When mining cryptocurrency, graphics processing units, or GPUs, are undeniably the “sexy” component of the rig. It is GPUs, after all, which do the actual “mining” by computing the hashes which earn the user the cryptocurrency in the first place.
However, the profitability of cryptocurrency is not simply determined by how quickly your rig can compute the hashes. The efficiency of power consumption is an equally important factor in that equation. That is why it is important that your high-end mining rig comes with an equally high-end power supply unit, or PSU.
Of course, figuring out what PSU is right for your mining needs can be difficult – especially considering that cryptocurrency mining is still a somewhat recent development and PSU manufacturers are more often marketing to the base consumer or gaming enthusiast than the mining hobbyist.
Choosing the best PSU for Mining 2018
|EVGA SuperNOVA 1600 T2|
|Thermaltake Toughpower 1500W||1500 Watt||4|
|Corsair HXi Series, HX1200i||1200 Watt||6|
|FSP Group PT FM series 1200W||1200 Watt||8|
|XFX PRO1050W Black Edition||1050 Watt||6|
1. EVGA SuperNOVA 1600 T2 – Best Performing PSU for Mining Cryptocurrency
EVGA is noted for being a top-tier manufacturer of PSUs. If you spend anytime online looking through the enthusiast forums, you will see this brand’s name popup time and time again. As such, there is a certain standard of excellency that comes embedded into the purchase.
Thankfully, the SuperNOVA 1600 meets that standard and blows it out of the water. The first and most important factor is the total watts delivered. At 1600 watts, this is not only the most powerful PSU on our list, but it is one of the most powerful PSUs in the consumer market.
With 1600 watts of total power, you can hook up even a few RX 295Xs without much concern – though that is not at all an advisable approach. Still, using any next generation GPUs, whether AMD or Intel, you will find yourself having difficulty pushing this PSU beyond the point of capability.
Unfortunately, this is also the most expensive PSU on our list by far which means it will take you longer before your mining rig can reach a point of profitability. In fact, this PSU will inherently require you to mine forty to fifty percent longer before your rig becomes profitable compared to the next most expensive PSU on our list.
2. Thermaltake Toughpower 1500W – Best PSU for a Small AMD Mining Rig
Much like EVGA, Thermaltake has developed a fairly respectable reputation in the enthusiast market. However, Thermaltake definitely specializes a bit differently. However, this focusing on products allows them to provide top quality options for the products they do produce.
When compared to the EVGA, the Thermaltake is fairly similar and offers a comparable product. First, while the Thermaltake does not pull the most watts on our list, it still draws the second most at 1500 watts–only 100 fewer watts than the EVAG. This will allow you to run even power hungry GPUs if you need it.
This would not necessarily be the worst configuration, but considering that this is also the second most expensive PSU on our list, the lack of GPUs mining cryptocurrency will make the return on investment period drag on even longer than with the EVGA. However, if you are using the more power hungry AMD GPUs, this can be a viable option for smaller rigs.
3. Corsair HXi Series, HX1200i – Best All Around Value PSU for Mining Cryptocurrency
In terms of manufacturing, reputation, and specialization, Corsair falls somewhere in between EVGA and Thermaltake. All three manufacturers actually make their name on the least sexy parts of a PC: PSUs, cooling units, cases, etc. However, EVGA also sells GPUs – though they are certainly not the GeForce or Sapphire of their markets.
In a similar vein, Corsair is known for producing high quality hard drives, both HDD and SSDs. Regardless, Corsair is a trusted brand with a solid reputation. The HX1200i looks to continue that reputation by providing a reasonable price to an above average product.
First, this PSU takes a much steeper step down from the EVGA than the Thermaltake does. At 1200 total watts of power, the Corsair is more than enough for a few GPUs, but not quite enough for the larger cryptocurrency mining hobbyists. This holds especially true if your goal is to use a more profitable AMD arrangement.
4. FSP Group PT FM series 1200W – Best PSU for an Intel Mining Rig
As the only manufacturer on our list that specializes exclusively in PSUs – though their catalog includes PSUs for medical and industrial equipment as well as for PCs – we were not sure exactly what to expect. While the brand is not intending to appeal to the enthusiast, it does seem that the place a premium on quality.
The 1200 watts of total power is certainly not bad, but when compared to some of the other products on our list, it feels a tad low. This underwhelming power is actually compounded by the second most number of PCI-E connectors on our list. While that number of potential connectors is great, you will unlikely be able to take full advantage of it regardless the GPUs used.
