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Which GPU Is Best for Mining Ethereum? AMD and Nvidia Cards, Tested

Modifying A Radeon's BIOS

Aside from the R9 390, we tested each Radeon card with its original BIOS and a version of the firmware we modified ourselves to optimize GDDR5 memory timings with multiple straps, thanks to the AtiWinflash and PolarisBiosEditor utilities.

The latest version of PBE makes this easier. While it was previously necessary to manually copy the timings used on one strap to the next-higher strap, a simple button in the GUI now lets us apply better timings to each strap. This modification is mostly useless with Sapphire's RX 470 Mining, though, as the manufacturer already tuned its memory in the mining-specific BIOS.

Of course, we could always modify the firmware more extensively by adding intermediary straps or hard-coding the voltages/frequencies. For now, we're happy with our simpler adjustments, particularly since the stability of each tweak needs to be verified before considering it successful.

At this point, AMD's drivers must be patched with the ATI Pixel Clock Patcher in order to allow the graphics card to function with a modified BIOS.

How Well Does It Work?

Next, we measured the performance changes using 3DMark's Time Spy benchmark. Pleasantly, performance increases a little after our adjustments. Just remember that this is one specific case and just one sample, so there's no way to generalize about gaming performance based on these numbers. And contrary to our mining tests, we had to increase the GDDR5's voltage a little to stabilize the cards for 3D workloads.

MORE: The Ethereum Effect: Graphics Card Price Watch


MORE: How To Mine Ethereum Now


MORE: Experiment: Build a (Profitable) Ethereum Mining Rig From Spare Parts


MORE: Top 25 Cryptocurrencies By Market Cap


MORE: Best Graphics Cards

  • abryant
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3520934/ethereum-mining-performance-geforce-radeon.html
    Reply
  • kubex.00714
    Do you know why my gtx970 is stuck at 10 Mh/s?
    Reply
  • Integr8d
    I like hot Toms laments the prices of GPUs, due to the mining craze, and then publishes articles like this...
    Reply
  • derekullo
    20677340 said:
    I like hot Toms laments the prices of GPUs, due to the mining craze, and then publishes articles like this...
    If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
    If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
    If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

    Reply
  • WyomingKnott
    Add some workstation cards to the review. If they turn out to be hashmasters, it would relieve the strain on the graphics card market.

    fat chance.
    Reply
  • derekullo
    20677421 said:
    Add some workstation cards to the review. If they turn out to be hashmasters, it would relieve the strain on the graphics card market.

    fat chance.

    A titan V would have handily crushed any of the cards here with its 70+ MH/s Eth rate.

    https://hothardware.com/reviews/nvidia-titan-v-volta-gv100-gpu-review?page=5
    But when it comes to making your money back you use:
    Cost of graphics card / Megahashes per second (Easy to understand formula, real formula at the bottom)

    For the Geforce 1060 that comes out to roughly

    $400 / 25MH/s or 16 dollars per megahash (I was able to buy 4 1060s for about $300 each a few months ago. Score!!!)

    For the Geforce Titan V that comes out to roughly

    $5000 / 82MH/s or 61 dollars per megahash.

    As you can see it would take at least 3.8 times as long for a Titan V to pay itself off, not including the power cost.

    This isn't the most true comparison due to not taking power into account, but still gives an easily understandable way of seeing why a $5000 GPU isn't worth mining with.

    You could have simply bought 3 Geforce 1060s and had a similar hash rate for cheaper.

    The goal here being to make back the price of the graphics cards, then everything else is gravy.



    Ideally I would have used the formula of

    Cost of graphics card / Spreadsheet calculated monthly income taking power and other fluctuations into account.

    to calculate on average how long a graphics card would take to pay itself off.

    You can also use the calculator on https://whattomine.com/ to quickly calculate the "Spreadsheet calculated monthly income"
    Reply
  • aquielisunari
    Sun Tzu
    If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
    If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
    If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

    Reply
  • aquielisunari
    Bad job Tom's. Just add fuel to the GFX card debacle. Irresponsible and just wrong. First the user must go out and OVERSPEND on a GFX card and then follow this article and start mining and increase the shortages even further. Hm, good job Tom, good job.
    Reply
  • derekullo
    20677582 said:
    Bad job Tom's. Just add fuel to the GFX card debacle. Irresponsible and just wrong. First the user must go out and OVERSPEND on a GFX card and then follow this article and start mining and increase the shortages even further. Hm, good job Tom, good job.

    Tom's gave you all the information needed for you to decide whether to mine or not.

    Let me paint it a bit simpler.

    Lets assume you believe the price of Ethereum is going to stay at what it is today, currently $709, forever.

    Plugging in all that information into whattomine.com gives us:

    https://whattomine.com/coins/151-eth-ethash?utf8=%E2%9C%93&hr=22.5&p=90.0&fee=1.0&cost=0.06&hcost=400&commit=Calculate
    (0.06$/kWh is my power cost in my area)

    Or $38.78 monthly profit or a 309 day repayment.

    If you are confident that Ethereum's price will stay the same or maybe even rise then you could expect to recoup your $400 purchase in at max 309 days.

    If 309 days is too long to wait or you are unsure about cryptocurrencies then stay out of the water.

    Reply
  • WyomingKnott
    @aquielisunari
    I don't think that Tom's is going to advance mining much; our longtime enthusiast members mostly won't get into it and it's widely enough known already. A little extra knowledge for those of us on the sidelines and, who knows, maybe miners will concentrate on the most efficient cards and the price of the rest will go down. Not an issue for me, I'm running a fanless GT430, so what do I care about current prices?
    Reply