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Best mining CPU for 2021: the best processors for mining cryptocurrency

Included in this guide:

The installation of a CPU
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Pawarun Chitchirachan)

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If you're on the hunt for the best mining CPU for your next rig, you've come to the right palce, but there are a few things you'll need to keep in mind.

With the recent resurgence of Bitcoin, competition among cryptocurrency miners is at an all-time high. The result is that mining rigs and components remain in short supply, made worse by the current semiconductor shortage, so options are limited.

New miners should also keep in mind that most cryptocurrency mining is dependent on the GPU for the bulk of the processing power. However, there are some protocols that can take advantage of the modern processing power of a CPU; altcoins such as Bytecoin and Zcash are better suited to CPU mining than the more standard coins, such as Bitcoin or Ether.

With that in mind, for hardcore miners and dedicated enthusiasts, it may yet be worth investing in hardware for cryptocurrency mining. Combine the best mining CPU, best mining GPU and best mining motherboard, and choose the best cryptocurrency for your needs, and you could soon be earning enough to start paying off your hardware.

Just bear in mind that mining profitability is affected by a range of factors, from the cost of hardware, the price of energy and value of cryptocurrencies themselves, so there's no guarantee you'll turn a profit.

The best mining processors

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X

Threadripper 3970X's huge huge L3 cache makes it an incredible mining CPU. (Image credit: AMD)

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X

The absolute best mining CPU

Specifications
Cores: 32
Threads: 64
Base clock: 3.7GHz
Boost clock: 4.5GHz
Total cache: 144MB
TDP: 280W
Reasons to buy
+The ultimate mega-tasking+Easy to install
Reasons to avoid
-Quite power-hungry-Expensive

Having a 32 core, 64 thread processor for mining provides you a huge advantage, but most of all, the Threadripper 3970X's dump truck sized 144MB of cache makes it an incredible mining CPU for many cryptocurrencies. It's uber expensive, sure, but put it to work with its 19.9 kh/s according to Hashrates, and you could soon pay off the initial outlay for this fantastic processor. Plus, if ever you tire of mining, you'll still end up with one heck of a processor!

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X gives you an 16 core, 32 thread processor with 64MB of L3 cache. (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

Another brilliant mining CPU from AMD

Specifications
Cores: 16
Threads: 32
Base clock: 3.5GHz
Boost clock: 4.7GHz
L3 cache: 64MB
TDP: 105W
Reasons to buy
+Stunning multi-core performance+Uses AM4 socket
Reasons to avoid
-Reports of additional cooling needs-High price

AMD's Ryzen line of processors has been a huge hit since its release, and these fantastic chips are also some of the best mining CPUs money can buy. The AMD Ryzen 9 3950X is a case in point: for a very compelling price you get a 16 core, 32 thread processor with 64MB of L3 cache. According to Hashrates, all of this multicore goodness translates to a more than respectable hashrate of 13.4 kh/s.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

Intel Pentium Gold G-6400

Intel Pentium Gold G-6400 is an excellent CPU for running a low-cost mining PC. (Image credit: Amazon)

Intel Pentium Gold G-6400

A great CPU for maximising mining profit

Specifications
Cores: 2
Threads: 4
Base clock: 4GHz
Boost clock: N/A
Intel Smart Cache: 4MB
TDP: 54W
Reasons to buy
+Cheap to buy+Cheap to run
Reasons to avoid
-Not a powerful CPU-Limited cores and threads

While the processors we've mentioned above are great CPUs for mining in their own right, the Intel Pentium Gold G-6400 Desktop Processor is an excellent CPU for running a low-cost mining PC. This is because the initial outlay is low, and it's not a power-hungry CPU to run, so you won't rack up huge energy bills. By keeping to a low-cost mining CPU like the Intel Pentium Gold G-6400, you'll soon pay off the expenses and turn a profit quickly with its 1268.88 H/s hashrate according to BetterHash.  