In fact, the only way you will be able to maximize your use of every PCI-E connector is by using the GTX 1060 – one of the least profitable GPUs used for mining cryptocurrency. Thankfully, this PSU will not break the bank, so you should see the light of mining profitability sooner than some of the more powerful PSUs on our list.
5. XFX PRO1050W Black Edition – Best Budget PSU for Mining Cryptocurrency
Our final product comes from XFX, a brand that is generally better known for their GPUs than their PSUs. Moreover, the designation as the “budget” option on our PSU list is not the only market you are liable to see that moniker.
XFX is widely understood to be a manufacturer of numerous “budget” products all marketed for the lower tiers of the enthusiast sphere. As such, it should come as no surprise that the XFX is the least expensive product on our list. Sadly, that means you should expect some limitations as well.
The primary limitation the XFX sees first is in terms of total power. At 1050 total watts, the XFX is the least powerful PSU on our list. Oddly, this product still provides more PCI-E connectors than the lowest on our list with 6 total.
Unfortunately, this PSU also only offers an 80 PLUS Gold efficiency rating and does not offer the option to run the power distribution along numerous rails – though, in fairness, that is generally less of a concern for cryptocurrency mining.
PSU for Mining – Buyer’s Guide
In some respects, this can be seen as the most important factor. However, this should not be seen as the “end all, be all” of you PSU search. Quite simply, the wattage required for your cryptocurrency mining rig will depend heavily on the rig itself.
For instance, if you plan on using a rig with five or more GPUs, then you will certainly need a fairly hefty power supply. On the other hand, if you are just trying to test the waters and see what all the fuss is about or are limited by a stricter budget, then getting the PSU which provides the most wattage is likely unnecessary.
Still, there are a few other wattage factors beyond your initial setup to consider when selecting your PSU. One thing to keep in mind is that it is almost always universally better to get a PSU that can scale up. By this, we mean to purchase a PSU that allows you to run additional GPUs without having to upgrade the original PSU.
The components of your PSU are just as vital for the purposes of mining cryptocurrency as they are for other purposes, just for a different reason. Specifically, a mining rig is unlikely to be placed under the same type of strain as say a high-end gaming rig, but the mining rig will be expected to perform at a lower level for much longer periods of consecutive duration.
As such, mining rigs are less concerned about minor drops of power – assuming the PSU has the necessary protections in place – and more concerned about longevity. This is made even more relevant when you consider that mining profitability does not begin until the hardware investment has been paid off.
Thus, to have a profitable mining rig, your various hardware needs to be durable – and the components of the hardware often determine that durability. For PSUs, the main component to watch out for are capacitors.
In fact, it is the capacitors that generally provide most of the other protective measures to the PSU, so their quality is paramount. For PSUs, the capacitor quality is defined by its maximum operating temperature in degrees celsius and its electrical resistance. For the former, the higher the better, while the latter should be as low as possible.
This, again, is another consideration that is not actually as relevant as it may seem. Connectors ultimately determine which types of hardware get powered by the PSU. In a traditional PC, you would ideally need numerous types of connectors for various components.
However, a mining rig is as leans as possible outside of the GPUs. Because of this, there may be connectors that are entirely unnecessary and others that you will want multiples of. However, the age of some of your other components will inform this decision.
Specifically, the age of your motherboard will play an important role in the types and configuration of your PSU connectors. For instance, some motherboards utilize a 24 pin power input while others run a 20+4 power input.
The difference between these two configurations has more to do with how the power is split between the different components embedded into and installed on the motherboard. Another differentiation of this sort that can be influential is the 8 pin vs the 6+2 pin connector.
Depending on the type of GPU and type of motherboard you have, you may need either an 8 pin or a 6+2 pin connector. Older models of motherboard and GPU will often not require an 8 pin connection, though newer model ones have been phasing out the 6+2 pin configuration need.
Ultimately, it is probably best to look for a PSU that offers a 6+2 pin connection just in case. Keep in mind, any power input of the motherboard or component that fits the 8 will also fit the 6+2. This holds true for the 20+4 and the 24 pin connector as well.
This is a hotly contested consideration for PCs in most general contexts, but it takes on a new significance for mining rigs. Basically, the necessity for multi-rail PSUs is most relevant when a catastrophic failure of the PSU could potentially threaten the components it is powering.
However, a multi-rail PSU regulates the connected power channels such that you have to be far more organized when connecting the mining rig’s components to the PSU. Moreover, if the PSU cannot push enough amps to power the connected components, the PSU will automatically shut down as a protective measure.
