There are two main types of mining hardware. They perform the same function but are very different from each other. Therefore, the answer to the question “what to choose, GPU Vs ASIC Mining” often remains without an obvious answer. But we will try to shed light and tell you what is better.
We will compare according to the following criteria:
- Payback period
So, let’s begin.
GPU Vs ASIC Mining
This part of the article is for those who are not yet versed in equipment for mining cryptocurrencies. If you already have an idea, you can scroll to the next subheading.
GPU (aka video card or graphics card) is a small piece of equipment. They are sold as spare parts for a personal computer. Initially, it was assumed that a single graphics processor would be inserted into the computer, which would do all the computing work, and the most powerful video cards would go to powerful gaming PCs. But miners act differently: they connect several GPUs to one computer and thus make a mining farm. The power ( hash ) is summed up and the output is a fairly productive machine.
ASIC is a large stand-alone processor. Essentially just a very powerful computer. It costs more than video cards, but it is also much more powerful than them.
CPU is another type of hardware, but extremely unpopular. CPUs are good at multitasking: they quickly switch from one task to another. In the case of cryptocurrency mining, this does not make sense, because the search for a block does not require frequent switching between tasks.
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Payback time GPU Vs ASIC Mining
Many of you probably came here for this. But be sure to read to the end to find out why this is not a deciding factor.
Today, all other things being equal, mining cryptocurrency on ASICs is more cost-effective than on a GPU farm. This means that when buying an ASIC, you will beat off its cost faster than when investing in a farm.
The fact is that ASICs are developing much faster technologically. New devices are often many times more powerful than their predecessors, while video cards, on average, increase their performance by 10-30% per year. Therefore, Asiki of 2018-2021 is objectively the best that can be found on the mining equipment market.
GPU Vs ASIC: Equipment availability
Now let’s move on to other characteristics. And one of them is the availability on the market (how easy it is to get this or that product).
We will assume that you are going to mine cryptocurrency in Russia. If so, then getting a good GPU will be much easier for you than a good ASIC. Video cards are sold in many stores and online stores – just ordered and received within a week, often without additional shipping charges. Asiki is much more difficult to get. There are no official dealers in Russia, so everything has to be ordered either from the USA or from China. So you overpay for shipping (including customs duties) and, moreover, expect delivery up to 2-3 months.
Local ASIC sellers often sell equipment with a mark-up of up to 50% or more, taking advantage of the shortage in the market. Moreover, sometimes it is more profitable to overpay than to lose potential profit from mining for several months.
Another point is a guarantee. When buying a video card from an official seller, you receive a warranty card (often for six months or a year). The days are counted from the date of purchase. And if you decide to bring an ASIC from abroad, then either there will be no guarantee at all, or it will start from the moment it was sent. If you buy from local retailers, the situation is quite sad.
If the ASIC breaks and you, out of warranty, want to repair it yourself, that will be a problem too. There are almost no components for them on sale in the Russian Federation, so delivery will again have to wait for months.
In this regard, GPUs get a plus.
GPU Vs ASIC Mining Practicality
Despite their economic attractiveness, ASICs are still unloved by many cryptominers. Why is that? The fact is that they are very noisy. A mining farm with video cards can be installed in a separate room at home and live comfortably with it. ASIC is noisy enough to haunt not only you but also your neighbors. Therefore, it requires a separate room (garage or warehouse). This greatly complicates everything and leads to additional expenses.
From the point of view of return on investment, buying / renting a premise far from the city and equipping it for a large farm is still more profitable than putting a farm on a GPU at home, but not everyone can afford such an investment.
Another disadvantage of them is that they are tailored to work on the same algorithm. If you set it to mine bitcoin, then it will mine bitcoin. GPUs are more flexible in this regard – they can switch between currencies depending on which one is more profitable to mine now.
In fairness, it is worth noting the simplicity of assembling ASICs. They are ready to work immediately after connecting to the power supply and the Internet – and you do not need any special knowledge or direct hands to build the installation. However, this is not so significant.
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Price and profitablity GPU Vs ASIC Mining
Looking ahead, we need to estimate at what price we can sell the equipment when we want to quit mining. As we wrote above, new generations of video cards are not so much superior to their “ancestors” as the new ASICs. This means that GPUs from older years will stay relevant longer, and you can resell them at a good price to gamers or other miners.
ASICs are becoming obsolete faster, and the Bitminer bought now in 2019 is unlikely to be in demand in the secondary market in three to four years.
Another point is the perspective of the cryptocurrencies themselves. Bitcoin is usually mined on ASICs, and ether is usually mined on video cards. Which of these coins do you think is more promising? Which one, in your opinion, will be more profitable to mine in a year or two, and which one will add more in price? This is also an important point to consider.
Lastly, one must consider the risks associated with the crypto industry as a whole. Is there a guarantee that mining will remain just as profitable? Will there be a massive reduction in the number of miners? Will cryptocurrencies be banned in top countries? Will classic ASICs and video cards go into the background after the appearance of new super-powerful equipment? It all plays a role. Video cards themselves cost less (on average from $ 400 to $ 700 versus $ 2-4 thousand), so you risk not that much. And in the event of a fall in the industry, video cards will be easier to resell than ASICs, which will become practically useless.
In any case, in the short term, mining is still profitable, and there is no prerequisite for the equipment purchased now not to pay off.
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To summarize, we can say the following:
ASIK is more profitable in the long term, but more difficult to work with. This is an option for those who are ready to invest at least a few million rubles in mining. Video cards are a slightly less profitable, but more affordable option that is suitable for novice miners.