AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Desktop Processor
Made for Multitasking
Efficient Power Intake
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AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X Processor
PBO and SenseMI
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Intel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor
Intel Optane support
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Winner: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Desktop Processor
In addition, since it has been designed to complement high-fps gameplay with AAA titles, the CPU can easily handle the mining activities. Of course, you will have to take care of high temperatures somehow.
You might already know that AMD does an impressive job of multitasking management. The chip comes with 12 cores and 24 threads, consuming a maximum of 105W when in peak performance. You can install the processor on any AM4 CPU socket as well. And, if you have one of those x570 or B550 motherboards, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Desktop Processor will offer PCIe 4.0 support as well. It means you can step up your rig if necessary.
The processor comes with 12 cores, which is a sweet spot for CPU-based mining. But, more importantly, the chip can reach a maximum speed of 4.8GHz when unlocked. Together, you would not have to stop mining with this rig on your side.
The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Desktop Processor is one of those CPUs made for content creators and extreme PC enthusiasts. So, the chip can easily handle multitasking without affecting your hashrate. It means you do not have to worry about running one or two background processes.
Managing the performance of your mining rig is easy when you use this processor. You can use the AMD Ryzen Master Utility to control many things, such as fan speeds, core voltage, CPU frequencies, etc. Because it is an unlocked processor, you can boost the chip with a single click.
As we mentioned, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Desktop Processor has a wattage of only 105W. However, on the bright side, it has an L2+L3 cache of 70MB as well. Because of this optimized design, mining on a system powered by this chip will be a smooth experience.
The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Desktop Processor package does not come with a cooler. It means you will have to spend extra on a high-performance CPU cooler. You do not want the CPU to reach its maximum temperature of 90C.
Runner-up: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X Processor
In these instances, you should consider the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X Processor. Made for resource-intensive gaming and mining, this unlocked processor packs more power than you can imagine. In addition, it packs some of the most innovative technologies from the manufacturer.
The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X Processor comes with 12 cores and 24 threads. More importantly, the chip uses the Precision Boost Overdrive technology to keep the CPU running at the optimal speed at all times. It easily supports a system with quad-channel DDR4 memory and up to 64 PCIe lanes. Together, the chip can reach a maximum frequency of 4.3GHz. While it is not as high as some competitors in the market, it will stably power the mining rig.
Even though it packs the same number of cores and threads as our winner pick, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X Processor is more performance-friendly. It has been designed for multi-core performance, which you can leverage during CPU-based mining.
The processor uses two technologies from AMD — Precision Boost Overdrive and SenseMI — to maintain its peak performance. While SenseMI uses machine learning technology to understand the need for boosts, PBO makes these boosts easier than ever.
The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X Processor uses one of the most modern designs you can expect for the price. You can also be sure that you do not have to replace the CPU anytime sooner. When you build a mining system with this chip, it will stay future proof.
Thanks to its broad compatibility, you can install this unlocked processor in a bit. It has built-in support for the TR4 CPU socket. Moreover, you can get the maximum graphical performance and stability when using one of the optimized motherboards.
As we said earlier, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X Processor is a beast when it comes to power needs. It has a TDP of 180W, which is comparatively higher. So, it means you may end up ruining your mining setup if you do not use one of the high-performance coolers. Also, the CPU does not come in cheap.
Alternative: Intel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor
This eighth-generation CPU is one of the less expensive unlocked CPUs in the market right now. Even though you may miss some modern Intel processor features, they will not stop you from running the mining rig at full speed.
As for the hardware specifications, the Intel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor comes with 6 cores and 12 threads in total. While they are not the absolute highest, the performance does justice to the numbers. In addition, the chip can hit a Turbo frequency of 4.7GHz while the base frequency is set at 3.7GHz. You also get a 12MB cache, which can smoothen the hashrates. The chip works with LGA 1151 sockets and has a TDP of 95W.
