Just a day after Ethereum merger, where cryptocoin has successfully transitioned from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS), the profitability of GPU mining has completely collapsed. This means that the best graphics cards should finally be back where they belonged, in your gaming PC, as God intended. This is a quick drop, given that yesterday there were still a few cryptocurrencies that were technically profitable.
To look at WhatToMine (opens in a new tab)and using the standard $0.10 per kWh, the best results are with the GeForce RTX 3090 and Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT. These technically show slightly positive results, to the tune of about $0.06 per day after electricity costs. However, this does not take into account the cost of powering the PC or the wear and tear on your graphics card.
Even with a slightly positive bottom line, it would still take more than 20 years to break even for an RX 6800. We say this ironically, because if there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that no one can predict what the cryptocurrency market will look like even a year from now, let alone 20 years into the future. It’s a volatile market, and there are certainly plenty of groups and individuals hoping to find a way to make GPU mining profitable again (incoming MGMPA hats…)
Will anything regain the highs of Ethereum mining? Maybe, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I wouldn’t be either versus this. It will happen or it won’t, and I’m not going to worry about it any more.
In the meantime, here’s a quick look at the current profitability – or non-profitability – of current-gen graphics cards.
Update, 09/18/2022: The information below was taken on 08/16/2022. Since then, potential profitability has fallen further. Right now, almost no GPUs show net positive results after factoring in power costs, with most seeing losses of at least $0.10 a day – and that’s with a price of relatively low electricity of $0.10 per kWh.
Of the 21 current-generation graphics cards in the AMD RX 6000 Series and the Nvidia RTX 30 series, only five are theoretically profitable right now, and those are all barely in the black. This uses data from NiceHash and WhatToMine, so there may be ways to tune other GPUs to get into the net positive, but the bottom line is no one should be using GPUs for mining right now , and certainly not buy more GPUs for mining purposes.
Of course, you could argue that cryptocurrency valuations could go up in the future, and so you could trade at a loss until that happens. But if you really believe in it, why bother investing potentially thousands of dollars in hardware to mine at a super low rate, when you could just invest directly in whatever coin(s) you like?
As we noted in our recent GPU Price Check right before the merger, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where a lot of old mining GPUs don’t end up being sold on second-hand marketplaces like eBay in the coming months. Factor in warehouse space, power costs, staff to handle it all, and other infrastructure considerations, and even ultra-cheap power doesn’t make GPU mining reasonable. Now is a good time for mining farms to either pocket their earnings and sell their remaining inventory, or cut their losses and close up shop.
Buy a used graphics card it looks like it will get a lot more tempting in the near future, in other words. Our advice: Buy from an established seller on a marketplace (like eBay) that allows returns. Conversely, don’t pay cash to someone in Facebook Marketplace that you have to meet in a parking lot, and certainly don’t send BTC or ETH for a used card.
This is great news for gamers, who have mostly spent most of the last year making do with the card they had before the late 2020 cryptocurrency boom. AMD and Nvidia won’t be able to charge high prices for any GPU they hope to sell in large quantities. We might see the RTX 4090 and RX 7900 XT launch with initially high MSRPs, but just like the RTX-3090Ti and RX 6950 XT quickly fell below their launch MSRP, so will the next NvidiaAda and AMD RDNA 3 GPUs.
If you are looking to build a new gaming pc or upgrade your existing graphics card, wait a little longer and definitely don’t buy a graphics card for more than $500. Prices for existing GPUs will continue to drop, and new ones are just around the corner.