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GPU Mining and ASIC Mining: Comparing Their Usability and Long-Term Use

PlayStation or Xbox? Google Chrome or Firefox? Intel or AMD? ASIC Mining or GPU Mining?

The truth is that people just don’t stop comparing alternatives. Why? Because we always want what’s better.

Since the time Bitcoin became popular, various people have started venturing in cryptocurrency mining. Most of them are struck at one time or another with the simple question:

Should I mine with ASIC or with GPU?

If you’re someone with the same question too, this article is for you. But before we compare these 2 rigs, let’s review first what cryptocurrency mining is.

What is cryptocurrency mining?

Cryptocurrency mining is one way to earn a cryptocurrency. However, it doesn’t involve any pickaxes, hammers, or even shovels.

To help those who aren’t familiar with blockchain principles and have a little understanding of what cryptocurrency mining is, let’s analyze what happens every time there’s a cryptocurrency transaction.

A transaction happens when someone uses a cryptocurrency to buy, sell, or pay something. The transaction is then queued, waiting to be written on that cryptocurrency’s public ledger.

The process of validating and writing a cryptocurrency transaction on the ledger is called mining. Doing so requires the miner’s right to solve complex computational algorithms.

In exchange, the miner receives newly created coins as well as the transaction costs.

If you want to know more about cryptocurrency mining, we prepared an explainer video you can watch.

Now that you have a fresh view about what cryptocurrency mining is, let’s now talk about GPU mining.

Mining with a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

If you’re familiar with PC gaming, then you must have heard of GPUs already.

GPU is a powerful processing unit commonly used in games to accelerate the creation of images. Graphics Processing Units are robust enough to handle complex algorithms in cryptocurrency mining.

Usability of GPU in Mining

If you prefer mining multiple coins, then you should mine with a GPU.

GPU rigs are flexible and allow the user to switch from one coin to the other. You can mine multiple algorithms simultaneously since they are equipped with lots of Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU). These units are responsible for performing mathematical computations.

At the same time, GPUs are quiet and non-disruptive. They are perfect for home use since they won’t disturb you in your sleep.

But it’s not all sunlight with GPU. Getting one can be costly, especially nowadays. When the value of cryptocurrencies increase, expect the price of GPUs to increase too. Plus, GPU needs power and might affect the cost of your power consumption.

The good thing is that you’ll be able to sell your unit once you feel like you’re done with mining. But if you let too much time pass before selling it, there might be newer models which would make your unit obsolete and have low resale value.

To mine with GPU, you need to have a desktop. GPUs can’t mine by themselves. Though on the positive side, you get complete control over what coin to mine.

GPU rigs are also complicated to configure. And sometimes, it might take long before you’re able to have some return on your investments.

Long Term Use of GPU Mining Rigs

For better or for worse, GPUs are here to stay. As discussed earlier, they are not just for mining. They have multiple uses as well.

When it comes to long term usability, GPU can hold its own. Over time, newer models would soon dominate the market. You can readily exchange the GPU set in your desktop computer anytime you see fit.

It may take a while before you start seeing profits. But GPU can do well in the long term.

Pros and Cons

To help you see the pros and cons in one view, here’s a table of them:

Pros Cons
Easy switching from one coin to another Costly
Less noisy and non-disruptive Complicated to figure
Recyclable and resellable Lower returns
  High power consumption

Mining with Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC)

If GPU has lots of purposes, ASIC is made to do only one thing — to mine.

ASIC is a microchip designed to do one thing. These chips are more powerful than GPU or CPU in terms of speed and efficiency. You can say that ASIC is specialized hardware made solely for cryptocurrency mining.

Usability of ASIC in Mining

If you’re just starting out with cryptocurrency and would want to have a dedicated machine for it, you should opt for ASIC mining.

ASIC rigs are easy to set up. They are plug and play devices, pre-configured to solve a specific algorithm. They are easy to use which make them ideal for newbies. However, you should be sure you’re willing to concentrate on one coin only.

ASIC rigs compute one specific algorithm and are configured to compute only that. That means a rig is only good for mining a single currency.

Because of that, they are far more effective and powerful than GPU mining rigs. That focus gives a higher return or profitability than GPU, considering ASIC rigs are cheaper than GPUs.

Unfortunately, you shouldn’t place ASIC rigs in your home. Well… You can, but prepare to hear a loud noise. These rigs need cooling since they generate so much heat due to their fans. These fans create noise.

When dealing with ASIC, you should be wary of their short lifespan. In addition, they are vulnerable to changes in cryptocurrency algorithms. They don’t literally become useless per se, but they have to be reconfigured.

Long Term Use of ASIC Mining Rigs

ASIC rigs are good for burst profitability.

However, they are bad for long term use. When the algorithm of cryptocurrency transaction changes, the rig practically becomes useless.

But if large profits are what you’re after, ASIC rigs do the job. They generate income faster than GPU rigs without the need for constant monitoring and intervention.

Pros and Cons

Here is a table of pros and cons of mining with ASIC rigs:

Pros Cons
Easy to set up and use Noisy
More effective and powerful Short lifespan
Higher profitability Can mine only 1 coin
Cheaper  

The Mining Rig For You

If you’re wondering which rig is for you, consider first the dedication and costs you’re willing to spend.

If you have other plans and purposes for a rig, choose GPU. It’s not only for mining but you can use it for other tasks as well. But if you’re dedicated to mining a specific crypto coin, choose ASIC, instead. But remember that you can only mine one cryptocurrency at a time.

When it comes to cost, getting an ASIC rig is cheaper than GPU. It’s not just the setup but the energy consumption is lower with ASIC, too.

If you’re in for the long game, you should try GPU instead. If you’re looking for a way to earn quickly, ASIC is the way to go.

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