The 3 Best CPUs for a mining rig

Rank Image Manufacturer Product Name Score Check Price
1 Intel Pentium G4400 3.3 GHz LGA1151 Intel Intel BX80662G4400 Pentium Processor G4400 3.3 GHz FCLGA1151 121 reviews10.0View Product
2 Intel Celeron G3900 2.8 GHz Processor Intel Corporation Intel Celeron G3900 Dual-core (2 Core) 2.80 GHz Processor - Socket H4 LGA-1151Retail Pack 15 reviews9.5View Product
3 Intel Core i3-6100 3.70 GHz Intel Intel 3.70 GHz Core i3-6100 3M Cache Processor (BX80662I36100) 351 reviews9.3View Product

Mining rigs fall into 2 main categories: CPU miners and GPU miners. A CPU miner uses the computer’s central processor to do the mining and so a powerful processor will give you more mining power. A GPU miner uses the graphics card for mining, so the central processor really only has to run the operating system and mining software, and requires little processing power.

Bitcoin Mining Rig

When mining Bitcoin, a powerful CPU is needed, but recent developments in past years have developed what’s called ASIC chips that are purpose built and way more powerful than an Intel or AMD processor of the same cost. Thus, building a CPU mining rig isn’t financially beneficial anymore.

Ethereum Mining Rig

When mining for ether, because of the way the hashing algorithm is built, a graphics processor is needed to do the mining. Because of this, no purpose built ASIC chips have been built for ether so us little guys can still buy off-the-shelf parts and join in the industry. Since the ethereum mining build uses the GPU for mining, the CPU we choose does not need to be very powerful at all.

In fact, all our CPU needs to do is:

  • fit the CPU socket on the motherboard we’ve chosen (for me, it’s an LGA1151 socket)
  • be cheap so that we can turn a profit
  • (if you desire) powerful enough that if the mining thing falls flat, it will still make a decent computer for you to use or for reselling

This comparison chart will look at the cheapest (reliable) computer chips currently available for our budget ethereum rig build.

Choose a CPU for your Ethereum Mining Rig

Intel Pentium G4400 3.3 GHz LGA1151

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A step up from the Celeron processor, but with a slightly slower clock speed than the i3 Core processor (3.3 GHz instead of 3.8GHz), the Pentium G4400 processor is the one I’m going with for my mining rig build.

It’s the cheapest processor that isn’t the ‘Celeron’ line. Celeron has received a bad rap over the years, and, warranted or not, I think it affects the resale of my components should I decide to get out of mining. Plus, it’s only a few dollars more than the Celeron processor and should I decide to use my computer as a computer instead of a miner, it will provide me with that extra little bit of processing power. – it has 3MB cache instead of 2MB, and it has a 3.3 GHz clock speed instead of the Celeron’s 2.8GHz.

With an LGA1151 socket, this CPU will plug straight into the Z170 series motherboard I purchased.

$53.66
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Intel Core i3-6100 3.70 GHz

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Slightly more expensive than the Celeron processor, the i3 would be a good choice for a computer you plan to use after mining. This processor uses an LGA1151 socket, so make sure that’s the same type of socket your motherboard has.

PriceAbove Average
Processor Speed3.70 GHz
L3 Cache3 MB

$108.36
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Intel Celeron G3900 2.8 GHz Processor

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The Celeron is the cheapest processor in the Intel lineup. This G3900 CPU plugs into an LGA1151 socket – so make sure it matches your motherboard. This would be a great fit for the ZS170A style motherboards, and it’s going to be the cheapest thing you can find.

PriceBelow Average
Processor Speed2.80 GHz
L3 Cache2 MB

$41.93
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