If you've been considering building a mining rig for crypto coins I don't have to tell you how hard it is to get hold of something like a 1080ti at a reasonable price.
Prices have near doubled which leaves newcomers in the dark.
What's the solution?
Hunt down graphics cards that will pay themselves off in 5 months or less and are in stock.
In this article, I will be breaking down exactly what cards are still profitable and where you'll find them in stock at a reasonable price.
These are the best graphics cards to use for bitcoin mining in 2018.
The GPU mining story so far.
I'm a newcomer to GPU mining. If you've read any of my previous articles I mentioned my work colleague Shon that was mining way back in 2013 and tried to talk me into it.
God, I should have listened!
I am what would be best described as a noob. There I've said it. But that does not mean I can't crunch some numbers to find what graphics cards are worth buying for my mining endeavors.
I've heard many gamers bitch about the price of graphics cards. Well boo hoo - go buy an Xbox or have another tug.
Miners mean business and are in the game for the long haul. One fact I will bring up here is that miners have also been bitching about the price of GPU's. As such, I thought it made sense to research exactly what cards are still worth buying to turn a few coins.
Please note as of February 2018 - there ain't no low hanging fruit - prices are crazy. I've based the figures in this article on real world values. As such most cards will take over 12 months to start turning a mining profit.
To help with this situation I've included how to grab cards on the 2nd hand market at a good price (see end of article).
I hope to delete this message soon!
How I did this research
Let's face it 1080ti's, 1070ti's ain't gonna come easy. Unless your scouting local Facebook marketplaces, craigslist & gumtree there's really no chance you'll pick an Nvidia or AMD graphics card up for 2017 prices.
With that fact, we need to look to where the low hanging fruit is.
What GPU's that are of reasonable cost still turn a profit?
For simplicity, I've used Nicehash's profitability calculator.
My electricity cost is around 0.14 GBP/kWh for my US friends that equates to 0.20 USD/kWh
With that figure in mind, we can go to the Nicehash calculator and have a look at both the AMD & Nvidia range of cards.
Our aim here is to find cards that have a good daily profit that are in stock at a good price from the main PC hardware suppliers.
USA PC Part Suppliers
UK PC Part Suppliers
I've chosen Amazon for both countries as they have an excellent returns policy and usually ship fast. The other two retailers need no introduction if you've purchased PC parts in the past.
GPU 1 : NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti
Specs: 4GB GDDR5 | Graphics Clock 1290MHz | CUDA Cores 768
In stock: Amazon $219.99 (£180.00)
Nicehash crunch: 0.00011482 BTC / Day | $24.50 per month after electric cost.
How long to pay off: $190/$24.50 = 231 days
Power consumption: 75 watts
This card earns over one dollar a day prior to factoring in electricity costs. If your still with your parents and want to keep friends with the bill payer then tell them what you're up to here.
Let's face it with 6 cards in one rig you'd earn almost $150 a month which is not to be sniffed at. Time to pay the card off is where the real pain comes in. You'd be looking at almost 8 months to break even.
If bitcoin goes to $35,000 in the next year as Ellon Musk is hoping this would definitely be a good choice. Stack as many of these cards up as you can - their still profitable. The added bonus is that they only draw 75 watts so you can hit 6 of there easily on a 750-watt server PSU.
GPU 2: AMD RX 570 4GB
Specs: 4GB GDDR5 | Graphics Clock 1244 MHz | 2048 Stream Processors
In stock : Amazon $498 (£304)
Nicehash crunch: 0.00022287 BTC / day | $46.03 per month after electric cost.
How long to pay off: $550/$46.03 = 359 days (almost a year)
Power consumption: Hitting 180 watts
The main reason for including this card is the 2nd hand market - you're sure to find some there.
The AMD RX570 likes to suck the juice. That being said if you can wait almost a whole year to start turning a profit it might be the card for you.
You'll earn $46/month running one of these cards whilst it's a bit of a risk waiting for a year to turn any sort of profit we'd recommend keeping an eye out for 2nd hand versions of the RX570 on the auction sites and locally - your sure to find a few come up over the course of this year at a much lower price.
GPU 3: NVIDIA TITAN V
Specs: 12GB GDDR5 | Graphics Clock 1200MHz | CUDA Cores 5120
In stock: Nvidia Direct $2999.99
Nicehash crunch: 0.00084715 BTC / day | $227.80 per month after electric cost.
How long to pay off: $3000/$227.80 = 1 year & 1 month.
Power consumption: Estimate 300 watts.
Not exactly low hanging fruit!!!
Are you really going to spend $3000 of a graphics card? Nicehash has them up on their website stating that they are the most profitable cards on the market and past earning equate to $7.50 per day. This is by far the most profitable mining GPU on the market. However, it comes at a price and the reality is that waiting for a year to start turning a profit will put a lot of miners off.
That added to the fact the production of GDDR6 has started has the community speculating that it's only a matter of time before Nvidia release their next generation graphics card.
If the market performs anything like it did in 2018 these cards will earn their worth in future. That being said I think you'd be better investing in an Ant/ASCI miner at these prices.
