Are you planning to use your current PC to set up your own crypto miner?
Since mining is a highly demanding task requiring your computer to run 24/7, it can affect your PC components.
One of the main PC components used in mining is the GPU, doing most of the calculations.
Now, you may wonder if mining can damage your GPU and if it’s worth using it for that purpose.
Does Crypto Mining Damage GPU?
Temperature is the biggest enemy of computer hardware, and your GPU can get damaged if it constantly runs hot for extended periods.
In that sense, crypto mining can damage your GPU like heavy gaming or 3D rendering.
In addition, the GPU has to work 24/7 in crypto mining, operating with full power to perform calculations.
Prolonged exposure to constant heat can increase wear and tear even if you run your GPU at safe temperatures.
In addition, every hardware component has a limited lifespan, although long, that can shorten if you use it more frequently.
Running your GPU at full power 24/7 makes the component near its end faster.
Still, your GPU will be fine if you take care of the generated heat using advanced and reliable cooling solutions.
How Does Crypto Mining Work?
Simply put, you create new coins in crypto mining.
However, it involves verifying the transactions made on the blockchain network by doing difficult calculations and adding the coins you’ve earned to the block.
As you know, cryptocurrencies have no physical equivalences in the real world.
They’re digital currencies issued by blockchain members, not people in authority.
People can transfer these currencies and use them in transactions without requiring legal intermediaries to verify them.
When you buy a bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, you become a member of this network and can send or receive bitcoin within the network.
You can add to your bitcoins by purchasing or mining new bitcoin in the blockchain.
As the name indicates, a blockchain is a set of blocks connected to each other on an online ledger.
Members of the network verify the transactions inside each block, making it secure against double-spending or theft.
In addition, these currencies are secured because of the cryptographic algorithms that encrypt the data inside the blockchain.
Users compete to finish each calculation as fast as possible, and the network rewards the winner with a block of bitcoin.
The point is that the difficulty of these calculations keeps increasing as the number of miners increases and people use more powerful devices to solve them.
The Role Of GPU In Mining
The GPU is a computer’s main component for processing graphical and display functions.
It’s essential for outputting images and videos, enabling users to interact with the computer through their monitors.
However, mining has nothing to do with video or image processing.
It only involves decoding hashes (strings of data) through multiple and repetitive mathematical calculations.
Now, you may wonder why the GPU should be involved in this process.
Mining crypto requires high processing power, mainly offered by the Central Processing Unit (CPU).
However, even the most powerful CPUs can’t handle the demands of crypto mining.
Using the CPU’s power to mine crypto is inefficient due to its high power consumption and low speed.
On the other hand, the Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) has considerable processing power because it has more specialized functions: processing graphics.
It has fewer tasks to do, leaving it with more free resources that we can dedicate to mining.
Miners shift from CPU mining to GPU mining thanks to its advantages.
GPUs have higher clock speeds and make the mining process more efficient.
Although using the power of GPU is more expensive than the CPU, the higher speed can make up for the added cost by enabling the user to mine more bitcoins.
Since crypto mining is a lengthy process, miners require exceptionally fast and powerful hardware to do the job more quickly, which is why GPUs work better than CPUs.
Can You Mine Crypto On A Home Computer?
Cryptocurrencies have come a long way since they were introduced to the public.
Initially, they weren’t popular partly because they were unknown, making people doubt their viability as an alternative payment method to traditional, physical money.
As a result, the mining process was simple enough to be handled by a home computer.
However, as the difficulty of the mining process increased due to the crypto-mining gold rush and the increased number of miners, general-purpose PCs aren’t powerful enough to handle complex calculations anymore.
That’s even more so for bitcoin, which has become the most popular cryptocurrency since its introduction in 2009.
That was the main reason miners turned to GPUs specifically designed for mining.
These GPUs are more powerful than general-purpose and even gaming GPUs to handle complex calculations.
In addition, you can program them for the specific purpose of mining crypto.
However, the growing popularity of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies means miners require even more specialized hardware, leading to the adoption of application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miners.
If you’re new to bitcoin mining, you may never need to use your GPU and look for more powerful hardware.
You may even turn to cloud mining, using the processing power of powerful computers belonging to giant corporations.
That’s particularly essential with the insanely high power usage of mining and the huge electricity bills associated with it.
How To Prolong Your GPU’s Life
If you use your personal computer for bitcoin mining, you should take care of your GPU if it’s the main component doing the calculations.
These tips can help prolong the GPU’s life, which can be shortened by prolonged and constant use.
1. Keep Track Of Heat
Modern GPUs are efficient at handling heat. Most have failsafe throttling mechanisms that reduce their performance when they reach a dangerous temperature.
However, you don’t want reduced performance while mining bitcoins.
It’s essential to have the heat under control.
Every PC has a specific thermal threshold, which you can see in the device specifications.
However, most PCs shouldn’t run at temps higher than 80 or 90 degrees Celsius for a long time.
