May 20, 2024

Crypto mining on a laptop: an excellent idea or not really?

Crypto mining on a laptop: an excellent idea or not really?

Crypto mining on a laptop: an excellent idea or not really?

Cryptocurrency mining on a laptop is feasible but it’s important to understand the limitations that comes with that ‘plan’. One thing is sure, it is less effective and more risky (in terms of potential hardware damage) than using a dedicated mining rig.

But suppose you want to go ahead with mining on a laptop after all? We looked into it.

What laptop should you choose?

Let’s first check what kind of laptop you will minimal need in order to mine your crypto.

You should ideally look for certain specifications to ensure efficiency and reduce the risk of hardware damage. The most important component for mining is a powerful Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). Nvidia and AMD are the leading brands. You should therefor look for laptops with gaming or professional-grade GPUs. While less crucial than the GPU for most types of mining, a strong CPU can improve overall performance. You will need at least 8GB of RAM, though 16GB is preferable for more efficient mining.

Mining generates significant heat. A laptop with an advanced cooling system will help prevent overheating. Given the continuous operation and heat generation, a laptop with robust build quality can be more resilient.

Mining is power-intensive. A laptop with a long battery life and good power efficiency is beneficial, especially if you plan to mine without a constant power source. It means you will need a high battery capacity and power efficiency. An SSD can improve the overall performance of the laptop, though it’s not as critical as the GPU or CPU.

Like we said earlier, laptops are not designed for the continuous heavy load of mining. Regularly monitor your laptop’s temperature and performance. Use software to control fan speeds or consider additional cooling methods.

You have the correct laptop, what now?

So you were able to secure a decent laptop that is not easily overheating. The next step is to choose the right cryptocurrency you want to mine as not all cryptocurrencies are suitable for laptop mining. Look for ones with lower hardware requirements, such as Monero or Zcash.

Then select a mining software that supports your chosen cryptocurrency and is compatible with your laptop. Some popular options include XMRig for Monero and EWBF Cuda Miner for Zcash.

Solo mining is often unproductive on a laptop. Therefor we advise that you join a mining pool where you will combine your laptop’s resources with others, increasing your chances of earning a share of the rewards.

Install the mining software and configure it with your pool’s address and your wallet address.

Is mining on a laptop profitable?

The electricity costs and the potential wear on your laptop will be the most important elements to keep an eye on when mining on a laptop, so we wouldn’t call it a very sustainable solution. It’s crucial to weigh the costs and benefits before proceeding.

Here’s an example of mining a cryptocurrency like Monero (XMR) on a high-end gaming laptop to illustrate the costs versus the profit. This example uses hypothetical but realistic figures for simplicity.

Laptop Specifications:

  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-10875H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • SSD: 512GB
  • Price: Approximately $2,500

Mining Setup:

  • Mining Software: XMRig
  • Mining Pool: Join a Monero mining pool
  • Electricity Cost: Assume $0.12 per kWh (this varies widely based on location)
  • Hash Rate: Approximately 6000 H/s for Monero with this setup

Cost Analysis:

  • Initial Cost: The upfront cost of the laptop, which is $2,500.
  • Electricity Cost: The laptop consumes around 200W while mining. Mining 24/7 for a month consumes about 144 kWh. So, monthly electricity cost = 144 kWh * $0.12/kWh = $17.28.

Profit Analysis:

  • Let’s say Monero’s network hash rate and mining difficulty results in a profit of approximately 0.005 XMR per day for this setup.
  • Monthly Earnings: 0.005 XMR/day * 30 days = 0.15 XMR.
  • If 1 XMR is valued at $200 (hypothetical market rate, as it’s in reality nearer to $170 right now), then your monthly earnings result in 0.15 XMR * $200/XMR = $30.

Net Analysis:

  • Monthly Profit: $30 (earnings) – $17.28 (electricity) = $12.72.

Conclusion: it’s a no-go

This doesn’t account for the initial cost of the laptop, potential repairs, or decreased lifespan due to constant heavy use. In short, in this example, while there is a slight monthly profit, when considering the initial cost and potential wear and tear on the laptop, it might take years to break even, if at all.

So, no, avoid laptops for crypto mining.

But if you’re really looking for a cryptocurrency that is relatively easier to mine on a laptop and might generate some profit, you should consider coins that are optimized for CPU or low-power GPU mining. Here are a few options:

  1. Monero (XMR): Monero, as we described above in the case, is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies for laptop mining. It uses the RandomX algorithm, which is designed to be ASIC-resistant and favors CPUs, making it more suitable for laptops.
  2. Zcash (ZEC): While Zcash can be mined with GPUs, it’s also possible to mine it with a laptop to a lesser extent. It uses the Equihash algorithm, which is relatively friendly to low-power mining setups.
  3. Ravencoin (RVN): Ravencoin uses the KAWPOW algorithm, which is ASIC-resistant. It’s more GPU-intensive but can be mined on higher-end gaming laptops.
  4. Dogecoin (DOGE): While not as profitable as it once was, mining Dogecoin on a laptop can be done, especially if you join a mining pool. It’s merged mined with Litecoin, which can potentially increase profitability.
  5. Electroneum (ETN): Designed for mobile and CPU mining, Electroneum is another option for laptop miners. It’s less competitive than some other cryptocurrencies.