How much can 1 GPU make mining?

Cryptocurrency mining has become an increasingly popular way for tech enthusiasts, investors, and entrepreneurs to potentially earn income. With the right GPU (graphics processing unit), an individual can mine cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Bitcoin, and more from a personal computer.

But how profitable is crypto mining with a single GPU in today’s market? Can it generate a meaningful return on investment or is it more hassle than it’s worth? This article will explore what GPU mining is, factors that impact profitability, and provide estimates on how much one GPU may realistically earn.

What is GPU Mining?

GPU mining is the process of using a graphics processing unit to validate cryptocurrency transactions and add new blocks to the blockchain. High-end GPUs are designed for intense graphical rendering tasks like gaming, creative work, and simulations. But their parallel computing power also makes them well-suited to mining.

When mining cryptocurrencies, the GPU performs complex calculations required to find valid blocks and add them to the blockchain. As an incentive for providing computing power to secure and maintain the network, miners earn rewards in the currency they are mining – like Ether coins from mining Ethereum.

GPU mining differs from CPU mining in that GPUs can perform many more calculations per second. Top-end consumer GPUs are capable of hash rates between 30-100+ MH/s (million hashes per second) depending on the currency, while even powerful CPUs max out at less than 10 MH/s.

This makes a single GPU drastically more efficient at mining than a CPU. However, mining with just one consumer graphics card is usually not enough to consistently find blocks solo-mining. Joining a mining pool allows miners to combine power and share block rewards based on contributed hashrate.

Factors Affecting GPU Mining Profitability

Many variables go into determining the real-world profits from crypto mining. The revenue earned per day can fluctuate significantly based on factors like:

  • Cryptocurrency price – The value in USD/fiat currency affects selling potential
  • Network difficulty – Increased difficulty requires more hashrate to earn blocks
  • Hashrate – The processing power of the GPU(s)
  • Power costs – Electricity costs reduce profit margins
  • Pool fees – Pools charge fees to cover operational costs

These factors, especially currency price and network difficulty, can change frequently and dramatically alter profit calculations. Estimating long-term mining revenue is challenging, but short periods can be projected based on current conditions.

Estimating Ethereum Mining Revenue

As the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Ethereum is one of the most profitable options for GPU mining. Let’s take an NVIDIA RTX 3090 GPU as an example, which can achieve around 120 MH/s for Ethereum’s Ethash algorithm.

At the current Ethereum price of $1500 and network difficulty, such a card could generate approximately $4.00 per day in gross revenue when mining Ethereum. Deducting average electricity costs of $1.00 per day leaves about $3.00 in potential net daily profits.

In a month, the projected revenue works out to around $90 for this single GPU mining Ethereum given ideal conditions. Actual results will vary over time based on network parameters and ETH pricing in the volatile crypto market.

Example projected mining revenue

GPU Hashrate 120 MH/s
Ethereum Price $1500
Network Difficulty 6.5 TH
Gross Daily Revenue $4.00
Power Costs (0.10 kWh @ $0.10/kWh) $1.00
Net Daily Revenue $3.00

Estimating Bitcoin Mining Revenue

Bitcoin can also be mined with GPUs using the SHA-256 algorithm, but is usually more efficient with ASIC miners designed specifically for it. Still, GPUs can generate some revenue mining BTC.

An NVIDIA RTX 3090 will get around 40 MH/s for SHA-256. At Bitcoin’s current difficulty and price at $16,500, this GPU could make about $0.15 per day in gross income. After the $1.00 electricity cost, it nets about -$0.85 per day mining Bitcoin with one GPU.

Example projected mining revenue

GPU Hashrate 40 MH/s
Bitcoin Price $16,500
Network Difficulty 31.25T
Gross Daily Revenue $0.15
Power Costs (0.10 kWh @ $0.10/kWh) $1.00
Net Daily Revenue -$0.85

This basic calculation shows that Bitcoin mining with just one consumer GPU is not profitable given the high network difficulty and mining competition from ASICs. However, it may be worth doing for hobby purposes depending on individual cost factors.

Impact of Mining Pool Fees

The revenue projections above do not account for pool fees, which are typically charged as a percentage of the rewards earned. Most pools charge around 1-2% in fees, but some outliers can be higher or lower.

For Ethereum mining with 1 GPU generating $4 gross income per day, a 1.5% pool fee would shave off about 6 cents per day. Over the course of a month, this equals around $1.80 in pool fees charged on $90 in gross revenue. This reduces net monthly profits to around $88.20 for this example.

Always factor in mining pool fees based on rates charged by the pool you choose. They still result in greater profits than solo mining in most cases, but will cut into your bottom line.

Additional Equipment and Maintenance Costs

Profit projections also need to consider real-world costs beyond just electricity and pool fees. Some other costs crypto miners need to account for:

  • GPU purchase price – More expensive cards take longer to recoup costs
  • PC hardware/accessories – Mining rigs require PC components like motherboards, RAM, SSDs for mining software
  • Cooling costs – Proper cooling is a must for GPUs to prevent overheating and damage
  • Maintenance time/labor – Monitoring and troubleshooting rigs takes time and effort

When calculating ROI, you want to look at overall profitability estimates over a time horizon long enough to cover your upfront equipment investments. Don’t just look at short-term profits.

Mining rigs also require proper setup, monitoring, maintenance which takes time/labor that detracts from actually profitable mining time. This work, and risk of outages, needs considered as well.

Other Factors Impacting Mining Viability

Beyond direct economic considerations, a few other key factors influence whether GPU mining is worthwhile:

  • Cryptocurrency prospects – Coins with more perceived potential gain value, increasing profitability
  • Ease of mining – Some newer coins are ASIC/GPU-resistant, hard to mine profitably
  • Access to equipment – GPU/ASIC shortages in recent years make hardware hard to find
  • Legality – Crypto mining is restricted or banned in some countries

These factors are important to think through as well when deciding whether to get into GPU mining. The crypto market is extremely volatile and coins that are profitable to mine today may not be tomorrow if cryptocurrency prices crash.


Based on current conditions, mining popular coins like Ethereum or Bitcoin with a single consumer GPU like an RTX 3090 can generate a few dollars in profit per day after electricity costs.

Over the course of a month, estimated profits sit around $90 for Ethereum, while Bitcoin mining with 1 GPU currently results in small daily losses rather than gains. Multiple factors like cryptocurrency prices, mining difficulty, equipment and electricity costs determine actual profits.

While returns from mining with just one graphics card are unlikely to be highly lucrative long-term in today’s competitive market, using mining to gain cryptocurrency exposure or as a hobby can still be viable depending on individual goals and costs.

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