Functionally, this decision is often made somewhat moot since most modern components come with their own protective measures to prevent a sudden surge of power from damaging the hardware. However, since mining rigs are designed to be run continuously, the probability that something could go wrong increases.
As such, it might not be a bad idea to look for multi-rail systems unless you are confident in your abilities to run analog diagnostic tests on the components of your mining rig to ensure that no degradation of performance or durability has occurred.
We once again return to a consideration that will remain relevant regardless the specifications of your cryptocurrency mining rig. In this instance, the designation is relatively straight-forward: the more efficient the PSU is the better. Thankfully, the PSU manufacturing community has devised a helpful system of standards, so finding out which PSUs are more efficient than others and what that actually means in real terms is easy.
Pretty much every PSU made since 2005 has used the 80 PLUS efficiency measurement system. Essentially, this system tells you how efficient the PSU is at distributing power under different loads.
The system itself includes six different designations: Plus, bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and titanium. Generally, the efficiency of a PSU is not quite as vital as the other components and their functioning for most PC users.
However, because cryptocurrency mining functions primarily on GPU speed and electricity consumption, this becomes a far more vital consideration. Unfortunately, another element of mining cryptocurrency comes in the form of long-term profitability.
While an exceedingly energy efficient PSU will definitely lower operating costs, they are also far more expensive than their less efficient counterparts. As such, you will have to successfully mine more cryptocurrency to pay off the investment of the hardware before you can begin the process of mining for actual profit.
MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures)
This is the value that determines a PSUs general durability. We say “general,” because the “mean time” indicates that this is merely an average. It is entirely possible that you receive a PSU that functions far longer or shorter than that average.
In general, the majority of MTBFs for modern PSUs are around 100,000 hours. In real world terms that often means about 11 years. Keep in mind, that is the number for continuous use, so PSUs that are not kept in continuous use will often last much longer.
This will be more or less relevant depending on the form and scale of your mining rig. Essentially, if your mining rig is confined to a traditional tower of any kind, the PSU’s heat will become more of an issue. This is because the GPU will likely already be generating serious heat, so the PSU adding on top of that only increases your cooling system requirements.
For larger mining rigs that utilize more than two GPUs, you will have to devise a custom case or open configuration anyway. In either of these instances, it is far easier to ensure that the heat generated by the PSU does not in any way compound the heat generated by the GPUs.
More advanced PSUs are actually exceptionally good at dealing with heat. Moreover, the more efficient a PSU is, the less heat it produces since the excess energy a PSU draws and does not transmit is released as heat. This definitely places a premium on high efficiency PSUs for smaller mining rigs.
Regardless, all PSUs come with their own internal fans that are separate from the general PC fans or the fans included with a CPU or GPU cooling unit. These fans are often more than enough to disperse any additional heat assuming the PC is placed in a cool, well-ventilated area.
For most PC users, whether or not a PSU is modular often comes down to niche purposes. The overwhelming majority of PC users will have no intrinsic need for a modular PSU and can skip it altogether. Even gaming enthusiasts will often not require a modular PSU if they are diligent in researching and purchasing the correct one the first time.
However, for mining cryptocurrency, the modularity of a PSU can become far more relevant, though this will heavily depend on the type of rig you intend to build. More specifically, you will likely prefer a modular PSU for a multiple GPU mining rig.
Keep in mind, modern gaming already takes into account the use of two GPUs, and the various other components, assuming they are relatively new, will do the same. However, many of the most powerful mining rigs will employ anywhere from three to six GPUs.
For every GPU over two, you need to make sure the PSU can power it – a prospect made all the more likely if the PSU is modular and allows for customization in power distribution. Keep in mind, there are plenty of high-end PSUs that come equipped to handle multiple GPUs from the start, but they are also enterprise, or commercial, class products and not consumer grade.
As we can see, the type of mining rig you have in mind should heavily inform which PSU is right for you. The requirements for a large mining rig with a handful of GPUs will be much different than the requirements of a smaller rig with only a few GPUs.
If you are looking to build the biggest rig to start mining as much cryptocurrency as quickly as possible. The EVGA is the obvious choice. With the most power pushed on our list, its high price tag will hopefully be an investment if the mined cryptocurrency increases in value.
For those looking for a smaller scale rig, the XFX will serve admirably – though its 1050 total watts will definitely leave you a bit cramped should you want to expand in the future. In that case, we recommend the Corsair which finds a nice middle point in power provided and upfront cost.