Six AMD 7950 Alternatives

First, a big thank-you to all of you who have commented and emailed me over the last three or four extremely busy weeks here on the site. I wish I could respond to everyone, but unfortunately, I only have so much time to split between my family, my work, and this blog/website. A more efficient way of getting answers to questions would be to check out the /r/gpumining subreddit. The commenting system is great, and there is a growing community of fellow GPU mining enthusiasts to bounce ideas off of. You might even get an answer from me on occasion as I am on there fairly frequently.

Now, on to the topic of this blog post. Yes, the AMD 7950 is about as hard to find right now as a moon rock on mars. So, what are your options if you want to build a mining rig? Listed below are six AMD 7950 alternatives. I have included the hash rate, cost, and kilo-hash per watt (higher is better) of each card, based on this list of mining hardware.

  1. AMD 7990  –  Hash-rate: 1385 Kh/s  |  Cost: $660  |  Kh/watt: 4.6266
  2. AMD R9 290  –  Hash-rate: 900 Kh/s  |  Cost: $400  |  Kh/watt: 3
  3. AMD R9 290x  –  Hash-rate: 880 Kh/s  |  Cost: $560  |  Kh/watt: 2.416
  4. AMD R9 280x  –  Hash-rate: 725 Kh/s  |  Cost: $320  |  Kh/watt: 2.416
  5. AMD 7970  –  Hash-rate: 725 Kh/s  |  Cost: $350  |  Kh/watt: 2.416
  6. AMD R9 270 – Hash-rate: 450 Kh/s  |  Cost: $180  |  Kh/watt: 2.25

For Reference:  AMD 7950  –  Hash-rate: 650-700 Kh/s  |  Cost: $300  |  Kh/watt: ~3.25

As a rule-of-thumb, stick with the Sapphire, MSI or Gigabyte versions of these cards and you should be fine. The HIS, XFX and Powercolor cards all have had issues mining, though some folks have reported using them with no issues. I can’t personally recommend them, though.

As far as cooling goes, the twin-fan design is best, but the stock-cooler (single fan) design can work also. You may need to drop the hash rate some and/or add supplemental cooling (box fan, cool winter weather, etc). You can also install aftermarket fans, liquid cooling or even use your swimming pool to cool your cards if you’re really adventurous.

I hope this list is helpful to someone in their quest for GPU mining hardware.

Happy Holidays!

22 thoughts on “Six AMD 7950 Alternatives

  1. distraido

    Hello,
    i an trying to setup a 4 gpu mining with 4 r9 290 gpu becouse you say the 290 does 900 Kh/s and the 290x has 880 Kh/s.
    How do i get the 900 Kh/s on the 290? what is the config? or is it out of the box?
    the 290 is cheaper, and what psu would you recomend and what board becouse in the near future i wold like to have the 6 gpus, but now only have the money for 4 gpus
    if your calculations are right i would be hashing at 3600KH/s with 4 gpus
    it is correct?

    Reply
    1. Josh Post author

      Lotsa questions! 🙂 You can find numbers and configuration settings for the R9 290 on the Litecoin mining hardware wiki. I’ve seen folks running six R9 290’s on the board recommended in the Six GPU Guide. You will need to run two 1000 watt PSU’s to support six R9 290’s. Just make sure your household circuit can support this.

      Reply
  2. Adam

    Hi

    I am a newb in this field and I want to build your 4 GPU mining rig, but instead of 4x AMD 7950 (It´s really hard to find them now) I would like to use 2x AMD R9 290. Is there something that I should change/re-think in the setup, does anything change at all when I use this 2x R9 290? What PSU should I use for this setup?

    I also have a question about a OS. Is there a difference between 32 and 64 bit version of windows when used for mining?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Josh Post author

      Adam, great question! According to this hardware comparison, the AMD R9 290 should pull around 300 watts at roughly 770 Kh/s. If you’re going to run two of them, that would be 600 watts for the cards + 200 watts for system overhead. Your total would be around 800 watts. So you could actually use a cheaper 1kw PSU. The rest of the components would stay the same.