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

The Ryzen 5 3600X remains an economical choice that offers performance and value. (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

Six cores for less than the price of four-core chip

Specifications
Cores: 6
Threads: 12
Base clock: 3.8GHz
Boost clock: 4.4GHz
L3 cache: 32MB
TDP: 95W
Reasons to buy
+Awesome multi-core performance+Cool running chip+Includes Wraith cooler
Reasons to avoid
-Tricky overclocking

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that with its mid-range chip, AMD offers more cores for less money when compared to Intel. While in year’s past this has equated to making compromises in other areas to keep the costs low, the Ryzen 5 3600X remains economical while offering solid performance. It makes it a strong choice for a mining CPU with a hashrate of 5.58 kh/s according to Hashrates.com.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X

The AMD Threadripper 3960X is a worthy processor for mining. (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X

Another great Threadripper choice

Specifications
Cores: 24
Threads: 48
Base clock: 3.8GHz
Boost clock: 4.5GHz
L3 cache: 128MB
TDP: 280W
Reasons to buy
+Cheaper than 3970X+Almost as good mining performance
Reasons to avoid
-Still pricey

While the Threadripper 3970X is our pick of the best mining CPU, its little brother, the Threadripper 3960X is a worthy processor for mining as well, as it has the same amount of L3 cache. Despite being quite a bit cheaper, and having less cores and threads, the 3960X produces most of the hash rate as the more expensive 1970X. In some ways, the 3960X is a wiser investment for those looking for the best bang for the buck.

Intel Core i9-10900X

Intel Core i9-10900X is a powerful processor for driving mining rigs. (Image credit: Amazon)

Intel Core i9-10900X

A great all-round mining CPU

Specifications
Cores: 10
Threads: 20
Base clock: 3.7GHz
Boost clock: 4.5GHz
L3 cache: 19.25MB
TDP: 165W
Reasons to buy
+Easy to overclock+Supports Intel Optane Memory
Reasons to avoid
-Requires discrete graphics

The Intel Core i9-10900X is an unlocked, overclockable deca-core processor from Intel, which makes it a great all-round CPU, and it's nice for mining as well. It won't bring the kind of impressive hash rates the Threadrippers of this world will, but it is a powerful processor for driving mining rigs that can do 5.48 kh/s according to Hashrates, and has good compatibility with some of the best mining motherboards on the market as well.

Intel Celeron G5905

Intel Celeron G5905 is a great mining CPU for miners who are budget conscious. (Image credit: Amazon)

Intel Celeron G5905

Another great budget choice

Specifications
Cores: 2
Threads: 2
Base clock: 3.5GHz
L3 cache: 4MB
TDP: 58W
Reasons to buy
+Affordable price
Reasons to avoid
-No Hyperthreading

This is another great mining CPU for miners who are budget conscious and want a quick return on any hardware investments they make. You'll need to temper your expectations with what you want to get out of mining with a machine powered by an Intel Celeron G5905, but you'll find a solid performer that lets the GPUs do their jobs well. 

AMD Ryzen 3 3100

AMD Ryzen 3 3100 boasts four cores. (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 3 3100

Welcome to the circus of value

Specifications
Cores: 4
Threads: 4
Base clock: 3.6GHz
Boost clock: 3.9GHz
L3 cache: 16MB
TDP: 65W
Reasons to buy
+Includes Wraith cooler+More cores than most budget CPUs
Reasons to avoid
-Lagging benchmark scores

If you're looking for a budget mining CPU from AMD, then the Ryzen 3 3100 is a brilliant choice, offering four cores compared to Intel's dual core budget CPUs of this price range, and a decent amount of L3 cache as well that gives it a Hashrate of 3063.00 H/s according to Betterhash. One of the best things about Ryzen 3 chips is that in the future you could swap it out for a more powerful Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 chip, so this could be the ideal CPU for people taking a tentative first step into the world of cryptocurrency mining.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 3 3100