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Is GPU Mining a Thing of the Past?

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February 6, 2018 | 

Joanna Newman |  0 Comments| 

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Nvidia recently made some waves when they stated that they’re becoming much more interested in cryptocurrencies. They also added that they’re still putting gamers first. With newer ASICs dedicated to mining, GPU mining has become much less profitable than it used to be. Nobody’s arguing with that. The real question here, however, revolves around whether or not GPU mining is still a worthwhile endeavour.

GPU Mining Profitability Varies


Not all graphics cards are created equal, with different strengths and weaknesses for each. Similarly, different companies specialized in different areas. Nvidia, for example, centers around PC gaming, while AMD has long been seen as a number-crunching champ. That ability is important when it comes to mining. It allows for more transactions to be ‘solved’ in a shorter amount of time, thus earning the miner more for their efforts.

Plenty of Options Available


While AMD is seen as an overall winner in the eyes of miners, Nvidia has been stepping up their game, with their high-end GPUs outperforming those of AMD. Their mid-range offerings, however, still far well short of AMDs capabilities. There is a huge market for GPUs to be used in mining rigs and the gamers seem to be losing the fight for the most part. The price of GPUs has spiked as manufacturers struggle to keep up with demand.

GPU Mining Driving Prices Higher For Gamers


This demand is absolutely enormous. Even Asus has capitalized on the trend, with a motherboard that’s designed specifically for miners. With gamers unwilling to pay higher prices for their graphics cards, however, Nvidia and AMD have seen sharp declines in profit. Adding to this decline is the fact that ASICs have largely replaced GPUs in the eyes of miners. Their move away from GPU mining is probably a good thing for gamers, but not everyone is ready to move to ASICs.

ASICs Do Have Their Benefits, Despite Their Limitations


To begin with, ASICs are loud and, therefore, aren’t recommended for home use. Require an additional computer to operate and do need a certain level of finesse. Furthermore, they can only utilize one algorithm and they get extremely hot. Due to this issue, ASICs require much more impressive cooling systems than a GPU rig. They also can’t be used for anything other than mining and have a short life-span, which can be problematic. ASICs do, however, have the best potential for higher payouts in the long run.

GPUs Are Still Able To Compete


GPUs, on the other hand, are able to mine any type of coin and are infinitely more flexible than ASICs. They have a higher resale value than used ASICs and can be used for much more than just mining. Their BIOS can also be easily upgraded, which can provide additional performance benefits. Running a rig with multiple GPUs can be quite profitable, although they do draw a lot of power. This can make mining unsustainable in places that have higher rates. GPUs are also much less efficient than ASICs across the board. They will earn you profits, but they won’t be nearly as much.

The Future Looks Optimistic For GPU Mining


When it comes down to it, there are advantages to both GPU and ASIC mining rigs, with GPUs being much more user-friendly. They also require less technical know-how and miners don’t need to go out of their way to make space for them. It’s all up to the individual user and how much work they’re willing to put in. That being the case, GPU mining will continue to be relevant. Even with Nvidia gearing their products towards gamers, there will always be a market in GPUs for mining. AMD is less staunch about their support for gamers and it seems likely that they’re likely to accommodate the mining market. This may not be sustainable in the long-run, as ASICs and more dedicated miners become more advanced, but GPU mining isn’t going anywhere just yet.

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