Mining crypto

Why Mining Crypto Will Murder Your Laptop


Laptops and crypto mining don’t mix. Even a gaming laptop doesn’t have the hardware to run 24/7. Using your laptop as a mining rig is a good way to damage the hardware, and it won’t be able to mine well.

What does Crypto Mining do to a computer

Whether you’re mining Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any other cryptocurrency that uses proof of work, “mining” works a bit like guessing the combination of a lock. On a lock with three cylinders, you will certainly get the right combination in 1000 tries, because there are only 1000 number combinations between 000 and 999. Add a number and this list of combinations increases by an order of magnitude with 10000 possibilities.

Now imagine a cryptic puzzle with billions or trillions of possible combinations and you have to guess repeatedly until you get the right one. It’s mining: computationally trivial transaction verification accompanied by a brute-force guessing game where whoever has the fastest computer has the highest chance of getting the right number first. . The reward for winning is cryptocurrency.

GPUs are the most capable computing component for mining today’s popular cryptocurrencies and they will run at full throttle to crush those numbers, generating heat and pushing every component that supports the GPU to its limit.

This is not necessarily an issue for desktop GPUs. A GPU used for mining can still have a good lifespan ahead of it if it has been properly cooled. However, a laptop is very different from a mining rig.

Laptops are not designed for this

Most laptops, even high-end ones for gaming and creative professional work, aren’t designed to run at full capacity 24/7. Instead, they increase performance as needed and keep heat and power levels as low as possible the rest of the time. Even heavy workloads, like playing a AAA video game for hours, don’t starve your computer’s CPU and GPU to 100%. Instead, the load is dynamic, providing small opportunities to dissipate heat.

Video editing and even video encoding projects also fall short of the sustained load of mining cryptocurrencies. Instead, it’s more like a torture test for your components: the kind of thing you might do for 24 hours to make sure everything is working properly, and then never again.

There are laptop computers designed as computing workstations, but these computers are better described as “portable” computers rather than mobile computers. Some of these workstation laptops feature pluggable desktop processors, designed to suck power from a wall outlet and really push those thermal limits. Unless you have one of these behemoths, your laptop probably wasn’t built to handle the stress of mining.

Fans wear out

A fan on the motherboard inside a laptop computer.

Modern laptops don’t have many moving parts anymore. Mechanical hard drives and optical drives are quickly going the way of the dodo, but computers still use rotating fans to move air through the system and carry heat with it.

The longer and faster your fans spin, the sooner they will seize up and need to be replaced. Replacing a desktop case or CPU fan is fairly simple, but laptops don’t use standard cooling components. So don’t expect to replace them so easily.

Modern laptops dynamically adjust fan speeds to match thermal load, with some turning them off even when the system is only under a light load. If you mine cryptocurrency, they will scream headlong towards the end.

Battery thermal aging

While most of your electronics will likely be fine as long as they stay within the rated safe temperature range, one component that might not handle heat well is the laptop battery. Lithium-ion batteries should operate between -20°C and 60°C depending on the specific application and the manufacturer’s recommendations. If exposed to temperatures above this, they can degrade and have a shortened lifespan due to an effect known as thermal aging.

In 2018, Shuai Ma and his colleagues published an article on thermal impact and lithium-ion batteries. They cite research showing that lithium batteries subjected to 75°C for a few days show severe degradation. While this doesn’t mean that sustained high temperatures in your laptop will quickly kill your batteries, it’s worth remembering that components such as the GPU can reach temperatures close to 100°C, especially in a laptop where the line between “safe” and “too hot” is very thin.

Laptops Are Bad For Mining, Anyway

Aside from the fact that using your laptop as a crypto mining device might stress it into an early grave, laptops just aren’t very good mining systems. Your laptop will begin to throttle performance to the point where the cooling system can no longer control temperatures. Also, laptops are not energy efficient in the mines. The typical laptop computer that’s fast enough to run anything will probably use more electricity than the little money it makes, unless you plan to draw electricity from your workplace or at school. Do not do that.

There’s a reason why miners use ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) or specific models of GPUs with the right ratio of power, cost, and performance. The margins on mining are already very slim, so using something as poorly suited for mining as a laptop just doesn’t make sense.