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 Post subject: A brief guide for surviving the 2017 GPU mining craze
PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:34 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:49 am
Posts: 124
As most of you probably know, cryptocurrency mining uses multi-GPU setups and the large increase of demand, alongside the unchanged increase in supply has resulted in inflated prices which may not return to normal any time soon.

Currently, on a performance to dollar basis, the big-three are GTX 1050 ($100), GTX 1050 Ti ($150) and GTX 1060 ($200, 3GB version), with each offering a meaningful increase in performance dependent on the user's needs. The $100-200 range is the sweetspot.

The 6GB version of the GTX 1060 is not a great value proposition, since its price has inflated to nearly $300 and its only slightly better than the 3GB version (currently). But since the other mid-range cards also received a major price hike, it's still viable.

Most of $150-400 AMD's cards (such as the RX series) are inflated in price and are a bad value compared to the GTX 1050, 1050 Ti and 1060.

For the higher end, there's 1070, possibly Vega, 1080, 1080 Ti. The 1070 was affected badly by the mining boom, but it's still a great card. The GTX 1080 becomes a better value by comparison, although silent builds may prefer the 1070's relative energy efficiency. These cards should only be pursued for very high-end tasks like intense 4K rendering or 1440p-4K gaming at high frame rates.

Some of the older video cards such as the GTX 900-series and GTX 700-series can offer good performance for their price on the used market. However, they also consume more energy and their real-world performance is slightly inferior to what benchmarks suggest due to software optimization and such. As a result, one of the three big entry level cards I mentioned earlier are a better choice.

The RX 550 is the best choice for silent and energy-efficient builds because of its very low 50w power consumption, although it is somewhat inferior to GTX 1050. However, this is the very lowest that a consumer should go for. Video cards beneath it are overpriced for what they are and integrated graphics are, by far, most efficient under an $80 price point.

I personally would not worry about the buying used cards from miners. I assume that they take good care of them (in terms of temperature, energy and moisture control) because they want to protect their investment. Many miners also undervolt (rather than overclock) to reduce their electric bill, although some rent space at a flat rate.

Lastly, video cards are a relatively temporary investment. Cards become relatively obsolete in just 2-3 years, so it's better for price and lower power consumption to go mid-range every few years than to go high-range.

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