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Most novice cryptocurrency miners envision a mining rig to be a huge pile of racks and racks of high-end GPUs hashing out Ethereum, Aeon, or Beam. However, that’s not always the case. Despite the fact that GPUs are significantly better at doing some tasks than CPUs, that doesn’t mean that CPUs can’t be put to good use when it comes to mining. CPUs can also be used for mining, especially for mining cryptocurrencies such as Monero (XMR). In this roundup we’ll show you the best mining CPUs you can get right now.
You see, many cryptocurrency miners only focus their efforts on GPU mining. This is all great, however, think about how much of their system’s power gets wasted for running a CPU in an idle state. Unfortunately, many of them don’t know that CPUs can be used to mine cryptocurrencies as well. Certain protocols and coins can take advantage of both your CPU and GPU, which means you can increase your system’s total hashrate even further for little to no expenses. The most profitable coin that can be mined using the power of your CPU is Monero, however, Zcash, Electroneum and Bytecoin can also be mined with a CPU.
However, unlike GPUs, processors have highly variable earning rates and lower hashing power. Multiple factors affect your CPU’s mining performance. These include power delivery, cooling, RAM speed, and mining algorithm optimization. Compared to GPUs, processors heavily rely on RAM, so having fast and capacious memory modules is mandatory if you plan to efficiently mine with your CPU. Processor’s mining hashrate is also more sensitive to background processes and apps, so we recommend using a Linux distribution instead of Windows 10 OS, in order to minimize the impact of background processes on CPU’s mining performance.
Overall, mining with a CPU many not seem very worthwhile at first glance, however, that is a wrong assumption. Just like GPUs require time to start paying themselves off while mining, so do CPUs require time to start generating some tangible profits. High-end workstation CPUs may cost a lot of money, however, they are perfect for mining crypto coins since they feature a lot of processing cores. Pair one such CPU with a stack of the best mining GPUs, and you can be sure you’ll start earning a decent amount of money in no time. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best mining CPUs you can get in 2021.
Best High-End Mining CPU:
Best for Mid-Range Mining CPU:
Best Overall: AMD Threadripper 3990X
Cores/Threads: 64C/128T | Base Clock: 2.9 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.3 GHz | TDP: 280W | Average Hashrate: 54 kH/s
- Extraterrestial performance
- Features 64 cores and 128 threads
- Supports PCIe 4.0 interface
- Supports ECC and AMD Smart Access Memory
- Very expensive
- Requires some tweaking to achieve maximum mining performance
When it comes to mining Monero, the AMD Threadripper 3990X is one mean son of a gun. Unfortunately, it costs a fortune, but it also pays itself off quite well, provided that you know how to handle it. Featuring 64 cores and 128 threads, the Threadripper 3990X can deliver from 43 to 64 kH/s hashrate on XMRig 6.3.5 algorithm (as stated on monerobenchmarks.info).
However, in order to squeeze out the maximum hashrate out of this CPU, you’ll also have to invest in some high-quality low-latency DDR4 modules that run at frequencies of at least 3,200 MHz. Good thing, however, is that this CPU can generate up to $115 of monthly income, or up to $1,400 of annual income (as of Februrary 2021). The Threadripper 3990X is also very popular among workstation professionals, so if you get fed up with mining you can always sell it for a good price.
Runner-Up: AMD Threadripper 3960X
Cores/Threads: 24C/48T | Base Clock: 3.8 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.5 GHz | TDP: 280W | Average Hashrate: 25 kH/s
- Excellent price-to-performance ratio
- Performs well when undervolted
- Very good gaming results
- Supports ECC memory
- Complicated overclocking
- Not backward compatible with older motherboards
If Threadripper 3990X is too expensive for you, and you want something much more affordable to mine Monero, then Threadripper 3960X is the perfect CPU for you. This sub-$1,500 workstation CPU features 24 cores and 48 threads, and is able to offer much better price-to-performance ratio compared to its more powerful sibling – the Threadripper 3970X. The 3960X can deliver between 20 to 27 kH/s hashrate on XMRig 6.6.2 algorithm, which can secure you up to $50 of monthly income, or $600 of annual income.
