure of how difficult it is to mine a new block, and this compares to how easy it is to mine.

In addition, the mining difficulty is adjusted every n number of blocks, which varies from blockchain to blockchain, to a value that is measured based on how fast or slow the previous set of blocks is generated, given that everyone mined at the current difficulty. The purpose of this is to control the rate at which new blocks are created and to ensure that all miners are fairly rewarded for mining. This also ensures that blocks are not generated quickly, which would lead to currency inflation.

As of this writing, one Ethereum block is currently worth 2 Eth, which is about $5,000. The miner or mining pool that first correctly hashes the block gets rewarded for participating in verifying transactions on the network. This is what miners get paid for.

Why use a video card and not a processor for mining?

In the beginning, mining cryptocurrencies using a central processing unit (CPU) on a laptop or desktop computer was the only option for mining cryptocurrencies and was done with the original Satoshi mining software.

However, as the Bitcoin network continued to evolve and earn more coins, miners began to adopt faster software and hardware, and for several years now, mining on a CPU has been relatively trivial. These days you can mine Bitcoin using your laptop’s CPU and not earn a single coin. Nevertheless, CPU mining is still used in some cryptocurrencies that can be mined.

Simply put, GPUs are much faster and more efficient for mining coins like Ehthereum compared to CPUs. The CPU architecture is designed to be like a Swiss Army knife, capable of performing many different tasks.

Whereas graphics processors are designed mainly for rendering graphics, which makes them extremely limited in their capabilities. Because of the nature of their architecture, GPUs are only effective for complex tasks that can be solved with graphics processing, because the hardware can only be used in a certain way.

This is what makes graphics cards so effective at solving the complex algorithms needed to mine cryptocurrency, for the same reason that they are good for rendering games on your computer screen. GPUs are capable of performing relatively simple computational tasks, but doing a bunch of things at the same time. And that, my friend, is what makes them so suitable for cryptocurrency mining.

What is a GPU mining rig?

mining farm

Basically, a mining rig can be a regular home gaming computer or one built specifically for mining. That’s right; you can use your regular home computer to mine cryptocurrencies, although you can’t use it for much else as long as it’s hashing. For maximum efficiency and profit, it is better to use a dedicated server.

If you want to know how to build a GPU mining rig, you should ideally use the latest GPU mining hardware so that your rig is not obsolete in a few years. Since GPU mining rigs are a lot like a regular computer, they require computer components such as video cards, motherboard, processor, RAM, power supply and a few others.

You can even build mining rigs with multiple graphics cards and dedicated GPUs. When properly configured, these cards can provide unprecedented performance. Don’t worry if you’re not very knowledgeable about computer hardware, all you have to do is go to our discord and we’ll be happy to help you.

What’s the best card for mining these days

To be honest, this is a topic for a separate big article, which will soon appear on our website, but in the meantime I will try to briefly describe the main nuances that you should pay attention to when choosing a card. When choosing the best GPU for mining cryptocurrencies, there are several aspects to consider, but the most important one is the hash rate. It should be offered at a price you can afford, so that you have a chance to get a return on your investment. Finally, the power consumption should be low enough so that you don’t spend more on electricity than you earn.

Three factors to consider when buying a GPU for mining:

  1. Hashrate (the speed at which it can mine).
  2. Price (must be reasonable to get a return on investment).
  3. Power consumption (preferably low power to save power).

Remember, the more power a GPU requires, the more expensive it is to run, which can negate any chance of making a profit. When it comes to which is better, AMD or Nvidia, you can argue.

After all, the best GPU for mining is constantly changing, so be sure to check out our current list of preferred mining cards.

Videocard vs. CPU

gpu mining

Every standard computer is equipped with a central processing unit (CPU), which is a computing device that acts as the master of the entire computer system. It performs control functions for the entire computer based on the logic of the operating system and software installed on the computer. Typical functions, such as saving this file in MS Word format, printing this spreadsheet, or launching a video in VLC Media Player, are controlled by the CPU.

A graphics card is another computing device, but one that works solely to process display functions. It is the part of the computer that is responsible for the video rendering system.

The typical function of the GPU is to perform and control rendering of visual effects and 3D graphics, so that the CPU does not have to deal with the minutest details of video rendering services. It takes care of graphics-intensive tasks such as video editing, game displaying, decoding and rendering 3D video and animation.

To make an analogy, the master (CPU), which manages the entire organization (computer system), has a special employee (GPU), which deals with a specialized department (video rendering functions).