The Intel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor comes with a total of 6 cores, which can boost your earnings from the CPU-based rig. This extra performance is also thanks to some of the unlocked features on the processor. For instance, you can benefit from the integrated graphics to an extent.
This unlocked CPU for mining is affordable from two perspectives. First, it has a TDP of 95W, meaning that you can run the processor without worrying about bills. Second, you can get the CPU by spending a fraction of the elite-performance alternatives in the market.
Even though it is an eighth-generation Intel chip, you can benefit from some features. For instance, it comes with Intel Optane support. This tech would be crucial while preparing your system for the best performance on all days.
Compared to the other CPUs we have considered, the Intel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor does not offer enough cache memory. Because CPU-based mining heavily depends on cache, the processor may produce minor differences in the hashrate.
Alternative: Intel Pentium Gold G5420 Desktop Processor
Nevertheless, you will not have any trouble using the system for running a rig with decent mining speeds. Furthermore, because the chip does not consume much power, you do not have to worry about unexpected expenses, either.
Compared to the other products we have featured, the Intel Pentium Gold G5420 Desktop Processor packs only fewer cores and threads. You get only two cores and four threads, consuming up to 54W of power. You would not have trouble connecting the CPU to a motherboard with an LGA 1151 socket. But, you may have to update the motherboard for full support. When it is all set and working, it can run at a top frequency of 3.8GHz.
You can get the Intel Pentium Gold G5420 Desktop Processor by spending less than what you would spend on an expensive meal. Therefore, if you want to test how CPU-based mining works out for you, you can try building a system with the CPU.
The TDP of the chip is marked at only 54W, which is a blessing when it comes to a mining rig. So, even if you run the machine at maximum power, you would not cause any significant fluctuation in the electricity bill. Therefore, it is an excellent step towards usability.
We mentioned that the Intel Pentium Gold G5420 Desktop Processor comes with stable performance. It also happens to be one of the most reliable options in the market. Regardless of its age, you get some top features like Optane Memory.
It is worth noting that the Intel Pentium Gold G5420 Desktop Processor is not an overclocked processor. It means you would not have access to an enhanced performance control. On the bright side, it is suitable for first-time mining rigs.
Alternative: Intel Core i5-7600K Desktop Processor
Therefore, you can enjoy 4-core, 4-thread performance without paying double or triple the price. Of course, even though it belongs to a previous generation of Intel processors, the extra number of cores will increase the hashrate.
The system comes with a base frequency of 3.8GHz but can step up the game to 4.2GHz when required. At the same time, it only has 6MB of Intel Smart Cache, which may not be enough for effective mining. On the positive side, though, the chip has a wattage of 91W. Therefore, even if you experiment a lot on the CPU, it would not consume more than a limit of resources. Having said that, this chip does not have support for Intel hyper-threading.
You have to pay only a decent amount to get the Intel Core i5-7600K Desktop Processor. It means you can spend on other important categories like GPU and motherboard. It is a great choice to build a rig that can handle both CPU and GPU-based mining.
The processor does not hesitate to reach maximum speeds of 4.2GHz, which comes in handy. With quad-core performance on the side, your mining activities will not face any problems. However, you should keep an eye on the number of background processes.
The CPU does not reach difficult-to-handle temperatures, either. Therefore, it is not necessary to spend a lot on an expensive cooling system. Sure, the cooling system can benefit the entire system’s performance, but it works only if you have a reasonable budget.
Like the previous option, the Intel Core i5-7600K Desktop Processor is not unlocked. So, even though it has support for up to 4.2GHz, you cannot have complete control over the numbers. So, again, it could be a problem when you want to step up the performance game.
CPU for Mining FAQ
Do you need a good CPU for mining?
You need a good CPU for mining if you plan to use protocols that use CPU resources instead of GPU power.
As mentioned in the introduction, some cryptocurrencies like Bytecoin and Zcash use CPU resources to mine new coins. If you want to leverage these coins, your mining rig must have a powerful CPU.
