The era of cryptocurrencies started with the release of the bitcoin white paper in 2009. With the crypto, came cryptocurrency mining and miners whose sole duty it is to add accurate blocks of transactions to the blockchain. To mine cryptocurrency, powerful computers have to be used.
Initially, Central Processing Units (CPU) were used. However, they had to be replaced with Graphics Processing Units (GPU) and Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs). Most miners are torn between which mining hardware to use. There is a battle of supremacy, ASIC vs GPU mining. This review will reveal their pros, cons, and profitability of the ASICs and GPU.
A Brief Introduction to the Mining Process
When we talk about mining, traditional mining such as coal, diamond and gold mining comes to mind. However, when it comes to cryptocurrency, mining is a different ball game. Mining refers to the process of recording and immutably storing transactions on the Blockchain. Computers are used to carry out the process of mining. Firstly, they would collect bitcoin transactions into a block and then when it gets to its maximum capacity; they will add the block to the blockchain.
To create these blocks of transactions, a miner would have to use a CPU, GPU or ASICs to solve a cryptographic algorithm. Any miner that solves the problem first is rewarded with a certain amount of BTC (12BTC). In addition to the reward, the miner also earns a fee for processing the transactions stored on the block.
Why GPU Mining?
Before mining became sophisticated, miners had to use CPUs to validate the blockchain. After a while, miners discovered that GPUs and ASICs could process the bitcoin proof of work algorithm, also known as SHA256 better. Subsequently, the GPU mining profitability made it more desirable over the CPU.
When mining with GPU Mining hardware, transactions are verified, and new crypto coins are created by using graphics cards. GPUs offer a lot of benefits over the CPU hardware. A standard GPU can process speeds up to 3200 32-bit instructions per clock, a figure that is 800 times above the speed of CPU which clocked only 4 32-bit instructions per clock.
Likewise, GPUs are designed to perform similar tasks as the CPU and even better. GPUs can perform more calculations than the CPU. This is because it is built with a large number of Arithmetic Logic Units (ALU), which enables the GPU mathematical computations. GPUs can perform more during the crypto mining process due to the ALU.
However, this review has nothing to do with CPUs; it is a case of ASIC vs GPU mining. When compared to the ASIC, GPUs have a resalable value. Look at it this way; GPUs were initially created for the gaming industry. The cards are created to generate and increase image rendering on computer devices. Now, if you decide to quit mining, your GPU still has a market value, unlike the ASIC.
You can use the GPU mining hardware to mine the following coins; Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, BitTube, Bitcoin Gold, Monero. Also, when searching for a device to aid your GPU mining, you may want to consider, NVIDIA and AMD.
The Almighty ASIC Mining
Although miners have used GPU mining for years, it faces stiff competition from ASIC mining. The Application Specific Integrated Circuits perform better than both CPUs and GPUs at performing hash calculations. GPU mining profitability suffered a setback with the launch of ASIC miners as the ASIC chips were better at solving the SHA256 algorithm.
Unlike CPUs and GPUs, ASIC mining is done with professional mining computers specially designed for computing one specific algorithm alone. That is to say, ASICs are designed to be space-efficient and are more powerful. One benefit they hold over the GPU is the fact that they consume less electricity. Although ASICs are more expensive, they have higher earnings compared to the GPU.
The ASIC quality performance is one edge the hardware holds over the GPU. For instance, ASIC mine just single coins, so if you are mining Bitcoin or Litecoin with ASIC hardware, it will surpass all other hardware. ASIC crypto mining hardware is explicitly built to perform the calculations required by a specific cryptographic hash algorithm. They are tailored for a handful of, cryptocurrencies and are efficient at offering a high “hashrate”. Some of the coins you can mine with an ASIC device such as the Dragonmint 16t include Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash and Zcash.
ASIC vs GPU Mining: Pros and Cons
We will compare the pros and cons of both the ASIC and GPU
ASIC Mining Hardware
- ASICs offer high performance and high hash rates when mining a specific coin.
