Mining and cryptocurrency are dirty words to many of my readers. Extra dirty to people looking to build their own gaming PC in a retail landscape that’s seen the prices of graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia inflate to atrocious levels. Seriously, it’s now significantly cheaper to buy the majority of boutique or mass-market systems than it is to build them yourself. Perhaps it’s not the right time to go DIY. Maybe you have no desire to assemble a crazy mining rig. But for those of you with gaming PCs, you might be surprised how much money you can make mining with it, and how easy it is .
When I stopped mining for crypto coins back in 2013, getting a client up and running was a challenge. Basic knowledge of Linux and terminal commands were requirements. I’m dipping my toes back in these waters now, and I’ve found it’s shockingly easy to get up and running on a Windows PC using software called NiceHash. No command lines, no messy configuration files — although they’re there if you need them. Just an installer, some quick auto-benchmarks, and then your GPU or CPU (or both) are putting their hashrates to work for you. The software even generates a Bitcoin wallet address for you.
NiceHash makes it super simple to earn money mining with your existing gaming PC
3 Important Things About NiceHash
Before I get ahead of myself, let me lay down a few important comments. Don’t skip these!
First and most importantly, NiceHash does not actually use your PC’s hardware to mine crypto coins like LiteCoin, Ethereum, or Monero directly. Instead, you’re automatically selling your PC’s hashing power to other miners who are mining those coins, effectively contributing to a pool’s combined power. The reward? NiceHash pays you in Bitcoin at regular intervals. You can then transfer your earnings to an exchange like Coinbase and buy crypto coins if that’s what you’re after, or simply connect a bank account and cash out.
The second thing is, for me, what makes NiceHash so appealing. Your hashrate — or the power at which your GPU can mine — is always being directed to what the most popular crypto coin is. It’s completely hands-off. Before your first launch, the software will benchmark your hardware’s hashrates for a variety of algorithms that correspond with those coins. Then at regular intervals it auto-switches to the most profitable one (to see these on your own, visit a site like WhatToMine.com). This means you’re maximizing profit without needing to invest time in constant research or speculation.
And the third thing: if you do want to get serious about mining, NiceHash may not be for you. Users can see higher hashrates and thus higher profits when doing things like flashing their GPU’s BIOS, using command-line based clients, overclocking and undervolting, and installing alternate drivers like AMD’s Blockchain Driver. But if you just want to click a button and start generating a profit, NiceHash is the easy button.
How Much Can Your GPU Make?
So, let’s talk money. For the values below, I used the NiceHash Profitability Calculator and assumed a 0.10 USD/kWh electricity cost, meaning you’re seeing profits after paying for the power consumption of that GPU. Your mileage may vary is an understatement here. The value of Bitcoin is in constant flux, and these calculations were based on a USD value of $11,655 on January 19. As the value of Bitcoin climbs, so do your potential profits. The reverse is of course true.
All of the GPUs listed below were tested in the company’s labs, and are pulled from actual profit numbers from users, not estimated ones. For my part, I can confirm the accuracy of the Radeon RX 580 and Nvidia GTX 1060 earnings.
At time of publication, a GTX 1080 can earn up to $144/month mining
Monthly profit for select Nvidia GeForce cards:
Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti: $174.82
Nvidia GTX 1080: $144.74
Nvidia GTX 1070: $133.23
Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB: $89.03
Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB: $67.78
Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti: $45.98
Nvidia GTX 980 Ti: $117.46
Nvidia GTX 980: $84.08
Nvidia GTX 970: $80.31
Nvidia GTX 960: $45.09
Nvidia GTX 750 Ti: $20.74
Even a GTX 1060 3GB is a decent little miner while being incredibly power efficient. For those of you rocking something like a 1080? That’s some awesome coin.
AMD’s Radeon Vega 64 GPU can make about $123.08 mining with NiceHash
Monthly profit for select AMD Radeon cards:
Radeon RX Vega 64: $123.08
Radeon RX Vega 56: $112.36
Radeon RX 580 8GB: $81.37
Radeon RX 580 4GB: $68.72
Radeon RX 570: $75.17
Radeon RX 480 8GB: $90.49
Radeon RX 470: $79.92
Radeon RX 460: $30.96
Radeon R9 390: $82.50
Radeon RX 380X: $53.18
Radeon R9 290X: $70.18
Radeon HD 7950: $53.41
Radeon HD 7870: $27.33
I included AMD’s higher-end 7000 series cards here because they’re not too shabby and tons of people still use them. As for AMD’s latest Vega cards, they may chew through power, but they also spin a decent profit after the electricity bill gets paid.
And a couple CPUs for good measure:
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X: $54.79
Intel Core-i7 7700K: $36.56
Yes, you can actually use higher-end CPUs (expect a dollar or two per day max), but it will render your PC unusable for day-to-day tasks. And you can use NiceHash with your gaming laptop, though I caution against putting both your GPU and CPU to work simultaneously due to thermal and throttling concerns.
Obviously these profit numbers will fluctuate for you, especially since you’re probably going to use your rig and not dedicate it solely to mining. Then again, if you have a spare GPU you’re not using, you can easily slot that into your PC and tell NiceHash to use that one and not your dedicated gaming GPU. Better to have it collecting Bitcoin than dust.
At the very least, I believe the majority of people could be profiting enough to buy a new game every month. Just remember that mining could decrease the life expectancy of your GPU.