When it comes to finding the best CPU for mining there is no one size fits all. For most miners looking to build a dedicated mining rig, the answer has always been to get the cheapest CPU possible.
However, now that Monero has switched its hash function to a more CPU friendly algorithm called RandomX miners are seeking higher-end CPUs to mine with. Therefore, in this guide, I wanted to discuss not only what the best CPUs are to build a cost-efficient GPU mining rig but also which CPUs are best suited to mine Monero and many other CPU mineable coins as well.
Before I dive into what I believe are the best CPUs for mining I wanted to share my thoughts on whether it really matters to have a higher-end CPU.
Do You Even Need A Good CPU For Mining?
For those new to mining cryptocurrencies, you might be asking yourself if getting a top-notch quality CPU even matters. The answer to this question is yes and no depending on the route you want to take.
If you are just looking to build a GPU mining rig, then most people go with the cheapest they can get to save on hardware cost. The reason for this is because if you build a dedicated GPU mining rig the CPU really doesn’t matter as much. The fact is that you only need a CPU good enough to run your operating system as the GPUs will be doing all the heavy calculations involved with mining cryptocurrencies.
However, let’s say you are looking to mine cryptocurrencies via CPU or maybe you’re looking to build a gaming PC that can mine when idle. In this event then it might be more beneficial to cough up some extra dollars for a more advanced CPU.
Although I wouldn’t be doing you much good if I didn’t at least tell you that GPU mining tends to be more profitable than CPU mining especially when using efficient mining GPUs from my list. However, there are some coins that can only be mined via CPU and therefore those with stronger CPUs can accumulate more coins. To learn more about CPU mineable coins check out our guide on CPU mining.
Factors to Consider When Buying A CPU
Before buying any CPU its best to have a plan of what motherboard your planning on using to build out your rig. For example, if you were going to use the ASUS B250 MINING EXPERT which is one of our top choices of mining motherboards then you will need a CPU that is supported by that motherboard. Especially pay close attention to the socket size and CPU gen version chipset that the motherboard recommends.
I talked a little about this earlier but it’s important enough to bring it up again. Getting the best CPU money can buy is not the wisest of choices to make. Sure, a certain CPU might make 30 dollars a month at the current mining difficulty but if it costs too high, you’ll never see any return on investment back from it.
Again, unless you are using the computer for something else that requires a high-performance CPU such as rendering or high-end gaming then stick with something that is cost-efficient too. If anything, spend the extra money on getting a mining GPU from our updated guide on the best GPU for mining.
AMD vs Intel for CPU Mining
Ok so now for the big debate over the top manufacturers AMD and Intel to find out which is better. Again, if you’re just looking for the cheapest CPU to get your GPU mining rig off the ground then, by all means, go with intel as they are widely supported across a number of great motherboards made for mining. However, if you are looking to solely CPU mine Monero on RandomX then AMD is the route to go all day.
Best CPU For Mining Rigs
Celeron G3900 2.80Ghz
The Celeron 3900 is a 2.8 GHz processor with 512 MB of L2 cache. When it comes to building a very cost-efficient GPU mining rig the Celeron G3900 is the go-to choice for many rigs builds. The fact is that dedicated GPU mining rigs really don’t need a high-end CPU to run the operating system.
The whole purpose of using this model is to keep costs low in hopes to ROI faster from the costs associated with building a mining rig. Although I will say that remote viewing your mining rigs using this CPU is a bit sluggish at times.
Furthermore, some of the algorithms for GPU mining like Handshake, for example, do depend on you having a slightly better CPU. The Celeron can mine Monero at a whole whopping 319.12 H/s which isn’t impressive but again its low cost makes this CPU the most commonly used for today’s GPU mining rig builds. The G3900 is an LGA 1151 form factor that suits most mining motherboards.
Celeron G3900 CPU Hashrate
Intel Pentium G4600
The Pentium G4600 is a dual-core 4 thread processor with 3MB of L3 cache at 3.6 GHz.
Moreover, the Intel Pentium G4600 is yet another commonly CPU used to miners rigs off the ground and mining. The Pentium is a step up in performance when compared to the Celeron. However, like the Celeron, this model isn’t going to mine very fast. I’ve built a few mining rigs with this model and the responsiveness I get from running the operating system with it is notable when compared to the Celeron.