- ASIC does not consume as much electricity as GPUs. It also has an impressive H/W efficiency
- Compared to the GPU, ASICs are smaller in physical size. This means they consume less space.
- ASICs also provide higher earning than their counterparts.
- One of the biggest turn-offs about ASIC hardware is its high cost. The cost of purchasing one can be really expensive.
- Unlike GPUs, an ASIC mines specific coins. For example, you cannot mine any other coins with a Litecoin mining ASIC. This makes the device completely useless with mining other cryptos.
- While you can resale your GPUs, it’s a different story for ASICs. ASICS does not have a great resalable value. Equally, despite being upgraded regularly, ASICs are nothing to write home about. As it is, they have upgraded to the 9th version.
GPU Mining Hardware
- GPUs are designed in such a way that it can be used for general computing purposes. It also has a great resalable value and when it is no longer used for mining it can be used for other activities such as gaming or AI.
- Also, GPUs are very efficient at complex computations.
- GPUs are upgradeable. Since it’s standard hardware, it can easily be upgraded and resold for a higher value than an ASIC would be resold.
- One of the major drawbacks of the GPU is its high power consumption. Unlike the ASIC, the GPU consumes more power incurring more costs for the miner.
- While the GPU is great hardware, it is not as powerful as the ASIC and does not offer as much efficiency.
- Also, the GPU mining hardware can be bulky, large and cumbersome. On the other hand, the ASIC hardware is smaller in size and can perform twice as much function.
- Miners would find that the ASIC hardware offers more in terms of profitability when it comes to mining certain coins such as Bitcoin and Litecoin.
What is the Profitability between ASIC VS GPU Mining
The long bear market of 2018 affected mining so bad that Bitmain one of the largest mining companies in the world fired about 50% of its workforce. Bitcoin trading became more profitable than mining, and most miners migrated. However, the question now is how profitable is it to mine cryptocurrency using either ASICs or GPUs?
As a retail investor, mining is more expensive as you have limited resources. However, there are other factors making mining unpleasant, and that is the fact that mining difficulty has increased. The difficulty is spread based on the number of computing power in the network. This causes an increase in mining difficulty as more computers to come into the network.
On the other hand, we can utilize mining calculator NiceHash to calculate the profitability of cryptocurrency mining using either ASIC or GPU. According to the results on NiceHash, we can see how each mining hardware rank in terms of earnings per day. As at the time of writing, the following are the earning on ASIC vs GPU Mining.
|AMD Radeon VII||0.00015600 BTC |
|MicroBT Whatsminer M1OS||0.00107900 BTC |
|NVIDIA TITAN V||0.00014400 BTC |
|BITMAIN Antminer S16 (56Th)||0.00107600 BTC |
|NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti||0.00013800 BTC |
|BITMAIN Antminer S17 (53Th)||0.00107900 BTC |
|NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super||0.00010400 BTC |
|BITMAIN Antminer S17 Pro (53Th)||0.00101800 BTC |
|NVIDIA RTX 2080||0.00010400 BTC |
|BITFURY B8||0.0098100 BTC |
Finally, every would-be miner must have it in mind that choosing hardware is dependent on the coins you want to mine. For a lot of miners focusing on altcoins, GPUs are welcome hardware as they can allow you mine multiple coins at a time. However, miners are cautions to put a lot of factors into consideration when mining altcoins. While GPU is a much affordable tool for mining altcoins, you have to find out if the coin has been listed on exchanges, power consumption, Market Price, Trading Volume, Mining Algorithm, and Hashrate Charts. All these factors will help in making profits mining on GPUs.
On the other hand, ASIC mining is more suited for miners interested in mining just a particular crypto coin. It also offers low power consumption which is an attraction for mining in countries with high electricity rates. In the end, the battle of supremacy, ASIC vs GPU mining is dependent on the miner’s choice.
Rebecca is a blockchain and cryptocurrency journalist fascinated with sharing the knowledge of this technology in the simplest language possible. Rebecca is also a featured contributor for Coinfomania & Coingeek.