GPU 4: Nvidia 1070 ti
Specs: 8GB GDDR5 | Graphics Clock 1683MHz | CUDA Cores 2432
Nicehash crunch: 0.00022778 BTC / day | $55.38 per month after electric cost.
How long to pay off: $845 / 55.38 = 15 months
Power consumption: 180 Watts
This is the little brother to the 1080ti. Having a great price point and good hash rate. If you are serious about mining this card is well worth considering. The added benefit is that the 1070 ti usually are half the price of the 1080ti's if you can find them in stock. Prior to the price hike in December 2017 these cards retailed at around $600 - now as of February 2018 you'll be looking at a 15-month wait until you start mining a profit.
One of the great features about the 1070ti is that the power draw is under 200 watts. With some under volting optimization, you can bring this down further. Not only will this save you power costs but you'll also be able to run 6 card mining rig off a 1500 watt PSU easily.
GPU 5: Nvidia 1080 ti
Specs: 11GB GDDR5 | 1645MHz GPU | Cuda Cores 3584
In stock: Amazon $1198.00 (£1198.99)
Nicehash crunch: 0.00027847 BTC / Day | $67.71 per month after electric cost.
How long to pay off: $1029 / $67.71 = 15 months
Power consumption: 250 watts
This is the daddy - again not exactly low hanging fruit but worth it if you can find at a good price.
The 1080ti is the intelligent choice when it comes to building mining rigs. It gives the best bang for buck and when mining on something like nice hash you can easily turn a profit of around $7 a day on a card.
The 1080ti can also be under volted leading to lower electric costs which is a big save.
Why is this card an intelligent choice? This comes down to practicality and when you scale.
Out of all the cards in our line up, this card generates the highest profit per day at a realistic investment cost. Yes, you could go put down $3K on a Titan V - but realistically you are gambling at these prices.
When it comes to scaling your mining rig operations you can get more profit out of less space with 1080ti's. It's that simple.
Mining rigs do tend to take up a bit of space and if you start building these on a regular basis - you are going to eventually run out of space.
In regards to the recent price hikes - you'll find there is still some avenue to purchase 1080ti's at the recommended retail price.
This includes keeping an eye out on the official Nvidia website. They have a store and an option to notify you when stock comes in. I personally have managed to grab two cards this way in the last week at the RRP.
The other option is the EVGA website - they to have a notify option.
Finally, there are the offline retail stores. These are worth checking out - you never know what you might find that has not hicked in price.
My local PC store (this is a one-man business) still has stock of 1080ti's. Whilst he's not selling for RRP he has not hicked prices as much as the online retail stores.
GPU round-up summary
When I thought about writing this article I was ignorant (probably still am). I thought I'd be able to find some awesome deals on lower end cards that you can still mine a profit from.
The 1050ti's look to be the best option at the moment without risking too much of an upfront investment.
2nd comes the 1080ti's - these have hicked in price somewhat but you can still find stock. I like this card the most as I know it will keep it's value somewhat. If I lose my interest in crypto mining or the market crashes I'm still going to be able to sell these on the 2nd hand market at a reasonable price.
Secret way of obtaining cards at a good price.
This might seem like common sense to some but worth pointing out.
The 2nd hand card market is worth investigating. Not all gamers are in the know about the profits linked to graphics cards and mining. You're sure to find some good deals out there. These are the places where I'd start looking on the 2nd hand market:
1st Craigslist (obvious) / Gumtree (UK)
2nd -eBay - use the location-based search -
If you message the seller ask him how much to pay in cash and locally collect. The reason I state this is the seller can then avoid eBay fees. Which are quite high - just check out this eBay fee calculator. This is your ace card if he can sell to someone locally avoiding fees and shipping costs - your more likely to win the auction without even bidding.
When it comes to price simply look up the advanced search option. Under there you'll see a completed listing option which will let you know how much those cards go for.
That's your tool when it comes down to negotiation.
3rd - the Facebook marketplace- I forgot all about this one up until recently but have managed to pick up a couple of good deals. It's worth noting that not everyone will list items using the model of the graphics card - example - "Nvidia 1070ti"
Make sure when you're searching the Facebook marketplace that you also search for other phrases like "graphics card" or "gaming pc" - you'll be surprised how many listing come up with these terms alone.
One of two things is going to happen over the next few months. Bitcoin and altcoins are going to keep going up in price - if that happens paying over the odds for a graphics card will be the new normal.
The alternative is that the market will crash. Which at the time of writing is happening but it's too early to tell due to the massive BTC price spike of December 2017. If the market crashes - they'll be plenty of opportunities to pick up graphics cards on the 2nd hand market but they'll also be very little profit in mining. You'll just be mining to accumulate altcoins. In which case I would not suggest using something like nicehash.
The current conditions do look bleak but I feel you have to be in this for the long term.
My strategy is to have a rig mining a coin that I agree with. I've not done enough investigation yet but if I can pay off my initial investment and then start mining a coin I like & makes sense then I'll definitely keep my hand in the game.
Thanks for reading!
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SAMANTHA BUXTON // IT Rockstar