This arrangement allows the CPU to perform a variety of high-level tasks to control the entire computer, while the GPU is responsible for the video functions in which it is an expert. The CPU will perform the function of opening a video file in Windows Media Player, but once the file opens, the GPU will take over the task of displaying it correctly.

What coins are better to mine on video cards

Until recently, the best answer to the question of the best coin for GPU mining has always been Ethereum when it comes to GPU mining. In 2018, however, ASIC miners have invaded this coin, making the competition to find a block a bit unfair. And 4x and smaller gig cards can no longer load a dot file and therefore can’t mine ether. The good news is that there are many other altcoins that can be mined using GPUs these days in crypto mining.

Now mostly miners who have cards with 6+ gigabytes left to mine ether or use dual mining, such as ton+eth. And those who have video cards with less memory are mining ton (no more than 6-12 months left to mine it) or rvn coin.

Finally, I would like to mention Ravencoin as another top choice because it has recently taken additional measures to prevent ASIC miners from mining its chain. Ravencoin attracts miners by the fact that it is open-source and has more development, just like Eth, but it has more decentralized features, which creates a fair opportunity for GPU-mining.

As discussed at the beginning of this guide, mining bitcoin is no longer profitable due to the rapidly increasing difficulty of mining due to the rapid development of bitcoin mining hardware. However, there are several workarounds by which you can earn bitcoins on GPUs and even on CPUs using special mining software.

GPU mining software

Mining software is what makes your GPU or even CPU mine coins. Without the use of these programs, your computer or installation would be virtually useless for mining. It allows you to easily manage, control and connect your mining rig to a network or coin mining pool so that you can quickly start earning coins.

Essentially, these mining programs use the processing power of your mining rig/computer and use it to hash it on the network of your choice. There is also software available these days that can determine which coin is most profitable to mine at any given time. This software can take a lot of the guesswork out of the equation to know that you are getting the most out of your hardware.

List of mining software :

  • Kryptex
  • Any batik – lol miner, nbminer, t-rex and others
  • NiceHash
  • CGMiner
  • MultiMiner
  • BitMinter

Today’s list of mining software is much more extensive than that developed by Satoshi when bitcoin mining was in its infancy. Today, there are many ways to choose software to start making a profit: some are great, some are bad, and even some are in between.

Of all the programs we recommend in our list of Bitcoin mining software, one seems to outshine them all. Cudo Miner was recently developed to make mining easy and convenient for gamers and miners. While easy to use, it is packed with many additional features that will impress even professional miners.

mining equipment

Overclocking GPUs for mining

Overclocking is a way to improve the performance of your mining equipment, and when it comes to mining, it really helps increase your profits. It can also be a major cause of mining equipment crashes and freezes, so you have to be careful when trying to perform this action.

Basically you access the hardware management and change the clock frequency settings so that it can run more processes per second (e.g. MSI afterburner, photo of the program below). Most hardware manufacturers will warn you that this will void the warranty they provide. However, using a moderate overclock of the GPU can help increase the number of coins you can mine in a day, while reducing the overall power of the GPU to save on power.

This can also cause the GPU to run cooler if done correctly. The main thing I want to emphasize is that you need a lot of experimentation to find the optimal settings for mining.

Overclocking GPUs for mining

Profitability of video card mining

Unfortunately, when it comes to how much profit can be made from GPU mining, there is no short and simple answer. Like all investments in cryptocurrencies, this type of activity is not without risk. That being said, the point of mining for profit is obvious, but mining is not always profitable. As a rule of thumb, never invest money you can’t afford to lose.

The reason it is not easy to predict what your financial outcome will be is because there are many dynamically changing factors. For example, the cost of electricity varies greatly from country to country.

Some of the other factors include the price of the cryptocurrency you choose to mine, which can also vary significantly from month to month. In addition, the price at which you agreed to buy your mining equipment will directly affect when you see a return on investment.

The good news is that there are sites that can give you an idea of how much you can potentially earn before you decide to invest in hardware. Sites like whattomine have reliable mining calculators that can determine many things, such as which coin is best to mine with a particular GPU and how much profit you can make daily for a given power and equipment rate.

The video card shortage continues

Around December 2020, a massive crypto boom began as the price of bitcoin and Ehereum skyrocketed. This caused cryptocurrency miners to quickly buy up video cards, which accounted for 25% of all video card sales. Unfortunately, this contributed to the current GPU shortage and forced Nvidia to limit the hash rate of new 30-series cards.