In this case, even if you have a less-than-ideal GPU, you cannot compromise the quality and capability of the CPU. Therefore, even if you do not plan to use CPU-based mining, it is good to have an excellent CPU for your mining rig. After all, you want the mining rig to handle several activities without slowing down, correct?
Is CPU mining profitable?
The answer to this question is a little tricky. Many people believe that CPU mining is not as practical as GPU mining, but this story has many layers.
Like the case of GPU mining, CPU mining also depends on a number of factors like hashrate, mining difficulty, pooling policies, hardware-based maintenance, etc. More importantly, though, CPU miners encounter more hardware-based limitations than GPU miners.
For instance, they will have to consider overheating, lower hash power, background activities, the reliance on RAM instead of VRAM, etc. In short, a CPU may not be able to attain the same hash rate that a GPU can. In the grand scheme of profitability, it would mean that CPU mining would be less profitable. The presence of fewer ALUs is also considered a problem with CPUs.
However, today, we cannot end a narrative of crypto mining without talking about competition. As we mentioned, CPU-based mining is not as popular as GPU-based mining. So, you can expect reduced competition while mining the altcoins that we talked about. Therefore, you have a good mining rig with a powerful CPU so that you may earn more from CPU mining than GPU mining.
Long story short, you should not dismiss CPU mining as less profitable. On the contrary, it could be as good as or more profitable than GPU-based mining at times.
Is CPU mining safe?
According to the expert opinion, CPU mining is not as safe as GPU mining. However, that is not the end of the story. There are a couple of reasons why CPU mining is considered relatively unsafe. First, using a CPU to mine cryptocurrencies can be a massive place for overheating. Of course, when the CPU gets overheated to a point, it will lead to a PC shutdown to protect the computer.
However, if this happens continuously, your PC hardware will encounter more issues. Therefore, before you set up a PC for CPU-based mining, you have to consider a few things.
For instance, you should have at least one system to keep the CPU temperature as low as possible. Most people use liquid cooling and super-efficient coolants to make this work. However, in most cases, the cooler built into your CPU will not cut it.
Similarly, you have to make sure that background-running processes do not burden the CPU. They can not only reduce the hashrate but also damage the system in the long run. If you keep these background tasks at bay, the CPU will only focus on the mining task.
Therefore, in addition to increasing the day-to-day revenue from the rig, you can expect the rig to last long without racking up the electricity bills.
Is CPU or GPU mining better?
There is no simple answer to this question. While all mining rigs require a CPU and GPU, not all of them use these processors equally. For example, you need a more powerful GPU than a CPU if you are mining popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether.
On the other hand, if you are mining altcoins like Bytecoin or Zcash, you must prioritize the CPU over the GPU. Now, there are pros and cons to both methods.
In general, GPU mining is considered safe and more profitable. It is because GPUs have a higher hashrate. It is also worth noting that GPUs do not encounter as many hardware-based limitations as CPUs. Therefore, a GPU-powered mining rig should provide you with a considerable income without many issues. Nevertheless, due to the boom of Bitcoin mining, potential GPUs are either super-expensive or unavailable.
On the other hand, CPU mining can damage the system if not done correctly. Because CPUs encounter a lot of hardware limitations, they cannot achieve the same hashrate as GPUs. It could be a problem when we look at things from a profitability standpoint. On the bright side, though, you do not have to spend a lot to build a CPU-based mining rig.
Therefore, you should choose between these two options based on what you expect from your mining rig.
We believe this guide helped you choose the best CPU for your mining rig — or at least filter the options. It was our idea to make this list as diverse as possible.
Therefore, regardless of the mining system you want to build, you will have a suitable pick. We must also add that we have chosen the best CPUs for CPU-based rigs. Therefore, if you are looking for a CPU that can complement the powerful GPU you have bought, you do not have to spend a lot of money. You might as well work with one of the lower-configuration CPUs out there.