Can Crypto Mining Damage Your GPU?

The 2021 bull market is in full swing, and the question on everyone’s mind is whether or not they can use their computers to mine cryptocurrencies. The biggest thing stopping them from jumping in right away is the fear that using their computers to mine crypto might lead to their GPU sustaining damage.

Crypto mining doesn’t damage your GPU any more than regular use. Heat damages components of the GPU if not correctly managed. If the GPU is under sustained load for long periods, components can degrade if airflow or other cooling measures aren’t in place. GPUs do have some built-in safety features.

You’ve spent hundreds of dollars on your new graphics card and waited so long for it to be delivered because it was out of stock around the country. Before you commit your graphics card to the crypto mines, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

4 Main Reasons Why GPU’s Are Damaged

Whether or not you are mining or gaming, you could be eating away at your GPU and other components’ lifespan without knowing it. Let’s look at the four main reasons that lead to component failure in your system.

  1. Power Component Failure. Heat causes many issues in your system and could lead to component failure or even fires if not properly maintained. Capacitors are an excellent example of initial component failure. Capacitors can take about 105 degrees Celsius, and some are rated for about 10,000 hours. Some of the cheaper ones could be placed around 5,000 hours running at 105 degrees Celsius.
  2. Overdraw. Mining rigs tend to fail due to overdrawing on the power cables. This scenario is where you either exceed the current rating of the power supply for that connection or exceed the current rating that the wire gauge can withstand.
  3. Fan Failure. Depending on how many hours your fans are rated, if you are running your fans at high speeds for prolonged periods, a failure could occur when their life span is exceeded. When the fans fail, other components will fail unless they have a mechanism built to trigger a shutdown.
  4. Sustained Load. Keeping the system running on a sustained load that isn’t adequately managed leads to more heat, and the more heat that’s in the system, the quicker components wear out.

How To Prevent Damage

  • Power Offset. You can keep a lot of these adverse effects at bay by modifying your GPU with a simple power offset. If you set its power limit to around 70%, it will be well below what it’s rated to handle. Your components should be serviceable if it has adequate cooling.
  • Increase Fan Speed. In conjunction with the lowering of the power target, a slight increase in fan speed will ensure there’s enough direct cooling on the back of the card and that excess radiant heat gets ejected effectively.
  • Control Ambient Temperature. Keeping the room’s ambient temperature down to a minimum could be challenging but will be rewarding in the long run. If your computer can get cool fresh air from the outside, then it will have a better chance of keeping your internal components at a lower temperature.
  • Proper Pc Setup. Ensuring there is enough space in between the components in your computer aids in the internal airflow. Allowing unrestricted air to pass over hot areas helps keep temperatures down.
  • Overclocking. Modern GPUs are designed to be overclocked. Just don’t overdo it for the sake of getting a better hash rate. Over-stressing, your GPU, will lead to failure in the future.
  • Maintenance. Keeping dust out of your computer is essential for prolonging your component’s lifespan. Dust makes it harder for heat to radiate off your components.

What Causes GPU Memory To Burn Out?

GPU memory can burn out if you modify the graphics card in a way that interferes with the space between the cooler and the components. Another scenario you might encounter is where you have many racks of systems stacked right on top of each other in a high ambient environment (40°C – 50°C), leading to a thermal runaway.

Built-In Protection

All modern GPUs are equipped with at least one temperature sensor. This sensor’s function is to detect where or not the temperature is too high. High temperatures trigger a signal to the VRM controller instructing it to shut off the GPU. 

Another feature that keeps the temperature in check is the power stage controller. This controller is responsible for converting higher incoming voltages to lower, more useable volts in the GPU die. The GPU die sends a signal to the power controller. If the power controller detects that the voltage is too high, it will immediately regulate incoming power. Over-temperature protection is essential for safety reasons, and all cards have it enabled by default.

Read more on why do crypto miners needs GPU’s?

Why Are GPUs Used For Crypto Mining Instead Of CPUs?

