Now that we are at the tail end of 2020, the big hardware manufacturers are starting to announce their latest, fastest offerings set to be released ahead of the holiday season. Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency mining market continues to expand rapidly against all odds. Here’s an overview of which producers offer the best graphics cards in the market and which cards suit specific types of mining.
Bitcoin or Ether?
In terms of choosing a cryptocurrency to mine in 2020, there have been no significant changes. This year, most video cards continue to be able to mine Ether (ETH) or its forks. As for Bitcoin (BTC), mining of the world’s first cryptocurrency stopped being available to ordinary people a few years ago, as it requires serious investments, special equipment and access to large amounts of cheap electricity.
This is even more so the case now, as BTC mining is bringing in half the income after the reward halving took place in May. The difficulty of mining continues to increase, and in September, it updated to an all-time high of 19.31 trillion at block 649,152.
As a result, many popular devices such as the Antminer S9 have become obsolete. After the halving, the most profitable miners became the Whatsminer M30S ++ from the Chinese company MicroBT, which can deliver a hash rate of up to 112 terahashes per second and bring in just over $8.50 per day in profit, and Bitmain’s Antminer S19 Pro, which can reach a hash rate of 110 TH/s and see a daily profit of just under $8.50. But the prices of these miners are rather steep: A Whatsminer M30S++ costs $1,800, and the Antminer S19 Pro comes in at $2,407.
When it comes to Ether and its forks, graphics-card mining is once again becoming popular for several reasons. First, over the past two years, Ethereum’s hash rate has decreased by 15% (when compared with August 2018), now sitting at 256.221 TH/s. This means that Ether is now easier to mine.
Second, both modern and old models of cards can still be used for mining. For example, the Nvidia 1050 Ti, released in October 2016, and the Radeon RX 580, released in April 2017, are still very popular. Prices for such old cards are constantly decreasing as newer cards come out, which is encouraging miners to return to the market. But most importantly, the price of ETH tripled from the start of 2020 to the beginning of September, making Ether still very profitable to mine.
There is another factor that attracts the interest of miners: the upcoming transition to Ethereum 2.0 and a proof-of-stake algorithm, which is expected to commence before the end of the year. A spokesperson from WhatToMine, a popular web-based calculator for evaluating the profitability of mining cryptocurrencies, told Cointelegraph that Ether will continue to be in demand, not only this year but also in 2021:
“This cycle we can expect further expansion of DeFi projects, which will in turn make ETH network more and more popular. As a result block reward for ETH (the fee part) should increase in cycles with general uptrend, making ETH mining the most profitable for GPU miners.”
What to buy?
At the beginning of the year, Cointelegraph reviewed the graphics cards of the two largest manufacturers, Nvidia and AMD, and Nvidia cards seemed to have an upper hand in mining. However, taking into account the fact that Ether mining has gained a second life, AMD cards should not be written off, as the company’s Vega and RX generations are still very suitable for Ethash algorithms.
Regardless of the manufacturer, the most important factor is return on investment, as any miner must first invest a decent amount of money before turning any profit. A standard rig requires six graphics cards, and as a result, a miner can spend over $9,000 if buying the popular Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti with 8 GB or 11 GB of RAM memory. But what about those who can’t afford the top shelf but still want to make a profit? Here are the most popular graphics cards right now for Ether mining that cost…