You can’t detect heat by simply looking at or even touching your computer because you can’t determine whether the high temperature is critically dangerous or below the safe threshold.
You could wait until you feel the smell of burning to ensure the system is critically hot, but it’ll be too late then.
Instead, you can use third-party apps to help you monitor your system temps and avoid disasters.
By checking the temps regularly, you can ensure your cooling solutions are healthy and detect problems early on.
2. Cool Things Down
A robust cooling system is a must for every computer setup, given the negative effects of heat on computer hardware.
However, it’s vital if you use your PC for mining, which can generate massive amounts of heat.
Proper maintenance can offset the effect of contestant use.
Since the GPU is constantly running, so are the fans, shortening their life, especially because they have moving parts.
You should always make sure the fans are working properly.
Fans are easy to check because you can see and hear them working.
However, since you can’t check your fans constantly while mining, you can use third-party apps to keep track of your fan health and warn you when they stop working.
Plus, you should clean them regularly to prevent dust buildup from affecting their performance.
You can also use more fans to help the GPU cool faster.
Fans require good ventilation and enough airflow to work efficiently.
You should always ensure your computer is in a cool, well-ventilated area.
In addition, clean your computer regularly to prevent the vents from getting blocked and obstructing airflow.
Another important tip is that you shouldn’t keep your GPU exposed.
Some users think that by opening the case and leaving the internal parts exposed, they can increase the airflow and avoid overheating.
However, it can negatively affect your components.
Firstly, it can lead to more dust buildup because the components aren’t covered.
Plus, the case panels keep the internal components firmly in place. Without them, you may experience more vibrations leading to more heat.
Finally, the airflow inside the case is streamlined so that each component gets proper and enough airflow.
If you remove the case panel, you’ll mess with the cooling system.
If you use fans for cooling down your computer, you should use powerful ones capable of handling that much heat.
However, just like gaming PCs that can benefit from liquid cooling, you can invest in this type of cooling to get better results.
These rigs are more efficient because they don’t have moving parts, rely on water instead of air, and don’t need ventilation.
3. Check The Heatsink
Your GPU has an efficient way of cooling down that works well with the fans or the liquid-cooling system to prevent the system from overheating.
When the graphics card gets hot, the heatsink attached to it absorbs the heat and dissipates it through the fans, vents, and radiators (in the case of liquid cooling).
In this system, an important component plays a central role: the thermal paste.
It’s a sticky material that connects the heatsink to the GPU, making a perfect bond between the two components and ensuring the heat is dissipated completely.
If the thermal paste is old, the heatsink can’t absorb heat properly, leading to overheating.
Even if you don’t use your GPU for bitcoin mining and perform usual computing tasks on your computer, you should regularly reapply thermal paste on the CPU and GPU to avoid overheating.
4. Adjust The Settings
When you start mining bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, you may be tempted to use the highest settings to get more work done in a shorter time.
However, you should first know the limits of your system and tweak the settings based on those limitations.
Pushing your device to its limits can shorten its lifespan and may not be worth it.
So, study everything carefully and see how you can set the clock speeds of your GPU and mining settings to achieve the best results without straining your equipment.
In addition, you can lower the power usage of the GPU to avoid overheating.
Every GPU has a certain power draw limit specified by the manufacturer.
Since drawing power can generate heat, you can keep it below 80% of the threshold to ensure it doesn’t get too hot.
Some GPUs allow you to adjust their power consumption limits.
But if your GPU doesn’t, you can use a third-party software such as MSI Afterburner, to limit the GPU’s power consumption.
Gaming Vs. Mining: Which One Can Damage The GPU More?
Many new miners prefer to use second-hand rigs or components because they think the entire project isn’t worth spending too much.
If you want to buy a used mining GPU, you must know what the previous owner did with it because it can affect its lifespan.
Gaming and mining can shorten the GPU’s lifespan because they massively strain it.
As mentioned, heat is the most dangerous factor that can damage your GPU, and both activities can generate heat.
Some experts argue that gaming is less taxing on the GPU because it doesn’t need to work as vigorously.
Depending on the game, the GPU load is lower or higher at different phases, letting it cool down occasionally.
On the other hand, mining requires the GPU to constantly work without giving it a chance to cool down.
However, mining experts have another perspective.
They believe that running a GPU at a constant workload and temperature is much better than making it go through different cooling cycles.
As long as the temps are within the safe range (less than 80 degrees C), it doesn’t matter how long it’s running.
GPUs are designed to work for extended periods under high load.
However, repeated cooling cycles can increase wear on the GPU.
Plus, professional miners take care of their GPUs by adjusting the power and clock settings to safe values to prolong their GPUs’ lifespans.
Gamers tend to overclock more, increasing heat and lowering lifespan.
Nevertheless, you should consider all important aspects before buying a second-hand GPU for mining and decide accordingly.