Cryptocurrency is a popular topic these days, especially when it comes to mining crypto. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for the best laptop for mining cryptocurrency, we’re here to tell you there isn’t one.
While it’s true that just about any computing device can mine cryptocurrencies like Ethereum or Bitcoin, using a laptop is a terrible idea. There’s a reason why most bitcoin mining operations are massive and use dozens of the most powerful graphics cards on the market. It takes tons of power to be profitable, puts out a lot of heat, and isn’t easy on the mining hardware.
We’ve seen several guides talking about which laptops are the best for crypto mining and received requests for recommendations on the same topic. Mining laptops are a no-go. Even a high-end gaming laptop doesn’t have what it takes to make laptop mining worth it, and here’s why.
What is mining? In a “proof of work” scenario, it’s essentially a number-crunching guessing game that helps create cryptocurrency coins. Or, when someone sends or receives cryptocurrency, that information is shared to the public ledger and then verified by miners. Both processes are considered “mining,” and users earn crypto (digital currency) for participating.
And while your entire laptop will be working extremely hard, the GPU (graphics processing unit) does most of the work. Laptops don’t use the same GPU as a desktop. Instead, most laptops come with an integrated GPU, and even high-end gaming laptops don’t have the same powerful GPUs as a desktop.
Simply put, regular consumer-grade laptops don’t have enough power. The CPUs are typically paired-down models, and the GPUs are even more underpowered than dedicated desktop models.
Dedicated mining rigs use the most powerful graphics cards on the market, come with plenty of cooling, and can handle extreme loads. The graphics inside a laptop won’t earn you anywhere near as much as a discrete graphics card.
If you’re trying to mine crypto, the weak GPU in most laptops isn’t your best option.
To be a successful miner and earn coins, you’ll need to run your laptop 24/7 at full throttle. Imagine playing the most graphics-intensive game 24 hours a day, seven days a week, endlessly. That’s how much mining will tax your laptop and all of its components. You’ll hear the built-in fans ramp up (if your laptop even has a fan) as it tries to cool down the machine.
Most laptops, even top-tier gaming machines, aren’t built to run constantly. Whether you’re editing video or playing video games, nothing uses both the CPU and GPU to max capacity, and if anything gets close, it’s only temporary. Nothing you do on a laptop will deliver the same load it’ll see while trying to mine cryptocurrencies, except maybe a stress test application.
Manufacturers don’t make laptops with the intention of full-throttle use 24/7. They’re small, thin, lightweight, portable, and built to offer a good balance of power, performance, thermals, and battery life. Unfortunately, laptops don’t have the power, cooling, or airflow to handle it. Even worse, powerful gaming laptops keep getting thinner and thinner, making them even less useful for mining.
You can certainly mine crypto with a laptop, but it will not be easy on the components and won’t earn very much money.
If you haven’t noticed a trend here, we keep coming back to heat. One of the most critical aspects of performance is heat or thermal management. All computers, big and small, have several design elements specifically for managing heat. This is to keep temperatures within range to offer the best performance.
When a laptop reaches these heat thresholds, performance will suffer. This is because both the CPU and GPU get throttled (limited) by the operating system to try and alleviate the high temperatures.
When a small, thin, poorly cooled laptop has to mine cryptocurrency 24/7, it’ll get scorching hot, dip in performance, heavily tax the system, and yield poor results.
While laptops can handle plenty of use, abuse, or wear and tear, that’s only when they’re inside the safe temperature and operating ranges. For example, when a laptop is running at unsafe heat levels 24/7, never gets a break, and the fan is roaring at 100% constantly, things could start to show wear and tear or fail.
While it’s easy to replace something like a fan or even the power supply in a desktop computer, that’s not the case on a laptop. Laptops have big lithium-ion battery cells, which are not only difficult or costly to replace, but they’re even more likely to fail due to the high temperatures.
And replacing something like a fan inside a laptop can be difficult and costly, to the point that it’s probably not even worth it. Thermal limits and overuse from crypto mining will likely cause excessive wear and tear on a laptop.
Most people want to mine crypto to make money. However, there’s a good chance you’ll burn through a laptop or have to do costly repairs before you’ve earned enough crypto to pay off the laptop. Of course, that’s before thinking about the small profits a laptop will yield.
Besides all the reasons mentioned above, laptops simply aren’t good mining systems. They don’t have enough power, and throttling slows down the already limited performance. You’ll end up with such poor mining yields you’ll quickly realize getting a laptop wasn’t the correct route.
Even typical consumer laptops powerful enough to mine crypto will probably use so much electricity that there’s no point. You’ll spend just as much on a power bill as it makes from mining. Dedicated mining rigs use a specific GPU, encloser, and cooling to get the perfect balance of power, cost, and performance. None of those exist on a laptop.
If you’re trying to find the best laptop for mining cryptocurrency, do yourself a favor and buy a dedicated mining system instead. Or consider looking into a proof of coverage cryptocurrency.