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AMD Radeon RX 400 / RX 500 Will Be no Longer Profitable for Ethereum Mining?

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It is not rocket science that the longer a cryptocoin is being mined, the more is the mining difficulty and thus the less is the profitability. In the case with Ethereum, the mining performance decreases over time due to the increase of the DAG file size. More size puts more stress on the mining GPUs, which lowers their efficiency.

However, this is only part of the story. The real issue is that a great drop in Ethereum hashrate is expected for Radeon RX 400 / RX 500 series in the next couple of months. By ‘great’ I mean up to ~30% hashrate drop, which will increase gradually.

What Are the Causes?

According to statistics, users mine 30.000 blocks every 4-5 days. This amount of blocks is called a DAG Epoch. Every time we move to the next DAG epoch, the DAG file becomes larger. This means that weaker GPUS will have a harder time handling it. We are currently at DAG epoch #130. Once we hit DAG epoch #150 or so, the increased size of the DAG file will cause RX400 / RX500 GPUs to work with about 30% less efficiency. Since the file size growth is gradual, the performance decrease will be gradual too.

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Did this happen before?

Yes, indeed. If you remember, the AMD Radeon R9 280X GPUs suffered from the same kind of hashrate drop past year. Looks like the RX 400 / RX 500 are next in the list. Now, the newer and more powerful cards such as Nvidia Pascal GPUs, as well as the R9 290(x), / R9 390(x) that feature more video memory (6GB/8GB+) won’t be significantly affected.

I see the speed drop. I checked possible workarounds, at least for Polaris, they failed. So probably this hashrate drop cannot be fixed, at least on miner software level.Claymore

What Is the Takeaway from This?

First of all, you might want to consider newer GPUs for any future rigs you are going to build instead of the classic Radeon RX400 / RX500s. Or even if you are going to use them, it might be a good idea to include the 30% hashrate drop in your profitability calculations.

The second takeaway is that after all, video memory matters. GPUs with more video memory tend to stand the increase of DAG file size longer. Next time you’re getting a new GPU rig, you might consider the GPU memory amount; even though it might not affect the hashrate at first, it might add to the card lifespan.

GTX 1060 Series 17-22 Mh/sGTX 1070 Series 25-30 Mh/sGTX 1080ti Series 28-32 Mh/s
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 WINDFORCE OC 6GB
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 G1 Gaming 6GB
MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 FTW+ GAMING 6GB
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 8GB
MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1070 8GB
MSI Armor GeForce GTX 1070 8GB OC
ASUS GeForce GTX 1070 8GB
EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC GAMING ACX 3.0 Black Edition 8GB
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING OC 11GB
MSI GTX 1080 TI GAMING X 11GB
MSI GTX 1080 TI ARMOR 11GB
ASUS ROG STRIX GTX 1080TI GAMING 11GB

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Finally, if you want to test your rig and check how it will be affected by the DAG epoch changes, you might want to do this:

Go to the Claymore ETH miner and add this option: –benchmark 130

Then, change the number to 140, 150 or 160 and see how this affects the hashrate.

Here is my test with 5x Sapphire Nitro+ RX 470 4GB OC

sorry for the bad news 🙁

Hopefully there is Ethereum Classic, UBIQ, Expanse, ZCash, Monero and many more profitable altcoins waiting to be mined 🙂 so.. heads up!

Let me know what are your results while testing your rigs.

Thank you for reading. As always, your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome.

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  • pattanan chinanuvatana

    would the 8gb 480 580 be affected?

    • yes, I will test 480s and 580s soon.

      • Daniel

        just want 2 start a mining farm ….i have allready the grafic cards(msi radeon RX580 8GH) …want 2 start with 1000 grafic cards..can anyone help with good advice before i will start all this adventure?…

        • Tran Nguyen

          First, You need to find the way to have 1000 Cards

          • Daniel

            i got them allready my friend

          • Daniel

            can you tell whats the best rig i can make with RX 580 8Gb?

          • Tran Nguyen

            GTX 1070

          • Sup

            how have u got 1k gpu’s at this current time when is physically impossible to find any 580’s or 480’s

        • Hi @disqus_cwy6N4FSpy:disqus , put everything together and start mining 🙂 You can mine Ethereum at the beginning and then switch to what ever is more profitable like Ethereum Classic 🙂 What else do you need to know? 1000 GPUs is huge.. good job 🙂

          • Daniel

            Cipriane ..daca esti roman de-al meu vreau sa vb cu tine ceva in privat daca se poate despre ferma de minerit pe care vreau s-o incep acum in august in Asia si vreau sa-ti cer ajutorul tau in privinta asta…daca se poate….astept raspunsul tau…as vrea sa-ti propun un plan de afacere daca ma ajuti sa dau dau drumul la ferma asta de minerit (incep cu 1000 GPU din start)din punct de vedere tehnic am nevoie de experienta si expertiza ta….astept raspuns ….multumesc anticipat..

