Zcash Mining Hardware Comparison

Updated April 23, 2018 by Headshot Jacob Tuwiner


What is Zcash?

Zcash uses proof of construction to secure the network. This allows it to maintain security without disclosing parties or amounts involved in the transaction.

One huge benefit of Zcash is the ability of the user to choose whether or not they wish to encrypt their transaction. This way, transactions can be public, or private. It is totally up to you.

Zcash is based on a decentralized blockchain, just like Bitcoin. Zcash has caused lots of controversy, because it is set up as a company, not an opensource community.

Finding the right harware for mining Zcash can be difficult. It is important to balance the power of the GPU with the cost of the GPU and the cost of electricity.

As we have seen with other popular cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Monero, Dash, Litecoin, ZenCash and Bitcoin, mining profitability is always directly related with these factors.

Zcash Mining Hardware

Zcash uses equihash as its mining algorithm. Due to this, much like ethereum, the development of ASIC graphics cards for this cryptocurrency is unfeasible.

PIC GPU Mining Performance Buy
Gigabyte GTX 1080 Ti Aorus 5/5 Shop Lowest Prices
ASUS ROG STRIX GTX 1070 TI Advanced Addition 4.5/5 Shop Lowest Prices
MSI RADEON RX 480 4.5/5 Shop Lowest Prices

Gigabyte GTX 1080 Ti Aorus

The Gigabyte GTX 1080 Ti Aorus is a card that can make you some serious money if you employ it in your mining rig. Much to the dismay of the modern day gamer, AMD graphics cards are amazing at Zcash mining.

This card has a hashrate of 800 Sol/s and a power consumption of 260 W. It is the most powerful Zcash miner on the market!

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ASUS ROG STRIX GTX 1070 TI Advanced Addition - $600

The ASUS ROG STRIX GTX 1070 TI Advanced Addition is a great choice for anyone looking to mine Zcash.

It has a hashrate of 535 Sol/s and a power consumption of 125 W. However, this is at 70% TDP. This card has the best hashrate/power consumption ratio when underpowered. This means your profits are the highest!

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MSI RADEON RX 480 - $300

Surprisingly, the MSI RADEON RX 480 boasts excellent performance for its price, especially when optimized for mining.

When you buy an RX 480, you can expect to see a large profit margin. It has a hashrate of 320 Sol/s and a power consumption of 130 W.

Please note that while it’s the cheapest, it also has the lowest hashrate. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a bad miner. In fact, the power/hashrate ratio is pretty good, which is probably one of the most important factors to consider when buying a mining GPU. If you’re on a budget, this is the Zcash miner for you.

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Zcash Overview

Zcash ASIC

There are not any ASICs for Zcash mining.

However, this may not necessarily be a bad thing.

ASICs promote centralization and drive block difficulty sky high, rendering it impossible for the average Joe to profitably confirm the network.

By remaining ASIC resistant, Zcash mining stays profitable for the little guy, which promotes decentralization of the token.

Zcash Mining Algorithm - Equihash

According to the project’s blog, Equihash was chosen because it is ASIC resistant:

Equihash is a memory-oriented Proof-of-Work, which means how much mining you can do is mostly determined by how much RAM you have. We think it is unlikely that anyone will be able to build cost-effective custom hardware (ASICs) for mining in the foreseeable future… we may change the Proof-of-Work again, if we find some flaw in Equihash or if we find another Proof-of-Work algorithm which offers higher assurance.

The algorithm was invented by Dmitry Khovratovich and Alex Biryukov, and is based on Wagner’s algorithm.

Equihash requires a substantial amount of memory, which is why GPUs with more dedicated VRAM tend to be more profitable.

If you decide to invest in a mining GPU, you’ll have to buy the necessary peripherals to go with it (case, power supply, motherboard, processor, etc.) – after all, a mining setup is just a computer optimized for mining.

With that in mind, here are some of the components you’ll need:

  • Motherboard - make sure yours has enough PCI slots to accomodate your GPUs (If you buy 3 GPUs, you’ll need 3 PCI slots!)
  • Riser cables – you’ll need one for each GPU
  • DDR4 RAM - 4GB is the minimum
  • Case – you can go with a standard case, though an open air mining case is ideal for cooling
  • SSD – solid state drives increase read/write speeds
  • PSU – your power supply will need to be sufficient for the entire build, so check your estimated power consumption!

Block Operations has a great Zcash setup guide:

  1. Motherboard: Biostar Motherboard TB250-BTC
  2. Processor: Intel Celeron Kaby Lake
  3. RAM: Crucial 4GB Single DDR4 2400
  4. SSD: Kingspec 16GB
  5. Case: Aluminum GPU Mining Case Rig Open Air Frame
  6. Power Supply: Corsair HX1200 1200W 80 Plus Platinum
  7. Riser: S-Union 4 in 1 PCI-E Riser 1 to 16 Adapter Board
  8. GPU: Choose one of the three listed above!

For their full setup guide, click here.

Zcash Mining Software

The best Zcash mining software for you depends on your mining hardware – some will best suit Nvidia GPUs, while others are preferable for AMD GPUs.

Consider the following mining software for your setup:

Zcash Mining Pools

Mining pools are a great tool for the average Joe looking to generate passive income.

Here’s why:

Rather than trying to validate a block on your own (which may take a while given block difficulty), you can team up with other likeminded people and validate the block together.

Rewards are paid out in proportion to the amount of power you contributed. If 25% of the energy used to validate the block was from you, you’ll receive 25% (minus a small pool fee) of the block reward!

Joining a mining pool will yield faster results, and increase your chances of successfully mining a block.

Here are some mining pools to try:

Why Should You Mine Zcash?

  • Mining Zcash is far more profitable than mining Bitcoin – rather than investing in expensive Bitcoin mining hardware (that won’t even turn a profit), you can exchange the Zcash you have mined for Bitcoin.

  • Zcash can be sold directly on major exchanges, or traded for other cryptocurrencies.

  • Zcash is based on Bitcoin’s protocol, with the users’ privacy in mind.

  • The token has a large market capitalization, just above one billion dollars.

  • It is one of the best cryptocurrencies to mine, in terms of profitability

Zcash Mining Profitability

Zcash seems to be a profitable cryptocurrency to mine in 2018. In fact, you can expect to see profits just shy of $1,000 annually! Take a look at the projected earnings with a GTX 1080 Ti

projected Zcash earnings
calculated for 1 ZEC = $290.87

As you can see, Zcash mining in 2018 is very profitable. As the value of Zcash rises, so do your mining profits! You can check your mining profitability with this profitability calculator.

Setting Up Passive Income with Zcash Mining

Mining Zcash is a great way to set up passive income.

Look at it this way:

When you go to work, you get paid for the hours you put in. If you work for a few hours, you’ll be paid for a few hours.

However, with Zcash mining, if you put in a few hours of work, you’ll be paid indefinitely after that, even after you’ve stopped working.

How does this work?

That’s the beauty of passive income. Once you set up your mining rig, you’ll generate revenue all of the time, as long as you keep it on.

Is Zcash Mining Practical?

The answer is yes, as long as you invest in one of the GPUs listed above. Mining is a delicate balance of hashing power, the initial startup cost, and the cost of electricity.

This is how you determine your return on investment.

You want a GPU that isn’t terribly expensive, but has enough hashing power to make the electricity bill worth it. All three of the above GPUs will give you an excellent return on investment.