Algorithm variants and hardware
Not all CryptoNight coins are created the same way. The first currency that introduced the CryptoNight algorithm for mining was Bytecoin (BCN) in 2012. Since then different algorithm variants have emerged. CryptoNight-Lite is less resource-hungry and more suitable for mobile devices. CryptoNight-Heavy is exactly the opposite. Other variants were introduced to fight mining with specialized hardware (ASIC), e.g. CryptoNight v1.
However, there are generally four options to mine CryptoNight coins with hardware.
Mine with the CPU of your computer or phone
- + Everybody has one
- + Easy for beginners
- + Flexibility
- - Hardly profitable
Use your graphics card for mining
- + Good efficiency
- + Can be profitable
- + Flexibility
- - Investment costs
- - Maintenance
Specialized hardware just for mining
- + Extremely efficient
- - Investment costs
- - CN classic only
- - Bricked by algorithm changes
Mining with others people hardware
- + No hardware invest
- + Easy to operate
- - Hardly profitable
- - Scam risk
We strongly recommend to use GPUs for CryptoNight mining.
GPUs are an efficient way to mine CryptoNight and can easily adopt to algorithm changes. Their profitability depends on your energy costs but in most cases it is possible to make a profit. CPUs on the other hand are not as efficient and therefor hardly profitable. It is also not recommended to use your notebook or phone for mining since these devices are not designed for constant stress and heat. Mining will shorten their lifespan. ASICs can be bricked by algorithm changes and currently available products only support the classic CryptoNight and CryptoNight-Lite algorithm. Many currencies already forked to another CryptoNight variant which make these ASICs useless. Cloud mining is also not profitable in most scenarios and historically speaking there is a high risk that you get scammed.
GPUs are our recommended way to mine CryptoNight coins so let's talk more about it. AMD and Nvidia are the two big GPU manufacturers. AMD GPUs are more efficient when it comes to CryptoNight mining, especially the Radeon RX Vega series. That means they produce more hashes for the same power as Nvidia GPUs. This is of course important when you want to make a profit and calculate your Return on Investment (ROI).
Below you will find GPU mining software we recommend and a list of the most efficient GPUs with a good ROI. We also added some tutorials that help you build a proper GPU mining rig and to squeeze out some extra hashes.
Most miners run on Linux and Windows but generally Windows gets the latest drivers and BIOS updates first. For the best results we recommend using Windows for your mining rig.
|Cast XMR||AMD||v1, Classic, Heavy||1,5%||closed||gandalph3000.com|
|Claymore's CryptoNote AMD GPU Miner||AMD||most||no||closed||bitcointalk.org|
|SRBMiner CryptoNight AMD GPU Miner||AMD||all||0.85%||closed||bitcointalk.org|
|XMR-Stak||AMD & Nvidia||most||2.0% (conf.)||Open Source||github.com|
Top 3 GPUs
Hash rates and power estimations are based on best possible configuration (blockchain drivers, overclocking, undervolting etc.) and reports of the community. No guarantees! All hash rates are for the classic CryptoNight algorithm.
|Series||Hash rate||Power||Where to buy|
|AMD Radeon RX Vega||1.950 H/s||130 W||Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon.de|
|AMD Radeon RX 480||800 H/s||120 W||Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon.de|
|AMD Radeon RX 570||750 H/s||110 W||Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon.de|
- howtomine.co: How to build a mining rig for Monero
- reddit.com: Monero and Vega - the definitive guide
- vega.miningguides.com: VEGA MINING - A CONSOLIDATED GUIDE
- reddit.com: Vega XMR mining rig Ultimate Hardware + Software guide
CPU mining in detail
Mining CryptoNight with a CPU is hardly profitable but a good starting point for beginners and a good way to use spare capacity. The GPU advantage is a bit lower for the CryptoNight-Lite variants so that's something you should consider. When it comes to CPU mining L3 cache is all that counts. The classic CryptoNight algorithm needs about 2 MB of L3 cache for a single mining thread. CryptoNight-Lite needs less and CryptoNight-Heavy needs more. The biggest L3 caches can be found in Intel Xeon Processors but they are also very expensive. AMD's Ryzen series is were you want to look at.
Below you will find again lists with recommended CPU mining software and CPUs with good efficiency and ROI.
|Name||Variants||GPU mining||Dev fee||Source||Website|
|CPUMiner-Multi||Classic, Lite||no||no||Open Source||github.com|
|JCE Cryptonote CPU Miner||all||no||1.5%/3.0%||closed||github.com|
|XMR-Stak||most||yes, AMD & Nvidia||2.0%||Open Source||github.com|
|XMRig||all||no||5.0% (conf.)||Open Source||github.com|
Top 3 CPUs
Hash rates and power estimations are based on best possible configuration and reports of the community. No guarantees! All hash rates are for the classic CryptoNight algorithm.
Solo or pool mining?
Pool mining is the most spread form of mining. Many miners come together in their quest to mine a block. They join a pool and submit their hashes. The reward is shared equally and the pool operator also gets a slice of the pie.
Solo miners try to mine a block on their own. They get the full reward for themself but it is also much harder to mine a block. Weeks, months or even years without a single found block can pass depending on your hashing power. The original node software for most currencies is not very efficient at mining and does not support GPU mining. But you can set up your own pool and point your miners there.
Take a look at SoloMining.net to find out how long (on average) it will take to solo mine a block with your hash rate.
- + Decentralization
- + No pool fees (if self-operated)
- - Massive hashing power necessary
- + Steady reward
- + Easy to use
- - Pool fees
- - Risk of centralization
Unless you have massive hashing power we recommend pool mining. You can also support decentralization by using a small pool.
Choosing the right currency
Mining a currency with low reward and without profit only makes sense for idealistic reasons. On the other hand it is also not advisable to blindly mine the currently most profitable currency. Our calculator provides you with many CryptoNight currencies you can choose from. So here are some things you should also consider when looking for the right currency to mine.
Look for an active community and clear roadmap
You don't want to mine an already dead coin. Besides social media you should also check their GitHub project for activity. Do they handle issues and is there some recent development going on? Last commit was four years ago? Better look out for another currency.
Also look out for a clear roadmap and unique ideas. This is what makes a currency valuable in the future, which is important if your strategy is to hold mined coins. You should also check if past milestones and promises were met.
ASICs should not be tolerated
Turns out the CryptoNight algorithm isn't ASICs resistant. But ASICs are not flexible to changes and adopting to a new algorithm variant takes time. For that reason many currencies hard forked to another variant like CryptoNight v1. Because of their massive hashing power ASICs will lower your reward. In our trend charts you can clearly distinguish those currencies that already forked and those with ongoing ASICs mining.
Since only a few companies are able to build an ASIC, they are also able to control the network, which in turn makes it vulnerable to all kind of attacks. Decentralization is the whole point of cryptocurrencies so lets keep is that way.
Overall you should look for a currencies that cares about decentralization and proved that they are able and willing to hard fork.
No trading without liquidity
The daily trading volume is especially important if you want to convert your hard earned coins to other currencies like Bitcoin or fiat money. If the volume is too low, you won't be able to exchange coins without a price drop. The liquidity index of our calculator tells you if the daily trading volume and your reward are in a healthy relation. On CoinMarketCap you can also check on which exchanges the currency is currently traded on.
Be aware of spikes in price and network hash rate
The prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile. The same goes for the network hash rate of new or less known currencies. It can double or half within a few minutes.
With the advanced mode of our calculator you can avoid the spikes by calculating with the 1-hour or 24-hour average. On the currency details pages (e.g. XMR) you can also check the price and network hash rate trend for the last days.