I’ve been mining ETH for a long time now and have seen a lot of people ask questions about getting started mining. Here’s my short opinion.
UPDATE: Read my latest thoughts on why not starting is still relevant here.
Don’t start! If you’re already mining, keep at it. If you’re looking to start, don’t. Buy crypto instead or build a gaming PC and have some fun.
For this read, I’ll be using one of my smaller rigs, which has 4x AMD 8GB 580 hashing at ~117 MH/s in this article.
Difficulty is steadily increasing. Always. If Benjamin Franklin were alive today his famous quote would be “… but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and difficulty increases”. Which means anyone trying to stand up a rig today will not actually mine that much ETH. Right now with my aforementioned 4 GPU rig, I’m lucky to mine 0.05 ETH in a 7 day span. Each of my cards are hashing at a respectable ~29Mh/s, with almost zero downtime except for nightly reboots.
So what does this mean, well you earn almost jack-all nothing. At the current price of ETH you’re lucky to earn about $4 USD a day in ETH with 4 GPUs. That barely covers your hardware cost if you mined uninterrupted for a year!
While it’s true hardware has come down to respectable pre-mining boom prices. The bottom line is you will take almost 1 year to break even for each card purchased, which assumes NO more difficulty increases which is not going to happen. Right now a single AMD 8GB 580 will cost $330 (newegg) and it will hash at ~30 MH/s. This card will earn 0.0024 ETH per day, which is about $1.43 USD. If you take power consumption into play, it will take you almost 300 days to break even, again with no difficulty increases and no downtime. It’s just not realistic. And I’m not even factoring in CPU, mother board, PSU or all the extra stuff you’ll need to get started.
Both AMD and NVIDIA are already showing new hardware, which when released, will likely blow the current cards out of the water for hashing power. And their price point will likely be close to the current offered models. I personally will not be buying any new hardware until the new cards are released. Yes, I know I’m banking on an unknown here. Until the full specs are released, we can only guess at the hashing power for the next gen cards.
So, if you’re already mining keep at it. If you’re looking to start, build a gaming rig instead and have some fun, and buy crypto with the left over $. Right now, starting from scratch is a fool errand. If you want to do it to educate yourself sure, why not, but go in knowing that your not going to retire early of your virtual hoard of Crypto.