Dec 12, 2017

What Are Safe Temperatures for Mining?

Ideally when you're mining, you’re pushing your graphics cards to the extreme limit of their capabilities. There are several dangers involved if your graphics cards are operating at too high a temperature, but what is considered too high a temperature? And what can you do to prevent high-temp damage to your cards?

By running too hot you're certainly reducing the lifespan of your graphics cards, and you're likely voiding the warranty as well. Most GPU's have sensors to detect if a certain temperature threshold has been breached, and if that sensor is "compromised" at any point during the life of the card then the manufacturer has no responsibility to honor the warranty. Additionally, a hot card means the fan(s) are working overtime. Fans are typically the first mechanism to fail over the lifetime of a graphics card.

Temp Safety Chart

Temperature Safe? Effects
0 - 25°C Yes Is it on?
26 - 45°C Yes Idling. Perhaps picking up some risidual heat from your CPU and other components? Certainly not mining at this temperature
46 - 55°C Yes Cards are warming up! Either you've just started the mining software or you're not running your cards to their full potential
56 - 71°C Yes THE SWEET SPOT! Cards are comfortably hashing away with no throttling: GOLDILOCKS ZONE!
72 - 79°C Yes Temperature is safe, but you'll experience slightly lower hashrates in this range.
Why? Your GPU's self-regulate their clockspeeds (downthrottle) here as a safety measure
80 - 89°C Borderline Your GPU's are not happy here. Expect significant downthrottling and potentially the smell of burning plastic
90 - 99°C No There is likely permanent damage occurring
100 - 109°C No Too high. A GPU running at this temperature for a minute or two may be recoverable, but significant chance of bricking
110+ °C No You've failed. Hope the GPU is the only thing damaged. Pray your home insurance covers negligence

Ensuring Safe Temperatures

Now that you understand the importance of mining temperature, here is how to control it:
- Underclock Your Cards -
This is just good practice in general. Lower the TDP of your graphics cards using your choice of software (I like MSI Afterburner). No algorithms need 100% power allocation, so try 70-80% power. Your power consumption, and thus your heat output, will drop significantly.
- Turn Up Fan Speeds -
Increasing your fan speeds will help push more air through your rig. Although fans are capable of being pushed to 100%, this isn't ideal for 24/7 mining. Don't exceed 75% fan speed without consulting other measures.
- More Fans! -
Case fans are inexpensive and help improve airflow within your rig. This is especially important if your cards are reference/blower style and don't have great aftermarket cooling mechanics built into their design.
- Space Out The Components -
A rig with multiple cards needs space in between the cards, in between the components, and in between other objects/walls in the room. Try spacing the cards out from each other, and pulling the rig out away from the wall to allow better airflow around the rig.
- Better Airflow In The Room -
No matter how spread out your cards are, if the room is hot than everything in it will stay hot. Room-wide heat dissipation is crucial. Use windows, ductwork, box fans, etc to remove the heat from the operating room.