Great thing about this CPU is that it performs quite well while being undervolted, but it requires some super-fast DDR4 modules to mine efficiently. Overall, the Threadripper 3960X is a much better alternative to the Threadripper 3990X than 3970X, as it’s able to offer very good mining performance for a justifiable amount of money.
Best High-End Mining CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
Cores/Threads: 16C/32T | Base Clock: 3.5 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.7 GHz | TDP: 105W | Average Hashrate: 17,5 kH/s
- Outstanding performance for mainstream CPU
- Supports PCIe 4.0 interface
- Compatible with AM4 motherboards
- Very affordable price
- Requires aftermarket cooler
- Limited overclocking potential
Weird thing about AMD CPUs is that the cheaper they are, the better they perform, at least that’s the case with mining Monero. The only reason why AMD Ryzen 9 3950X isn’t in the 2nd place on our list of the best CPUs for mining Monero is that it generates less income per month (around $35) when compared to the Threadripper 3960X. Other than that, this is a much better CPU, as it costs almost 50% less, consumes less power, and it even offers better hashrate per CPU core. Plus, you can install it on a X570 motherboard, which is much cheaper than the TRX40 motherboard for Threadripper CPUs. For a price of around $700, this 16-core and 32-thread CPU can deliver between 15 and 20 kH/s hashrate, which can deliver you up to $450 of income per year. Besides that, the Ryzen 9 3950X is a fantastic CPU for gaming, so it’s a win-win situation.
Best Mid-Range Mining CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
Cores/Threads: 12C/24T | Base Clock: 3.8 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.6 GHz | TDP: 105W | Average Hashrate: 13,5 kH/s
- Great price-to-performance ratio
- Very versatile CPU
- Supports PCIe 4.0 interface
- Affordable price
- Included heatsink doesn’t provide efficient cooling
- Needs to be overclocked to deliver better hashrate
We’ve written on numerous occasions about how AMD Ryzen 9 3900X is a great CPU. When it comes to mining Monero, this is no exception. For a price of around $500, the Ryzen 9 3900X is able to offer 12 cores, 24 threads, and a mining hashrate of 11-16 kH/s on XMRig algorithm. Such performance can generate you up to $26 of monthly income, or up to $320 of annual income.
Pair this CPU with a few high-end GPUs that can also mine Monero, and you can get yourself a serious crypto mining machine in no time. Beware, however, that to achieve 16 kH/s hashrate with this CPU you’ll have to overclock it to 4.2 GHz, and also buy some high-quality RAM modules that can reach CAS 14 latency, and clock speed of at least 3,733 MHz. Provided that you know what you’ll be doing with this CPU, the Ryzen 9 3900X is a bargain purchase.
Best Budget Mining CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
Cores/Threads: 8C/16T | Base Clock: 3.6 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.4 GHz | TDP: 65W | Average Hashrate: 9 kH/s
- Very affordable price
- Great gaming performance
- Very good overclocking headroom
- Low power consumption
- Single-threaded performance could be better
- Modest mining hashrate
The AMD Ryzen 7 3700X is a perfect CPU for starting your Monero CPU mining career. This processor costs around $350, and it packs 8 cores, 16 threads, and full support for PCIe 4.0 interface. The Ryzen 7 3700X can deliver between 7 to 10 kH/s hashrate on XMRig 6.4.0 algorithm, which is quite good performance given its price.
Great thing about this CPU is that it features a very low TDP of 65 watts, and is also a very good overclocker. Such a CPU allows you to easily test out different mining algorithms and mining configurations, as well as to learn more about how mining cryptocurrencies with CPU works. The Ryzen 7 3700X also doesn’t require any expensive motherboards to work with, which is another reason why this CPU is worth a purchase. Overall, the Ryzen 7 3700X can generate you up to $18 of monthly income, or up to $216 of annual income.
