One of the most frequent questions the MiningStore team receives from new and established miners is about the differences between GPU and ASIC mining rigs. While both ASIC and GPU models use complex algorithms to solve problems and generate a cryptocurrency reward, there are differences between the two. Understanding how both GPU and ASIC work and the factors that differentiate them can help you make the best choice for your cryptocurrency mining investment and help you decide if you need to buy a versatile GPU based rig or a dedicated ASIC setup.
Initially, most computers used to mine cryptocurrency were based on the typical home desktop — with familiar components and a variety of other features. As cryptocurrency mining became more popular, though, ASIC technology began to emerge; these machines were designed to do one thing, very well — mine cryptocurrency at peak efficiency.
GPU Mining vs. ASIC Mining — What’s the Difference?
Which mining rig set up is right for you, GPU or ASIC? The answer to that question depends on your own goals, preferences and needs. The coins you want to mine, the adaptability you need and even the preferred location of your machines (your own home/office or a dedicated hosting site) makes a difference and could make one model a better match for you than the other.
A look at each of these very different setups reveals their strengths and weaknesses and can help you decide which one you want to start with, or which one you want to expand your existing setup with. We’ll walk you through each style of mining rig below and give you the rundown — so you can make an informed decision about your mining purchase.
Mining with GPU’S
A Graphics Processing Unit or GPU is a chip that can be found in any laptop or desktop computer. Since they are used to process large files and actions involving graphics, they are also robust enough to tackle some of the complex calculations and algorithms used in cryptocurrency mining. GPUs are flexible and agile enough to mine a wide range of currency types; some of the most popular GPU coins include Monero, Ethereum, and AION. GPU mining offers versatility and the ability to shift from one type of coin to another very swiftly, or even mine several types at once.
If you want to be able to mine more than one coin at a time or want to be able to shift from one currency to the next, a GPU rig has far more flexibility. In a changing and volatile market, GPU’s versatility is its greatest strength.
A GPU based mining rig is familiar to anyone who uses a desktop or laptop, making it easy to understand and get acclimated to the hardware. An ASIC unit is smaller than a GPU, and since it only does one task, is straightforward and easy to set up. If you can program a remote or use a smartphone, you can likely set up both a GPU and an ASIC rig.
If you are operating mining rigs from your home, a quiet model can help you combat noise; a GPU is often simply a powerful version of a home or office computer; as such it is generally quiet and not disruptive, even at night.
Advocates of GPU mining enjoy the familiar desktop experience, the ability to mine at home, the versatility and the ability to recycle the unit for another purpose after it has been decommissioned or as part of an exit strategy.
Mining with ASIC’S
Application Specific Integrated Circuit, or ASIC, is a machine built with one sole purpose in mind — mining a single cryptocurrency. This extreme focus means that your ASIC rig will be 100 percent dedicated to creating income via cryptocurrency mining. ASIC can be used to mine Bitcoin (BTC), LiteCoin (LTC) and X11DASH (DASH) along with a few other popular currencies.
The extreme focus of this model makes it an ideal choice for mining, as it has one job and performs this task extremely well. An ASIC setup is compact and easier to use than the GPU model and is designed to do one thing — execute a hashtag algorithm as swiftly and efficiently as possible. You’ll need an ASIC rig for each type of coin you wish to mine.
Since ASIC is designed to excel at mining one specific currency and all assets are dedicated to this task, it is far more effective and powerful than other models. While this increases ROI and allows for increased revenues, ASIC does not have the same versatility as a GPU. If you have a preferred coin, know you want to use your rig strictly for mining purposes and want to max out your potential revenues, ASIC’s single-minded focus is the way to go.
Thanks to that supreme computational power, an ASIC rig generates a pretty fair amount of heat; proper cooling is essential. For this reason, an ASIC rig is better operated in a dedicated hosting center or in a space set aside for this purpose, ASIC may be too loud for home use.
An ASIC unit is more hands-off and generates income slightly more swiftly, without additional intervention or regular monitoring. Since ASIC setups mine large cap coins, they offer a higher level of profitability for most users.
If you want to make sure your rigs are up and running their best, all day, every day or on your preferred schedule, opt for a high-quality hosting provider. In this case, setup is handled by a pro and you simply monitor progress and make decisions about your actual investments and mining.
ASIC miners enjoy easy, plug and play setup, a machine that works day and night to provide passive income and the superior processing speed of this dedicated machine.
The Bottom Line
The decision is up to you — both ASIC and GPU have advocates and clear advantages for miners. If you prefer the ease of “set it and forget it” style mining, then ASIC is likely your best bet; those who want versatility and the freedom to mine what they want, when they want will love the flexibility of the GPU setup.
If you want the ability to mine high cap cryptocurrency or to run a rig around the clock (without maxing out your energy bill or tolerance for noise), then a hosted model is your best option. When you invest in a hosted mining rig, the host site takes on the challenges of managing your rigs for you and offers full support designed to help you make the most of the process.
Not sure which rig is right for you?
Your preferences and goals are unique — and your mining rig setup should be too. If you need help choosing the right mining setup for your needs or have additional questions, one of our skilled technicians can help.
The MiningStore team is dedicated to your success, and ensuring you fully understand your options and that you get the right mining rig for your needs is an essential first step, contact us today to get the help you need with your next mining rig, whether you want the flexibility of the GPU or the sheer power of the ASIC model.