All About BTC, LTC, ETH mining as well as other alternative crypto currencies
The GPU mining is still not dead, however the part where people would go on building new mining rigs with multiple video cards like they did with Radeon R9 280X, 290 and 290X is kind of in the past, or at least for the moment. The community working on AMD mining software has not been very active lately, not like the Nvidia where we have seen a lot of improvement in the miners in terms of hashrate and functionality over the past few months. It was started with the release of the GTX 750 Ti and then the new Maxwell-based GTX 970 and GTX 980 cards, but with the new more powerful cards from Nvidia you can just upgrade and use a single card for gaming and when you are not playing games to leave your system mining some crypto coins. Sure, using a single card will not make you rich from the miner coins, but you can keep the hobby mining part and still have a great gaming video card when you want to play games on it. You can go with two cards in SLI for even better gaming performance and more mining power and the idea is that over the course of time you could at least get back the money you paid for the cards back via the mining. So it all might not be a bad deal for people that are mining as a hobby and are also gamers, unlike GTX 750, the GTX 970 and GTX 980 are much more powerful and perfect choice for the more demanding games. We would recommend to go for non-reference design cards such as Gigabyte’s G1 GTX 970 and GTX 980 cards or other models with Windforce cooler for example, the non-reference high performance coolers do well with overclocking while still remaining pretty silent while operating under load.
If you have been following our updates lately you would have seen a lot of activity from developers on various forks of ccMiner going on and a lot of performance improvements for all Maxwell-based GPUs from Nvidia. There are also useful tools like the NiceHash Control Tool and the new and improved Miner Control that can make things easier for you if you do not want to always be on the lookout for new altcoins and still be able to maximize your profit mining at the right and profitable places. Having just a single or a few GPUs and mining as a hobby does not mean that things should be hard for you, you can go the easy way and sell your hashrate for the best price you can get at services sch as NiceHash or WestHash. Now may not be the best time to be GPU mining or mining with ASICs for that matter unless you already have made a big mining farm, but if the history repeats itself and Litecoin continues to go the same way that Bitcoin already went through mining with GPUs might yet again become a profitable thing to do in the near future, but we’ll have to wait and see…
Last month we have done some initial GeForce GTX 980 crypto mining benchmarks with the announcement of the new Maxwell GPUs from Nvidia. Now we got our hands on a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 G1 Gaming video card (GV-N970G1 GAMING-4GD ) and have decided to run some tests to see how well it will fare against a standard reference design GTX 980 again from Gigabyte (GV-N980D5-4GD-B). The reference design GTX 980 we’ve used is running at stock frequencies, including the boost one and the results below are with the card not additionally overclocked, even though it can take quite an increase in the frequency. The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 G1 Gaming card however is factory overclocked to a really high frequencies as compared to the stock ones and there is not that much left for the user to add, though some extra overclocking is also possible. The G1 Gaming card from Gigabyte also comes with the company’s Windforce cooler that proved to be a very good and silent cooling solution even when you overclock. Also the GTX 970 model is with a factory increased max TDP level to go along with the overclock the 100% of the power limit actually represents 250W instead of 145W or 165W. This leaves a lot of headroom for more power hungry crypto mining algorithms, even though in our tests not a single algorithm was able to hit 100%. The closes we got was about 90% of the increased TDP reached with the groestl algorithm most others were keeping in the 60-70% of the 250W TDP limit.
The results you can see in the table above are achieved with the ccMiner release 1.4.5-tpruvot using Compute 5.2 compiled binaries. This might not be the single best performing fork of ccminer available, however it is probably the one with most comprehensive support for various crypto algorithms (we tested with all of the supported ones) and with support for Compute 5.2. Some other forks might be able to provide slightly better hashrate on a specific algorithm, but the idea here was to do a comparison between a reference GTX 980 and a factory overclocked GTX 970 to see what you can expect in terms of performance. The results are pretty interesting as the factory clocked G1 card is getting very close to a stock GTX 980 and with some extra user overclock it might even achieve the same results. Considering the fact that the GTX 970 is still much better priced than the GTX 980 we can easily conclude that the GTX 970 and especially GTX 970 G1 Gaming from Gigabyte is a really good choice not only for gaming, but also for mining crypto currencies.
Nvidia has just introduced their new high-end Maxwell-based GPUs the GTX 980 and GTX 970 and the expectations from them in terms of performance for crypto mining are pretty high. After earlier this year we saw what the mid-range GTX 750 Ti, the first Maxwell card was capable of, we already had high hopes for the upcoming faster models. Apparently we are not going to be disappointed by the performance we are going to get, below you can see a chart with the hashrate that the new GeForce GTX 980 (GM204) provides in various crypto algorithms. These were actual tests ran using the latest versions of CudaMiner and ccMiner with support for Compute 5.0 with no special optimizations that could possibly benefit the new cards any further.
In the table you can see the algorithm, the hashrate you get with the GTX 980 and the TDP usage percentage. The GeForce GTX 980 has a TDP rating of just 165 Watts, so with this maximum power consumption you can see that not all algorithms are utilizing it at 100%, meaning the actual power usage is lower. The performance you can expect to get from the GTX 980 is roughly about three times higher with about three times more power usage as compared to the GTX 750 for crypto mining. The initial price of the GTX 980 however could be a reason for miners to go to the slightly slower GTX 970 model for crypto mining as you should be able to get two GTX 970s for a price a bit higher than for a single GTX 980 and the performance you will get from the two cards should be significantly better than from a single GTX 980.
The results posted above are with a reference GTX 980 card running at stock frequency, considering that the GM204 does overclock really good, higher results can be attained when the card is overclocked. The second set of results (the OC ones) are achieved with the card overclocked to GPU at 1520 MHz, Video RAM to 8250 MHz and TDP limiter set to the maximum 125%. This is really pushing the GTX 980 to its stable maximum limits as the card really does handle serious overclock pretty well. Unfortunately we do not have access to a GTX 970 GPU for the moment, so we cannot yet test to see the difference in performance, though it should not be that high, but the 970 should be available at a much more attractive price, so it could be the more obvious choice for crypto mining rigs. The GTX 750 Ti still seems like a good more budget oriented solution for mining.
You should be well aware of the fact that some ccMiner forks are nor working very well with the GTX 980, we’ve had some weird results showing like way too little load and low hashrate or the miner crashing, also one of the reasons that not all available algorithms are listed. The GTX 980 and GTX 970 does support Compute 5.2 and not all forks of ccMiner we have used for testing are compiled to even support the Compute 5.0, the CudaMiner has not been updated for a while and we have used the latest official release for the Scrypt testing… not that you would use a GPU nowadays to mine Scrypt crypto coins anyway.