With the current Ethereum price close to another ATH, mining on a single GPU can still prove profitable. I am running a single RTX 2070 Super and currently making approx. $4 profit every 24 hours (at time of writing ETH is $1,828). It's not huge returns, but it is $4 extra ETH I technically wouldn't of had 24 hours ago.
Below is my guide to help newcomers start mining ETH. As always, do your own research and this is by no means financial advice.
What you'll need:
- Windows 10, Linux or raveOS
- An Ethereum Wallet
- Ethereum Mining Software
- Nvidia or AMD Graphics Card (recommended 6Gb card or higher)*
Steps we'll take:
- Get an Ethereum Wallet
- Choose a Mining Pool
- Download Mining Software
- Configure Mining Software
- Viewing Hashrate and mined ETH Balance
*Some 4Gb cards will still work in ‘Zombie Mode’ but things get complicated, so for the purpose of this being a Beginners Guide, I will stick to 6Gb cards and up, using Windows 10.
Before jumping in, you can work out an approx. Hashrate for your graphics card and potential earnings per month on the sites below.
- https://whattomine.com/coins (Great site that compares Ethereum to other coins in terms of mining profitability, including ability to add the price per kWh in $)
- https://whattomine.com/coins/151-eth-ethash (Ethereum calculator, you will need to know your Card's )
- https://www.coincalculators.io/coin/ethereum (Another site to calculate)
- https://www.coinwarz.com/mining/ethereum/calculator (A third site to calculate)
- https://2cryptocalc.com/ (Forth site to calculate, you will need to manually add your electricity cost here)
*Screenshot from https://www.whattomine.com/gpus
If you are unsure what a Hashrate is, it is basically a number that reflects the performance of your mining hardware (your graphics card) - you can read a more in-depth explanation here.
DISCLAIMER: I feel I must mention ETH 2.0 and how it will affect Ethereum mining (ultimately it will mean Ethereum mining will stop as the coin moves from a Proof-of-work (PoW) to a proof of stake). No one knows when this will happen but there is talk of anywhere between 6 months to 2 years from now. Investing in expensive equipment at this time might take a few months to see a return on the investment and ETH mining might stop before that even happens. - all while the fluctuation Ethereums value itself also plays a large factor. AS ALWAYS DYOR.
If you have made it this far, this is where things finally happen!
Step 1. Ethereum Wallet
Make sure to have an Ethereum wallet address set up (like Metamask). When you mine Ethereum, you will be mining to an Ethereum wallet address. This could be a wallet on an exchange or a wallet that you hold the keys to. The latter is recommended but DYOR on the pros and cons for each.
Image: Metamask logo
Step 2. Choosing a Mining Pool
A mining pool is a pool of miners that are working together and rewarded together. It would be near impossible to mine Ethereum (and most coins) by yourself on a single card – but when thousands of people combine their GPU power, that’s when blocks can be found, and profit can be generated. Do not get me wrong, solo mining has its rewards, but for Beginners I would suggest sticking to a pool.
Personally, I use 2miner’s European mining pool, simply because it was recommended by a close friend (being in South Africa, Europe is by far the best ping for me as well). Here is a list of the Top 10 ETH mining pools for 2021 (originally written in 2020 I believe but I’ve been using Changelly for years so I can’t fault them). As always DYOR when it comes to picking a mining pool. Remember that location does help so try and pick a pool that is close to you in terms of physical distance as this will affect your ping. Check the mining pool fees as well, as each pool will have their own minimum payment amount and payout frequency.
If you want to see live mining pool stats to help decide what pool to use, you can look here: https://miningpoolstats.stream/ethereum
*Screenshot from https://miningpoolstats.stream/
Step 3. Mining Software
You will need to download Ethereum Mining Software. There are a few. I personally use T-Rex (for Nvidia), but you can also use lolMiner if you are using AMD. I have not tested another miner besides T-Rex, but I do plan to write an Ethereum Miner comparison article soon. I use T-Rex as it was recommended by the same friend and it is also recommended by 2miners, the mining pool I use.
When downloading a miner, make sure that you’re on the official github page and not downloading from 3rd party sites, there are tons of scam downloads out there posing as these miners that you want avoid. Below are the official Github pages.
T-Rex: for Nvidia Cards: https://github.com/trexminer/T-Rex/releases/
lolMiner for AMD Cards: https://github.com/Lolliedieb/lolMiner-releases/releases/tag/1.24
Step 4. Setting up the Miner
Once you have downloaded the Miner, its time to set things up. This has become a lot easier over the years as most miners now come with the .bat files already configured for you. The only thing you need to do is to change the Ethereum wallet address from the mining pool's address to your own Ethereum wallet address (and possibly update the server URL depending on the location of the mining pool - most mining pools have 3 locations being US, EU and Asia).
To start, locate the file of the Miner that you have downloaded and unzip it. Once unzipped, open the folder and you will see a bunch of Windows Batch Files (.bat) like the screenshot below. If you don't see the .bat file extensions you can enable file extensions to show via Windows File Explorer Options and unticking the 'Hide extensions for known file types' under the 'View' tab.
In our case we want to locate the file named ETH-2miners.bat, as ETH is what we want to mine and 2miners is the pool we want to use. Right click and select ‘Edit’.
If you are using Windows, it will most likely try and block the file – this is common. Simply allow the file and continue. This will open the file in Notepad – change the Ethereum address from what is already there to your own Ethereum address, save and close Notepad.
Note that you might need to change the URL as well, depending on which location you are connecting to (i.e. US, EU, Asia server).
PS - you can give your mining rig a name by changing the ‘rig0’ when editing the .bat file - in my case I named mine ‘McToastyCat’ as seen in the screenshot above. There is no real need to do so, but if you have two or more rigs running this can be useful.
Once you have saved and closed the Notepad file, double-click and open it to run and a Command shell (cmd) should open – you are now officially mining Ethereum! If Windows tries to block the .bat file from opening, again just allow the file through. When everything is running correctly, you should start to see something like the screenshot below.
Step 5. Finding Your Mining Balance and Hashrate
Now that you have things up and running, your first question will most likely be, "how much ETH/USD have I earned?!" Depending on which pool you're mining to, head over to their website and usually somewhere near the top of the page will be a search option, copy/paste your ETH wallet address in and you should be presented with a bunch of info, including and earnings.
For 2miners, the Current Hashrate is the last 30 minutes average, and the Average Hashrate is the last hour. I do believe it over-reads somewhat as my RTX 2070 Super shouldn't be reaching these Hashrates...but I won't be complaining if they are!
The over-reading of Hashrates does make me want to test a few other pools and see the readings there as well as the profitability. Note that if you switch mining pools, your balance does NOT carry with you. You will need to reach the minimum threshold per site's pool to earn the payout from that pool (i.e my Unpaid balance with 2miners needs to reach ETH0.05 before I get paid out. If I decide to start mining with sparkpool.com before getting paid out at 2miners, I will technically be throwing away the time at 2miners if I never return and stay with that other Pool. You can always come back and continue mining to get to that threshold though, but just remember jumping around pools is most likely going to slow down your payout time. I would definitely recommend sticking with one pool until getting paid out. Remember to check all the pools minimum payouts and fees when deciding which pool to mine with.
I hope you found this Guide useful and if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or contact me on Twitter.