Ethereum DAG size increase to make 4GB GPUs obsolete
It has been a busy year for the Ethereum network, with the Ethereum 2.0 rollout spanning much of the summer and fall months and signaling at least a slight shift toward proof-of-stake mining.
But that is not the only event causing buzz within the world of Ethereum. This winter, the DAG file size of Ethereum is slated to increase and shake up the network and miner functionality in its own right.
Here is a breakdown of what DAG file size is and what this impending increase will mean for your Ethereum mining profitability.
What is DAG?
DAG stands for Directed Acyclic Graph, and it is an ever-important element within the structure of Ethereum mining. DAG is a dataset over 1GB in size that is used by all Ethash coins to find solutions along the blockchain. That means that this increase in DAG size will not only affect Ethereum, but will also have an impact on Ethereum Classic, Metaverse, Ubiq, and several other forms of crypto, as well.
The DAG file has to be loaded into your GPU’s memory in order for it to mine successfully – and it also has a significant impact on mining speed. The DAG file size then grows over time as the blockchain grows. Every 30,000 blocks of ETH (or approximately every 100 hours), the DAG size increases. Each increase of this kind is known as an epoch.
Once the DAG file size grows to become larger than the memory capacity of the GPU’s VRAM, the GPU becomes unable to mine Ethereum. In short:
If DAG file size > GPU memory then GPU = useless.
Ethereum DAG growth
In the case of Ethereum, DAG size is set to reach 4GB at block number 11,520,000, which is currently projected to take place on December 24, 2020. At this time, all GPUs with 4GB of VRAM or less will no longer be able to mine Ethereum.
This is an especially big deal, because 4GB Ethereum miners are fairly popular, having long offered very favorable price per hash and watt per hash ratios among their competitors.
Windows vs. Linux
Another aspect to consider in all this is that this will become an issue much sooner for rigs running Windows than it will for rigs running Linux-based operating systems. This is due to the fact that Windows requires significantly more VRAM (300MB to 600MB) on the first GPU card (GPU0) of a rig.
This issue can be avoided, however, by replacing the first card with a GPU card with more VRAM, such as a 6GB or 8GB card.
Ethereum ASIC miners
Apart from upgrading your GPU card to one with more VRAM, another way to ensure continued profitability in Ethereum mining is to utilize ASIC Ethereum mining hardware with more than enough memory and power to efficiently do so.
Among the most high-powered and profitable Ethash miners is the Innosilicon A10 Pro, which features 5GB of memory, a hashrate of 500Mh/s, and a power consumption of 860W.
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