Best Budget HEDT Mining CPU: AMD Threadripper 1950X
Cores/Threads: 16C/32T | Base Clock: 3.4 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.0 GHz | TDP: 180W | Average Hashrate: 12 kH/s
- Great mining performance
- Packs 16 cores and 32 threads
- Beats Intel Core X-Series CPUs for same price
- Strong multi-threaded performance
- Very large physical dimensions
- Requires workstation motherboard
The AMD Threadripper 1950X is hands down the best workstation/HEDT CPU for mining Monero at this moment. This thing is dirt cheap, especially if you buy one from eBay. The Threadripper 1950X may be now four years old, but this bad boy still packs a punch. Featuring 16 cores, and 32 threads, the 1950X can deliver 9-13 kH/s hashrate on XMRig algorithm, which when translated to real-world performance, is equal to $22 of monthly income, or $265 of annual income.
Provided that you buy it for a price of $350, this CPU can return 75% of its investment within one year. Now, this may not seem like a very profitable endeavor, but if you pair it with a few high-end mining GPUs, you can expect to achieve much better profits than by mining Monero just with your GPUs. Another great thing is that most X399 motherboards that support Threadripper 1950X nowadays don’t cost too much, and come with plenty of PCIe x16 slots, which is perfect for building a powerful mining rig.
Best Intel HEDT Mining CPU: Intel Xeon E5-2699 v3
Cores/Threads: 18C/36T | Base Clock: 2.3 GHz | Boost Clock: 3.6 GHz | TDP: 145W | Average Hashrate: 8 kH/s
- Very cheap nowadays
- Packs 18 cores and 36 threads
- Can be used for mining
- Requires special type of motherboard
- Low mining hashrate
Now, to be quite honest, Intel CPUs suck at mining cryptocurrencies such as Monero. This is primarily due to the fact that they feature very low multi-threaded performance compared to AMD Ryzen and Threadripper CPUs. However, if you don’t like team Red, and prefer more team Blue, then Intel Xeon E5-2699 v3 CPU should suit your needs. Although it’s now almost 7 years old, this 18-core, 36-thread processor is the best Intel can offer when it comes to mining crypto coins. The E5-2699 v3 can deliver 8 kH/s hashrate on XMRig algorithm, which is enough to generate you $15 of monthly income, or around $180 of annual income. In our opinion, this is pretty disappointing performance, but since second-hand Xeon CPUs are now cheaper than a pair of worn out shoes, this CPU might present itself as a worthwhile investment for some miners.
Best Intel Core Mining CPU: Intel Core i9-10900K
Cores/Threads: 10C/20T | Base Clock: 3.7 GHz | Boost Clock: 5.3 GHz | TDP: 125W | Average Hashrate: 6,85 kH/s
- Strong single-threaded performance
- Outstanding gaming performance
- Great for content creation
- Can be used for mining
- Very low mining hashrate
- Quite expensive
Despite the fact that the Intel Core i9-10900K features 62% better single-threaded performance than the ancient Xeon E5-2699, it still performs far worse when it comes to mining Monero. Unfortunately, the i9-10900K is the best mainstream Intel processor that can be used for mining cryptocurrencies, even though its overall performance is quite disappointing. The i9-10900K can deliver 6-7 kH/s hashrate on XMRig algorithm, which can net you up to $13,5 of monthly income, or up to $165 of annual income. Although its ROI is quite bad, the Core i9-10900K is quite good processor for gaming, streaming, video editing or 3D modelling. So, if you plan to build a hybrid mining and content creation rig, than this CPU will suffice.
When it comes to mining Monero and other cryptocurrenices, CPUs and GPUs share much more in common than you might think at first. However, compared to GPUs, CPUs are much more sensitive to RAM quality, power delivery, and software optimization. Workstation CPUs are without a doubt the best choice for mining cryptocurrencies at a favorable rate, however, they cost a lot of money. Mainstream CPUs, on the other hand, can deliver decent mining hashrates, but it’s necessary for them to feature as much processing cores as possible. We hope our buying guide helped you in search of the information you were looking for. If you still feel confused, and need advice about buying, feel free to post comment below. We will try to help you.