          • Dumitran Mihai

            I think i can help you ! ( sunt roman , o modalitate de contact ? )

          • Dumitran Mihai

            Modalitate de contact?

      • Stefan Nonchev

        Hey Ciprian,
        just following up if u’ve had the chance to test the 8GB 570s?

        • nope 🙁 cannot find to buy anywhere.. if you have them, send one to me for test 😀 or we can do it via teamviewer.

          • Jared Gallier

            Did you check out the RX580 8GB cards? I’m mining via ethos with claymore 9.5. If you provide instructions I can test it myself. Is it as easy as adding –benchmark 1xx to my claymore.stub.conf file? TIA

          • Konstantinos Killex

            currently having both rx 580 5gb asus elpida memory if want to test them contact me thank you for keeping us updated

          • send me your skype via contact page please.

          • Konstantinos Killex

            ok done!

    • Homer Simpson

      I just tested on my Nitro+ 480-8G and 580-8G : hashrate drops to 27 with “–benchmark 140” and my rig crashed with “–benchmark 150”.
      So yes, we can say 8GB will be affected too 🙁

      • Acácio Da Rosa Florentino

        Until there Ethereum most probably will become POS anyway…

  • UFO

    GTX 1070 will not drop? 30++

  • Daniel

    Ciprian can you help me with this?

  • sora adonis

    thanks!

  • Ed Stewart

    This is not such good news for many of us but thanks for the detailed discussion Ciprian. One of the things that had bothered me is when my 3gig 1060s will no longer run due to DAG size growth so I did a review of DAG growth and found out 3gig cards are ok until Oct/Nov 2018 and more than likely we will already be on pos by then. If you would like to view my data here is the table that shows growth over time.

    https://goo.gl/YHM7HY

  • Nguyễn Trung Tín

    So, when will we come to DAG epoch #150?! About 50 days from now?

    • Grant Southey

      New DAG in 2 hours to 131.. so 19×5 = +-95 days.

      If the number of blocks mined goes up faster than 5 days, could be less?

      • Nguyễn Trung Tín

        Thank you so much! Someone said that it will be slower to come to further blocks because of difficulty rise, is it true? Any replacement to eth for rx400/500 after DAG #150?!

        • R9 or Nvidia

          • Nguyễn Trung Tín

            Sorry, I mean what to mine if I keep my rigs-rx570

          • Anything profitable 🙂 ETC, ZCash, Monero, Ubiq, Expanse etc..

          • flavio

            seems ethereum classic have same problem hash drop @ dag 140
            ubiq is dag epoch 4 right now and expanse 21 so seems they have pretty much time to reach critical dag size. Don’t know about equihash because i think my gpu needs different settings with that algo (uses more cpu power). Please can you confirm that. thanks for hard job.

  • Nika Kandiashvili

    Which altcoin do you prefer to mine before Ethereum?

  • Grant Southey

    RX 580 Nitro+ 8gb @ 140 – 28.3mh/s
    RX 580 Nitro+ 8gb @ 150 – 24.9mh/s
    RX 580 Nitro+ 8gb @ 160 – 21.8mh/s

    A little tweaking will offset it, but not too far or too long..

  • Marcos Vinicius Scholl

    Why is not R9 290x 4gb and 390x unaffected? What particularity of the Rx that make inferior in this question?

  • Jose M. Carrero

    Ciprian!

    How are you?

    How much time can take to switch from one DAG to other DAG, example 130 to 140!

    I really appreciate your opinion!

    • will take like 30000 blocks or 100 hours for next dag, didn’t check what dat is now.

  • Mist

    How about R9 380

  • Jose Alberto Barreto

    Hi Ciprian, i have 20 570 4 gb preordered arriving by july 15, at 225 euros a piece, what do you think would be more proffitable, cancel all of them and get 10 1070 today for 450-500 a piece i allready have the rest of the gear and its such a dissapoinment wait for 1.5 months for the cards and read this today

    thanks for all your advice

    • Why to cancel ? Keep them of course.. you have bigger hashrate.. why cancel ?

      • Jose Alberto Barreto

        oh thats because by now i can only afford the 20 rx or 10 gtx, its one or another, rx by july 15 gtx by tomorrow at local store, as i see it, its going to be half hashrate now but the same in the future vs double hashrate but with a decrease over time (about 100 days they say)

        so, what would be more profitable, mine today and keep those cards or wait some weeks and start mining with double hashrate but just for a few months?

        • IHike

          Go with gtx 1060 6gb models. Easy enough to OC to 23+ and they run 250-300 or about 150 cheaper only losing 6 mhs per card. Though with 1070s you would save a bit on the rig costs. It’s about 40-50 extra per card when you factor in the rig.

