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.
- AMD 7990 – Hash-rate: 1385 Kh/s | Cost: $660 | Kh/watt: 4.6266
- AMD R9 290 – Hash-rate: 900 Kh/s | Cost: $400 | Kh/watt: 3
- AMD R9 290x – Hash-rate: 880 Kh/s | Cost: $560 | Kh/watt: 2.416
- AMD R9 280x – Hash-rate: 725 Kh/s | Cost: $320 | Kh/watt: 2.416
- AMD 7970 – Hash-rate: 725 Kh/s | Cost: $350 | Kh/watt: 2.416
- 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.