CPUs have limited processing speed and require a lot of power relative to their limited output. With the development in graphics card technology increasing significantly over the past few years, they have become extremely sought after by crypto miners.

GPU mining has multiple benefits over their CPU mining counter-parts. Modern GPUs have very high processing speeds, which allows them to compute a lot more information in a condensed time frame, all while requiring less power to do so.

Graphics cards are equipped with many Arithmetic Logic Units (ALU) that can perform complicated mathematical computations. Because they have so many of these ALU’s, they can achieve more calculations than CPUs.

GPUs in a mining setup have one job and one job only. They mine crypto. While the CPU needs to share its processing capabilities across several functions, the GPU can do the required computations to complete the blockchain without diverting resources to other tasks.

Top 5 Gaming/Mining GPUs 2021

Crypto miners who are actively mining the Ethereum token have taken a liking to these cards in particular because of their value for money when it comes to their hash rate to power conversion ratio.

  1. Nvidia GTX 1660TI/SUPER. Nvidia launched this card in 2019. This card has become extremely popular with miners because of its low price and low power usage during mining. Expected daily yield: $2.50
  2. Nvidia GTX 3060TI. One of Nvidia’s most popular graphics cards. This card’s price to hash rate is exceptionally high. Expected daily mining yield: $5
  3. Nvidia GTX 3080. This card has a large number of Cuda cores, which makes it perfect for mining. Expected daily mining yield: $9
  4. AMD Radeon Navi 5700. With a little tweaking to this card’s bios, it can be very comparable to the 3060TI.Expected daily mining yield: $5
  5. AMD Radeon Navi 5600XT. This card is less expensive than the AMD Radeon 5700 but doesn’t have the same bios modding capabilities. Expected daily mining yield: $3

The Cryptocurrency Forums is an Amazon Associate. I earn from qualifying purchases. There is no additional cost to the buyer for using affiliate links.

 Nvidia GTX 1660TI/SUPERNvidia GTX 3060TINvidia GTX 3080AMD Radeon Navi 5700AMD Radeon Navi 5600XT
Manufacturer Price$219.99$399.99$699.99$399.99$279.99
Average Lifespan3-5 years3-5 years3-5 years3-5 years3-5 years
Maximum GPU Temperature (in C)959393110110
TPD120 W200 W320 W180 W150 W
Recommended Power Supply300 W550 W700 W450 W450 W
Recommended Wire GaugeAWG 18AWG 18AWG 18AWG 18AWG 18
Due to high demand, many cards are selling for premiums over MSRP on Amazon

GPU Tweaks: Overclocking And Undervolting

So you’ve picked the card that’s right for you, or you’ve had it in your system for years. Before you start mining, take into consideration that your GPU might still be running default factory settings.

If you don’t intend to overclock and under volt your GPU, you shouldn’t have a problem using it for mining as long as it has adequate cooling.

On the other hand, if you want to make the most out of your GPU’s mining capabilities, then consider combining overclocking with undervolting. Using these methods will ensure that your GPU will run faster and at reduced relatively high temperatures.

Conclusion

Whether it be gaming, mining, or just endlessly browsing Netflix searching for something to watch, no matter what, you use your GPU. It can be damaged due to heat. If you manage your system’s heat, ensure it is dust-free, and keep your room nice and chilly, you won’t have any issues using it to mine for cryptocurrencies for years to come.

tac

TC first began coding on TRS-80’s in high school in 1979. He has been around since the early days where you had to create a function if you wanted your computer to do something. From there to Atari, Commodore, Apple, and PC, he’s written code for them all. Trained in medicine rather than tech, he kept up with the tech world by writing the occasional utility to help with medical training. He also got involved in tech investing early, and managed to avoid the boom/bust cycle in the 90’s because he recognized that many companies didn’t serve a product that consumers needed. Now he applies this background, training and investing approach to cryptocurrency. He shares his thoughts here while providing educational resources for beginner to intermediate cryptocurrency investors and users.

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