When we started Salad we focused on Graphics Card (GPU) mining, as it represented an easy, reliable means of earning Balance for our users. Still, our goal is to help gamers get the most out of their computer’s idle resources, GPU, CPU, or otherwise. To that end, we’ve enabled CPU mining on the Salad App! Mining with your Central Processing Unit (CPU) shares a lot in common with GPU mining, but there are a few key differences which we will cover below.
#1 Different Coins/Protocols Optimized For Or Compatible With CPUs
When most people imagine cryptomining or “mining-rigs” they envision a super-charged PC kitted out with the latest and greatest graphical technology. To their credit, they’re mostly correct! GPU mining represents the majority of hashing power on the blockchain, unless we’re talking Bitcoin, but that’s another issue entirely. However, a significant number of protocols and coins allow miners to take advantage of their CPU power as well as their GPU, the most well known of which is Monero (XMR). Others include:
On Salad, we use your CPU power to mine for Monero via XMRig. It’s one of the most reliable and profitable coins for CPUs to mine. However, this leads us to another unique characteristic of CPU mining.
#2 Highly Variable Earning Rates And Lower Hashing Power
There are several factors that affect your CPU’s earning rates while mining, of course - many of these are identical to GPU mining, like:
- Hashing power/rate
- Cooling and maintenance
- Mining difficulty and luck
If you’re unfamiliar with any of these, we’d highly recommend that you read our beginner’s guide to blockchain to get down the basics. Where CPU mining differs is primarily three variables, these being:
- Relying on RAM instead of VRAM for Hash rates
- Elevated sensitivity to background processes and apps
- Fewer Arithmetic Logic Units (they do less math)
To translate that to English: your CPU doesn’t have its own dedicated RAM like most consumer Graphics Cards. This means it relies entirely on the sticks in your motherboard for support. You may have a badass CPU with 12 cores, hyperthreading, etc - but it won’t do you any good if you only have 2 Gigabytes (GB) of RAM in your PC.
The CPU also has a wider realm of responsibilities than the GPU. Generally speaking, Graphics Cards are only called upon to perform a few specialized processes, like game graphics and particle effects. However, the CPU is the brain of your computer, overseeing everything from your Excel Spreadsheet to Google Chrome tabs. The more background processes you have running, the less spare power your CPU has to contribute towards hashing. This makes CPU mining essentially ineffectual unless you’re truly AFK.
Finally, GPUs are specialists, and CPUs are jack-of-all-trades. Typically, this is a good thing - as we said, CPUs are asked to do a lot of different tasks and need a wide skill set. Sadly, the type of tasks required for mining, highly parallelized computations, is where the GPU shines. A CPU generally will not be able to put out the same kind of raw hash power that a GPU can produce, and this will reflect in earning rates.