Following up on the promising results of the EGVA GTX 1080 that I reviewed a couple of weeks ago, I thought I would buy one of the Ti versions of the GTX1080 series to see if its hash-rate justifies the extra cost. This week I am looking at the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080Ti SC Black Edition GAMING card and seeing how it compares to its little brother (the GTX 1080) in terms of cryptocurrency mining performance.
Before I get to the specifics of the GTX 1080Ti, I thought I would take a bit of time to go over the differences in the Nvidia 10xx product line.
Both the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1080Ti are based on the Pascal architecture, but you will pay around a $100 to $150 premium when bumping up to the Ti version. So what do you get for that extra money? There are a few notable differences that I will point out.
On-board memory: The GTX 1080 has 8GB of GDDR5X VRAM while the GTX 1080Ti offers 11GBs of GDDR5X memory. The 1080Ti’s memory is clocked slightly faster too at 11 Gbps (1080Ti) versus 10 Gbps (1080).
Number of CUDA cores: The GTX 1080 has 2560 CUDA cores while the GTX 1080Ti has 3584 CUDA cores. These additional 1024 cores will contribute a lot of extra computation power to any GPU-accelerated tasks such as video editing, gaming, and of course mining.
A better overview of differences across the various 10xx series cards can be see in the chart below.
|GEFORCE GTX 1080
1080 Ti / 1080
|GEFORCE GTX 1070||GEFORCE GTX 1060
6GB / 3GB
|GEFORCE GTX 1050
1050 Ti / 1050
|Cuda Cores||3584 / 2560||1920||1280 / 1152||768 / 640|
|Base Clock (MHz)||1480 / 1607||1506||1506||1290 / 1354|
|Boost Clock (MHz)||1582 / 1733||1683||1708||1392 / 1455|
|Memory Speed||11 Gbps / 10 Gbps||8.0 Gbps||8.0 Gbps||7.0 Gbps|
|Standard Memory Config||11 GB GDDR5X / 8 GB GDDR5X||8 GB GDDR5||6 GB GDDR5 / 3 GB GDDR5||4 GB GDDR5 / 2 GB GDDR5|
|Memory Interface Width||352-bit / 256-bit||256-bit||192-bit||128-bit|
|Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)||484 / 320||256||192||112|
|Graphics Card Power||250W / 180W||150W||120W||75W|
With a TDP (thermal design power) of about 70 more watts and 1024 more cores than the GTX1080 we should expect increased performance with algorithms that prefer increased computation power over memory bandwidth, so early predictions are it will perform better in Zcash mining than it will with Ethereum.
Since it is aimed at the Gaming community, the retail version of the EVGA GTX1080Ti card comes packed firmly surrounded by protective foam and contains a few extras you can use to show off the powerful GTX1080TI inside your case. Included in the retail box, in addition to the graphics card, are a case badge, EVGA case decals, a giant poster (not shown), driver CD, user guide, and two PCI-e power adapters, one 8-pin and one 6-pin.
As hinted above, the EVGA GTX1080Ti requires both 8-pin and a 6-pin PCIe power connectors to supply power, as shown in the image below. Since the stated max power draw for the card is 250 watts, the additional 6-pin connector is needed because with just power being supplied from the PCIe slot (75 watts) and a single 8-pin (150 watts) would limit it to a total 225 watt draw. The extra 75 watts offered by the extra 6-pin connector puts it safely over the requirement with a 300 watts total supply.
As I mentioned in the GTX1080 review, Nvidia cards offer an impressive hash per watt advantage over AMD when mining Zcash (Equihash algorithm), and with the recent surge in Zcash’s exchange price, I am sure we will be seeing a lot more mining interest in this algorithm going forward. Other popular coins that use the Equihash mining algorithm include: Zclassic (ZCL), Hush (HUSH), Komodo (KMD), and a recent entrant based off of Zclassic; ZENCoin (ZEN).
The EVGA GTX1080Ti retails for about $800 including taxes, so it will need to mine about 4 ZEC (at current mining difficulty and exchange prices) to cover both its initial cost and the estimated power usage over its ROI period. While I put the GTX1080 in my personal gaming rig, for the Ti card I will use a dedicated mining rig, so I will need to factor in all the other components in the ROI calculations as well. I will do the initial review with one card, but if it works out as I expect, I will add 4 or 5 more GTX 1080Ti’s to the rig. But for now the rest of the components (Mobo, CPU, SDD, PSU, RAM) will add $400 to the total rig cost, so with just the one card I am sitting at a $1,200 investment. Needless to say I want to be sure of my calculations and real world results before sinking a lot more money into it, as I am sure you as well since you are reading this review.
At the anticipated hash-rates and reported power usage, I am looking for an under 90 day payback period for just the GPU, and about 135 days for the whole system. Once I add in the remaining GPUs at a later point, and assuming profitability remains somewhat consistent, I am looking at roughly a 120 day ROI for the entire rig. The reduction in ROI days as I add more GPUs is due to increased efficiencies of running more cards on the base system, so they each contribute a portion to the ROI of the remaining components.
However, even if difficulty does shoot up and it takes closer to 180-days to ROI, I will still consider it a good investment as GPU based mining has enjoyed the longest streak of profitability in its existence and I expect it to continue to do so for some time.