Despite the huge disadvantages of mining cryptocurrencies on graphics cards, the positive thing is that graphics cards can still be sold on the secondary market due to their universal use. ASICs, by definition, cannot be misused and therefore lose a lot of value if the particular algorithm they are programmed for is not used.

In addition, if the prices of cryptocurrencies fall, it reduces the profitability of mining, which also reduces the demand for video cards and leads to the sale of GPUs that have lost profitability for mining, which can lead to a glut of used GPUs, which in turn will collapse their prices.

Ready to mine, what do I need to do?

Having determined that it is planned to mine with video cards, and having assembled the system, you can move on to a step-by-step plan. Let’s present the correct order of actions for a beginner miner after the moment when all the equipment is ready and the only thing left is to start the process.

1. Create a wallet at the crypto exchange.

If we are going to mine cryptocurrency, we need to store it somewhere. The easiest way to do that is to create an account on one of the popular exchange platforms (such as Binance, Bittrex or EXMO).After registration we create a wallet for the chosen altcoin – it will be a digital combination, which we will later write in the miner. Then the earned coins will automatically drop in our account, and then you can withdraw them via all available methods at a particular exchange, or go to all the trouble and do trading. Most likely, for convenient withdrawal of funds you will need to verify your account at the exchange, which may take a couple of weeks, so it’s better to do it at once.

wallet crypto exchange

Let`s mention that there are other ways to store your moneymoney: on a cold wallet-flash drive or on a personal computer while solo-mining (only relevant for very high hash rates), but they are much more complicated and involve the risk of losing everything if you lose a physical carrier.

2. Choose a mining pool.

In order to mine on video cards (with a small total hash rate), the most advantageous strategy is to join large groups, or pools. Each such pool can combine thousands of individual miners, and when a block is found, it divides the reward in proportion to the invested power between all participants. In this way, one can surely guarantee a stable income even to a participant with modest computing power.

There are many pools for mining Ethereum. When choosing, pay attention to ping (normally it should be less than 100 msec – the closer a server is located and the less ping is, the better), total hash rate of a pool and minimum payout threshold. Usually it is around 0.05-0.01 Ethereum, but may be even 0.5, which is not very good for us. The higher the hashrate of the pool, the more often it finds blocks and receives reward, and therefore the higher your personal income. Also check withdrawal commission (usually it’s about 1-2%) and reward payment method (usually PPLNS or PPS variants: it’s hard to say for sure what’s more profitable in your specific case; you should analyze it in process).

As an example of proven and popular pools we can give, Ethermine, f2pool or sparkpool. Changing the pool in the future is not particularly difficult, so usually the final choice is based on personal experience and statistics on the profits.2miners mining pool

3. Download and install the mining software.

The choice of mining client may depend on the choice of pool – some give their recommendations, and also provide for download ready assemblies with prescribed settings, so that you will have only to download the archive. For video cards from Nvidia and ATI different programs are used. For green ones, for example, among the best miners for Ethereum according to statistics are GMiner, T-Rex, Ethminer. They have shown themselves to be slightly more profitable than the others in terms of the number of balls per unit time, although the difference is only a few percent.

NBMiner  download

To set up the miner, you need to make changes to the bat file before launching it. You have to enter the address of your wallet, created earlier on the exchange (instead of “YOUR_ADDRESS”), and make sure that the address of the pool is correct. “RIG_ID” specifies the name of your farm – this is only for your convenience in case you have several farms. All the correct settings are always listed on the pool itself in the FAQ.

4. Fill in the last settings and start mining!

All basic steps are completed, the only thing left is to run the miner and get rewards for the mined blocks! However, it would be better to do some additional tuning of your equipment to make everything work more efficiently and stably.

the miner is up and running

You can use MSI Afterburner or similar programs to control video cards and their overclocking, as well as fan speeds. You can set your own speed curve relative to the video chip temperature. The normal temperature for mining can be considered an average below 70 ° C, and the best way to achieve values around 60 ° C – when working 24/7, this will avoid degradation of the chip and memory, and prolongs the life of the thermal gaskets. This can be achieved by lowering the power limit to 60-70°C, taking into account overclocking. For Ethereum mining, memory overclocking will matter, so it is a good idea to set the maximum stable value. Overclocking the core does not give such an increase, plus it significantly warms the chip, so its frequency can be left as it is.

To control the farm, there are also many programs for remote access and control. The old-fashioned way is to use, for example, TeamViewer. There are also mining-specific utilities that allow you to monitor the indicators and receive alerts (AllMiner, Awesome Miner, Miner Monitor and the like).

