Last updated October, 2019
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.
Technically, there could be a third category, and that would be a mining rig that has a CPU powerful enough to manage the GPU software as well as CPU mining at the same time. For our purposes, a search for a CPU in this situation would be the same as the CPU you would want in a dedicated CPU mining rig.
Best CPU for Mining in 2019
As the cryptocurrency industry matures, more and more coins are being released that are CPU mineable – Monero is still the most popular, but there are many others, and if you’re mining for profit, often times more can be made mining the small coins and swapping it out for the coin you really want.
Best CPU for GPU Mining Rig
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 GPU mining rig’s 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
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.
Intel Celeron G3900 2.8 GHz Processor
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.
Intel Core i3-6100 3.70 GHz
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.