      Reply
  3. Pprez

    Wondering what your take is on the R9 270x? Hash rate looks comparable to the 7870’s and appear to be a tad more energy efficient + quiet. They’re selling new around $200. Being budget conscious, should I consider buying a couple of these ? Thanks in advance for your reply and more so for the info you provide on this site.

    Reply
  4. Nathaniel

    Hi,

    Thanks for the effort! Thanks for sharing the knowledge!

    I am a total newb and am following your 4 gpu outline using R9 280x (starting with 2)…

    Sorry if this is a dumb question but how do I load the OS if there is no CD drive? Am I supposed to just use another computer and format and load the OS onto the SSD?

    And btw, do I need the SSD or can I utilize one of my old ATA drives I have lying around?

    Thanks again,

    Nathaniel

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      If you have an old drive lying around, that will work fine. That’s what I did. Also, as far as loading the OS, yes either load on another machine and swap the drive, install from USB, or use a USB DVD-RW drive. The last option is probably the easiest for most people.

      Reply
  5. Max

    Very helpful Articles and an extremely newbie friendly chart.
    hopwever i noticed that there is a few different models of the AMD 7950 like : Club 3D AMD Radeon HD 7950, GENERIC Radeon HD 7970 OEM and the sapphire.
    so what is the difference or in other words will they all do the same job ?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      In general it is best to stick with the Sapphire, MSI, or Gigabyte branded cards. While I haven’t used the HIS, Club 3D, Powercolor, XFX and VisionTek cards myself, other miners have encountered serious issues with these GPU’s when attempting to mine crypto-currencies with them.

      Reply
  6. Count Zero

    Hey,
    Thanks for your article.

    I was trying to build the 6-GPU mining rig, but unfortunately, the Radeon HD 7950 is not available now.

    Since my local dealer has some 7990 in stock, do you think a 3×7990 could be a working alternative, using the 1600W power supply?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Running 3 7990s on a 1600 watt PSU would be pushing it. Each 7990 pulls around 500 watts when mining. If I were building a 7990 rig, I would put 2x 7990s in in the 4x GPU rig with a 1300 watt PSU.

      Reply
  7. Charlie Cornish

    I am trying to build the 6GPU rig that you outlined, will these cards work with the 1600w PSU you suggested? I ordered all of the parts and was notified the GPUs wont arrive for 3 weeks. I cancelled the order and am looking to find a solution to get up and running ASAP

    Thank you for your help in advance and great work on everything. I won’t forget it

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Unfortunately, you cancelled your place in line. It seems all the retailers are out at the moment and the manufacturers in Asia are scrambling to get product shipped to the vendors. They didn’t anticipate this level of demand apparently. You could try eBay, but personally, I wouldn’t buy used cards for mining.

      Reply
  8. Kevin S.

    Hi, great stuff here. Thank you very much for sharing your experience and information with us.

    Quick question regarding the basic framework for option #5 above, which are the 7970’s. I am setting up a rig with 3 of them (because that’s all they would send me for now) and wanted to make sure that the rig explanations you have written for the 4 GPU rig guide on this blog will be the same for the AMD 7970’s. I know your explanation for the 4 x AMD 7950 is comprehensive, does anything change at all when you use the AMD 7970’s? Is there anything that will enhance the 7970’s at all to increase efficiency or simple just use the same guide and equipment as the 7950’s?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Everything works the same for the 7970’s. Just be sure to under-volt your 7970s with either Sapphire Trixx or MSI Afterburner and you’ll be fine.

      Reply
  9. ribzer

    Hi, I was wondering if you could put the stats of a 7950 in your list of GPUs for comparison purposes? I know it’s the best, but this will make it easier to see exactly how much worse off we’d be.

    Reply

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