The Pentium can mine Monero at around 675.13 H/s which again isn’t impressive. All in though this is a great CPU if you are looking to build a low-cost GPU mining rig. Furthermore, this model comes in an LGA 1151 form factor which again is compatible with most mining motherboards.
Intel Pentium G4600 CPU Hashrate
I5 7600k Unlocked
The I5 unlocked is a quad-core with 4 threads with 6MB of L3 cache at 3.8 GHz straight out of the box. Additionally, the i5 unlocked 7600k is a very popular CPU amongst gaming enthusiasts due to it having the ability to be overclocked. I actually have one of these on my main computer and have really enjoyed how much power and responsiveness I get from it. Although I wouldn’t recommend buying one of these for the sake of just mining yet I would highly recommend it for building a multi-purpose gaming/mining rig computer.
The i5 unlocked can mine Monero around 1250 h/s once overclocking applied and is compatible with most of the mining motherboards with LGA 1151 form factor.
I5 7600k Unlocked CPU Hashrate
Best CPU For Mining Monero
AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor
The Ryzen 5 2600 is a 6 core 12 thread processor with 16 Mb of L3 cache and a base clock speed of 3.4 GHz. When it comes to mining Monero the Ryzen 5 2600 appears to be in the sweet spot. Miners have reports of this processor being able to mine Monero on RandomX at around 4000 hashes per second with enough cores left over to be able to browse the internet. When compared to the Ryzen 5 2600x the 2600 version seems to run at a lower wattage which also means lower temps as well.
As far as price is concerned with the 2600 you can usually pick them up for a steal in comparison to other models. All in all, a great CPU to mine Monero and is widely recommended across the mining community especially if you are looking for a bump up in hashrate from the Ryzen 5 1600. However, keep in mind when shopping for motherboards that the 2600 uses an AM4 form factor.
Ryzen 5 2600 CPU hashrate
AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Processor
The Ryzen 1600 is a 6 core 12 thread processor with 16 MB of L3 cache and a base clock of 3.2 GHz. If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly AMD CPU to mine Monero while not compromising a huge loss in hashrate then the 1600 is going to be your best bet. Miner reports that this CPU can mine Moneros at a speed of around 3285 hashes per second.
Moreover, like almost all AMD CPUs this one is capable of overclocking to etch out even better mining performance. Furthermore, the stock cooler that comes with this CPU is sufficient for mining 24/7 making this model an affordable all in one solution. However, keep in mind when shopping for a motherboard that this processor uses an AM4 form factor.
Ryzen 5 1600 Processor CPU hashrate
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X
The Ryzen Threadripper 1920X is a 12 core 24 thread processor with 32 MB of L3 cache and a base clock of 3.5 GHz. Out of all the ThreadRipper AMD CPUs to buy for mining cryptocurrencies, the 1920X is one of the best CPUs to mine Monero. The reason being is not because it’s the fastest of them, yet the fact is that this CPU can mine at speeds close to the 1950x Threadripper yet comes in at nearly half the cost.
However, this model requires a motherboard that supports a TR4 form factor as its socket size is much bigger than the former AMD CPUs mentioned here which is going to cost you. Nonetheless, if you are looking to mine Monero RandomX at top speeds of around 7060 hashes per second without breaking the bank account too much then this is the one most miners would recommend.
Ryzen Threadripper 1920X CPU hashrate
Is CPU Mining Profitable?
In the end, buying a high-end CPU to mine cryptocurrencies isn’t going to bring you any significant profits in the short term. However, there are projects such as Monero versus and Pegnet to name a few in which you can mine with CPU. The philosophy behind pursuing mining coins via CPU is that someday the coins may be worth more than they are today.
I also wish to state that recently there has been more forward progress of projects moving to CPU mineable only hash functions to ward of ASIC miners from invading their networks. Furthermore, lots of new projects come out each month adopting these types of algorithms and some appear to have some promise of potential.
However, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again that unless you’re planning on building a computer for rendering or streaming that requires a high-end CPU than its best to spend money on graphics cards if you want the most bang for your buck.
This concludes our best CPU for mining guides. If you feel this information has helped you in some way shape or form, then please drop a comment below. Furthermore, if you have more CPUs to recommend that I may have missed then please share that in the comments as well