          • Coché Barreto

            Actually i went with 4 1080 ti as they where the only ones available, better that than nothing and i allready had the rest of the equipment, with the spare mb and risers maybe ill wait for vega

  • N. Cheri

    First of all thank you for al the information, but could you please help me out?
    For a long time i was thinking about the PULSE RX580 8GB. After reading this article i was planning to go for the Geforce 1080Ti’s 11GB. Price here is 740 euro, and the 1070’s around 500 and up to 650. So what is the best i can do? And also if you reccomand the 1070 more which model should i choose?

    • Hi, i would go with 1070, what i have seent the best results comes from gigabyte g1 versions..

      • N. Cheri

        Thank you, that’s the model with one fan right i was also thinking about that one. But a lot of people say a different model is better because 24/7 mining needs more fan. And i was only doubting the 1070 because of its high price of 550/600 dollars, for just 100/150 more i thought the 1080ti’s will have better resale value in case ETH drops. You helped me a lot, only thing that’s in my head is the overpice and the fact that besides ETH/ETC there isn’t a lot to mine in case everything drops. And the AMD cards can mine a lot of different coins in case something happens. Would love to see you reply this one more time. Amazing blog, love it!

        • Actually there are more coins waiting to be miner like ubiq, expanse, zcash, monero, or you can simply mine with nicehash and get paid with bitcoins 🙂

      • Rado Misarokov

        Where I can see that? What do you think about Palit GTX 1070 Dual 8GB DDR5? 30mh/s for ETH is it possible?

        Thanks

        • Hi, i have no idea about this.. i have tested the gigabyte 1070 only, which i will post the article soon..

          • Rado Misarokov

            Thanks, waiting to see it.

        • IHike

          I have two MSI mini 1070s that get 31-32. OC settings Mem +750 PL 90% fan 90% don’t change the core leave it.

  • Wesley

    Other gpu mined coins can be more profitable to mine in this instance.

  • Pav

    This is really terrible new :/

    I just put a rig together with 6 x MSI Radeon RX 580 🙁

    Currently on claymore (mining nanopool, which keeps kicking my rig off) I average about 26.5 MH/s and that too after modding the bios a bit, copying straps down and overclocking, Im now terrified to know it will drop lower after all the work that went into it.

    I was hoping to put another rig together but now I begin to wonder whats the next best set would be, Ciprian, if you had a good hookup with your local nVidia and AMD distributor, which one would you go for haa!?

    • Hey Pav, i guess ill go with the Nvidia this time.. the 1070s.. you get around 30-32 mh/s on ethereum.. ill post an article soon.

      • Pav

        Oh wow, I wish I would’ve contacted sooner, its just been a couple of weeks since they arrived. And I’ve been doing it all just to get a stable 26.5MH/s, Im going to try copy down the 2:1625 straps down to 2250, currently Ive been getting that for 2:1750 all the way down!

        I hope to hit 28 at optimum level but after everything it just ends up dropping soon, its going to be really disappointing. 🙁

        • With current DAG epoch, i guess you should hit 28 for sure 🙂 For 580 8gb try copying from 2:1750 to 2:2000 and 2:2250

          • Pav

            Yup, copied down 2:1750 down to 2250 and its stable, will try 1625 now.
            But at max I can get it up to 26.5 without messing up the graphics or restarting.
            I researched and found out all RX 580s arent behaving the same, I have the MSI Gaming X Radeon RX 580. Hopefully after more trial and error, it will get better. But now Im considering going for the GTX 1070 hence, its a way cheaper option too!

          • IHike

            You should use Zotac or MSI 6gb itx mini 1060s. Minimal tweaks they do 23.5+ mhs in Claymore. Mem+975 clock +100 Pl 85% fan 90%

    • i kept wondering why my rig was dropping and then just now my 4x MSI Radeon RX 580 have 62 MH/s! this is with no BIOS mod

  • Meine Seiten

    What DAG Epoch are we right now? 25 july 2017?????

  • M.Toral Lülü

    has anyone issued hashrate drop for sapphire rx 480 nitro+ 8gb cards with samsung rom my all card’s shasrate are decreasing day to day i read some posts about this because of dag file size but these cards are 8gb current size is 2.4 gb isnt it? claymore has announced also this cant be fixed at software level nobody is issuing this only me?

  • Nizam

    hi…hashrate performance drop only for ethereum or others coin also….
    using rx570 series…pls give me some idea…really appreciate…TQ

  • Simon Pitt

    Just turned my 2 rigs off today, making a loss now after electric costs. My rigs are all RX480’s, what would you guys recommend to mine instead, or should I just sell it all?

    • What do you mean ? You are still in profit with two rigs, even with one.. if you are looking for profits mine ethereum or ubiq

      • Simon Pitt

        nope not anymore, making a LOSS after electric on RX480’s now.

  • Mark Lepore

    Overblown… just jump on a different currency.

  • Julius Isan Villaganas Villamo

    dang… that explains why my RX480 is getting 19-20mhs nowadays >_>

  • Marco

    Err – 290x is not available in 6 or 8gb and why would my 580 8gb be affected but not a 290x 4gb? Doesn´t really make sense.

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