It remains to check whether the swap file is enabled in the system, remove the automatic switching of the system to sleep mode, add the miner to the list of exceptions of antivirus and firewall, and you can run the bat-file. If the connection to the pool is successful, it will be displayed in the window, and after a while you should see the first accepted balls – “ETH: Share Accepted!”. If that happened, you can rightfully consider yourself a miner, wipe sweat from your forehead and go relax while the farm earns you a crypto-state.

Risks of mining

In conclusion, I would also like to briefly go over the main risks of mining on video cards.

The main and most obvious one is the drop in the exchange rate by several times, which has already repeatedly occurred in the market, after which the profitability of the farm fell literally to the level of the outlet, and sometimes even lower. In such a situation, many can no longer afford further mining and sell the hardware that has fallen in value, which often does not even have time to pay for itself, thus fixing the losses.

As a rule, in this case it is more profitable to wait out the difficult time, so that the new rise will reward the spent nerves in full. In short, it is worth thinking through your actions in advance in such a scenario to minimize the possible losses.

Next – there is some danger inherent in the semi-legal status of cryptocurrency in our country. It is forbidden by law to buy or sell cryptocurrencies at the moment, and it is unknown which way the situation will turn in the future. It is possible that control over cryptocurrencies will become stricter, and it will become a problem to withdraw honestly minted funds into fiat.

Also, it is always worth remembering about possible problems with the placement of the farm, its maintenance, replacement of components in case of breakage, and the risk of buying components from hand. A miner should be doubly careful about digital security: if your account with a purse at the exchange is hacked, there is a high risk to lose everything stored there – and sometimes it happens not due to user’s fault, but due to a targeted attack on the exchange. It is possible that you will get your money back later, but it may take a long time to investigate.


I hope you liked what you read here, subscribe to our social networks to keep up to date with new articles. Remember that it is never too late to start mining on video cards, the main thing is to approach the purchase wisely and calculate all the risks and the main thing is not to invest the money that you are not ready to lose.  GPU mining gives a lot of opportunities to make money, and even if it doesn’t work out, there will always be an opportunity to sell your video cards to get most of your money back.

Frequently Asked Questions About GPU Mining


Can you play and mine at the same time?

Of course you can play and mine at the same time, though it is highly discouraged and can cause premature wear and tear on your GPU.

Will mining harm my GPU?

For the most part, GPU mining is relatively safe. However, there are ways that can damage the card, such as using too high overclocking settings or working in a high-temperature environment.

Can I buy a used GPU for mining?

Basically, I’ve seen a lot of reports about miners buying used GPUs with great success. Just make sure you stop at newer cards so you don’t buy outdated equipment.

What is GPU mining?

GPU mining is the process of using a graphics card (GPU) to perform complex calculations to validate transactions on a cryptocurrency network.

What are the benefits of GPU mining?

GPU mining allows for a higher hash rate, or the speed at which a miner can solve complex mathematical problems, compared to CPU mining. This can result in a higher chance of successfully mining a block and receiving a reward.

What types of cryptocurrencies can be mined with a GPU?

Many cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Monero, can be mined with a GPU. Some newer cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum 2.0, have shifted to a different consensus mechanism, like Proof of Stake, which cannot be mined by GPUs.

How many GPUs do I need to start mining?

The number of GPUs you need to start mining will depend on the specific cryptocurrency you are mining and the current difficulty level of the network. In general, more GPUs will result in a higher hash rate and a better chance of successfully mining a block.

Are there any risks associated with GPU mining?

Yes, there are several risks associated with GPU mining. The first is that the value of the mined cryptocurrency may decrease, making the mining process unprofitable. Additionally, the constant use of a GPU for mining can lead to overheating and wear and tear on the hardware.

How to choose best GPU for mining?

The best GPU for mining will vary depending on the specific cryptocurrency you are mining and the current difficulty level of the network. In general, newer and more powerful GPUs will provide a higher hash rate. Some of the best GPUs for mining currently are Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series and AMD Radeon RX 6000 series.

How to maintain and repair GPU for mining?

Keeping your GPU cool and dust-free is essential for maintaining its health. Clean the dust out of your computer regularly and make sure the GPU fan is functioning properly. Also, monitor the GPU temperature and adjust the fan speed accordingly. If the GPU is not working properly, try reinstalling the drivers or consulting the manufacturer for further assistance.

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