Crypto mining has become one of the best ways to passively earn cryptocurrencies. While the world’s leading crypto, Bitcoin, now requires specialized equipment, a large percentage of altcoins can still be mined using a Graphical Processing Unit (GPU). However, GPU mining pushes computers to the power limit. This leaves many crypto miners wondering if the process of mining can damage a GPU and, therefore, slow down the output of a computer or laptop.
In this guide, we will briefly explain how GPUs are used in the process of mining, why a graphics card can get damaged when mining cryptocurrencies, and the best ways to avoid GPU damage.
Does Crypto Mining Damage GPU?
The process of crypto mining is not technically damaging to a GPU. However, cryptocurrency mining requires continual 24/7 processing power. As a result, increased uptime and heat emanation can lead to damage to GPU units, and therefore is critical to ensure the GPU mining operating temperature is between 60°C and 70°C to offer competitive processing capacity without burning out internal components and prolong the GPU equipment's life.
Constant uptime can play a pivotal role in the longevity of a GPU unit. The more a GPU is used, the more wear and tear the graphics card is likely to sustain. While the process is automatic and can be left to run in the background, it does mean that a GPU is constantly crunching numbers. The constant crunching of numbers results in a continual accrual of heat and constant wear on pc components.
How Can Heat Damage A GPU Miner?
GPUs experience high temperatures when electricity is passed through them. Electrical resistance through components, such as capacitors and transistors, generates heat. As a task becomes more complicated, more electrical power is required, which results in greater heat generation. As a rule of thumb, GPUs begin to suffer performance issues when operating at temperatures in excess of 80°C. As a result of overheating, the computer or laptop containing the GPU may experience a slowdown in responsiveness.
Unfortunately, mining requires a GPU to be working at the highest capacity. The more processing power that can be dedicated, the more likely it is a miner will earn crypto block rewards. As GPUs are constantly pushed to the limit through crypto mining, excessive heat is almost inevitable.
What Is A Safe Operating Temperature For GPUs?
Mining cryptocurrencies requires a GPU to be pushed close to its limit. Therefore, the production of heat is an inevitable byproduct. Fortunately, there is an operational temperature ‘sweet zone’ for most GPUs where heat can be managed without sacrificing mining performance.
- The Optimum GPU Mining Temperature. For most GPU manufacturers, this sweet zone exists between 60°C and 70°C. If the operational temperature for a GPU can be held within this range, processing output can remain competitive without reducing the life of the unit.
- Unsafe Operating Temperatures. Depending on the manufacturer, if a GPU is pushed above 70°C, some units may experience thermal throttling, which is a process whereby a graphics card slows itself down to prevent overheating. Understanding if a GPU has thermal throttling is important as the process can lead to a decrease in mining speeds and, therefore, a reduction in mining rewards. In addition, if a GPU remains above 80°C for long periods, permanent damage is likely. Although graphics cards can survive at high temperatures for long periods, eventually components will begin to wear down and a unit's performance will begin to fade.
Tips To Prevent Graphics Card Damage
With the optimum operating temperature in mind, there are several ways to ensure a GPU remains within this band. By maintaining optimal temperatures, crypto mining can continue without sacrificing the longevity of the device.
- Reduce the ambient temperature. One of the first things to consider when using graphics cards is the ambient room temperature. Heat disperses from a graphics card into the surrounding environment. Therefore, if the surrounding environment is hot, heat transfer will be lessened. To allow for increased performance of a graphics card, place the GPU in a cool environment.
- Increase the amount of space. When hardware components are packed into a confined space, there is a greater chance of overheating. The heat generated from other components, such as a power unit, can leak into the area surrounding a GPU. A tight mining rig also provides less space for fans and other cooling equipment. As a result, it is best practice to place a graphics card in an adequate mining rig that leaves enough space for heat to dissipate and allow components to cool.
- Add cooling equipment. One of the best ways to actively reduce the operating temperature of a GPU is to reduce the temperate of the environment and equipment radiation by introducing cooling equipment. There are several ways to cool a GPU mining rig, but one of the most popular is through the use of fans. Fans can help to carry hot air from components and into the surrounding environment thus lowering the ambient temperature. The more fans that can be included within a mining rig, the more airflow can be generated. Alternative methods include liquid cooling, which involves attaching cooling pipes to the processing unit, and heat sinks, which help distribute heat away from graphics cards.
- Use thermal paste. Thermal paste, also known as thermal grease, is a type of material used to ensure efficient heat transfer away from components in order to prevent overheating. This is crucial when using heat sinks in a mining GPU rig to maintain the operating temperature of the hardware. Heat sinks do not sit perfectly flush with a GPU, therefore, thermal paste is used to remove any gaps between the two components. This improves the distribution of heat and is, therefore, crucial when building a mining GPU.
How To Check A GPUs Temperature?
While mining crypto it can be useful to keep a close eye on the temperature range that a GPU is operating within. Fortunately, there are a few ways to achieve this. If using a Windows laptop or computer, a GPU’s temperature range can be checked by using the internal ‘Task Manager’ program within the mining software.
In the Task Manager program find the ‘Performance’ tab. Inside the Performance tab, click on the GPU unit in the left column. The GPU temperature should then be listed. Alternatively, many modern GPUs provide proprietary system monitoring software. Examples include MSI’s Center, ASUS’s GPU Tweak II, and EVGA’s Precision X1. Proprietary graphics card software often provides a detailed insight into a GPU’s operating functionality and even allows users to change fan speeds so that an optimum GPU temperature range can be achieved.
Why Do People Use GPUs For Crypto Mining?
Crypto miners utilize graphical processing units (GPUs) because these processors offer more power when compared with standard central processing units (CPUs) that are found in the majority of computers. A GPU can perform a vast number of tasks simultaneously. When solving the cryptographic algorithms within blockchains, this is a significant benefit. Although GPUs are more expensive units, the output in power justifies the increase in cost.
When mining crypto, the more power that can be dedicated to the task, the more likely it is for miners to earn rewards. As miners are competing to add the next block in the chain, having a powerful GPU processing unit is extremely advantageous and heightens the probability of earning mining rewards.
This is exemplified perfectly by the Bitcoin blockchain. Competition to mine Bitcoin has become so fierce that dedicated processors known as ASIC miners were built. These mining units are built with the purpose of solving Bitcoin’s mining algorithm. As a result, these units are extremely powerful at that one job. Fortunately, other Proof-of-Work blockchains do not yet require specialized equipment and can be mined effectively using GPUs.
Frequently Asked Questions?
Yes, excessive mining can lead to GPU failure. The process of mining requires intense computing power. Intense computing requires more power consumption which results in the production of heat. It is excessive heat that can lead to a GPU breaking.
GPU crypto mining can be a profitable venture if the process is well understood. Like any venture, a GPU miner needs to be sure that the profits outweigh the costs involved. This involves estimating how much equipment, electricity, and mining pool fees will cost and comparing that against the block rewards that could be earned.
GPU mining has become a popular method for earning new cryptocurrencies in an (almost) passive way. However, to remain competitive, miners need to push GPUs to the limit. At the limit, excessive heat production can eventually reduce the longevity of a unit. Keeping operational temperatures between 60°C and 70°C allows a GPU to offer competitive processing capacity without burning out internal components.
To help keep GPUs within this temperature band, miners should place a GPU within a cool ambient environment, ensure a GPU has enough space, and introduce cooling equipment to actively remove excess heat. Through this combination, crypto miners can keep GPU mining efficient while increasing the life expectancy of equipment.