A GPU is short for ‘Graphics Processing Unit.’ As it sounds, these cards were originally created to generate and accelerate images on various electronic devices. While graphics cards are necessary even for the visual representation of any computing task, higher-quality GPUs with greater processing capacities were generally produced for the gaming industry, with more and more powerful units being produced to keep up with the ever-evolving quality of newer games.
Due to their high processing capacity, miners realized that GPUs make great cryptocurrency mining tools. They are capable of hashing at higher rates than a normal CPUs, which brought about the first great leap in Bitcoin mining difficulty. GPUs are versatile; they can be used to mine on chains with different algorithm types and they are also easier to re-sell because they can be used for purposes other than mining. This gives GPUs certain advantages over ASICs.Nevertheless, the general consensus within the gaming community is that increased GPU demand for mining purposes made gaming rigs much more expensive. The price of GPUs has skyrocketed with the advent of cryptocurrency mining. Although the prices are finally starting to decrease, much to the joy of serious gamers.
Manufacturers are aware that GPUs might be used for mining and have tried to alter their design to cater to miners. Despite the high hashing capacity of GPUs, their design cannot beat specialized ASICs in terms of sheer computing power. Therefore, miners who wish to stick with GPUs generally set up mining rigs comprising multiple GPUs for mining purposes, rather than attempting to mine with a single unit.
It is also important to realize that although GPUs are far more affordable and widely available than ASIC miners, GPUs are designed to supplement existing infrastructures, and so cannot operate unless attached to an existing computer. GPU rigs also need enough RAM and SSD to function optimally. They are also more difficult to configure for mining than ASICs, as that is not what they are designed to do.
A GPU rig is a method of setting up and connecting multiple GPUs to increase the overall processing capacity, and therefore hashing-power on a specially-built CPU. This is done by attaching multiple GPUs to the CPU’s motherboard that should have no built-in graphics card. Enough RAM, SSD and relevant wires and a stable support-structure complete with a cooling system are also necessary to build an effective rig. Most rigs are DIY, and so require some technical know-how. There are however several YouTube videos on the subject, in addition to pre-built rigs available for purchase, such as the Shark Mini and PandaMiner B5 plus.