Does CPU Mining Harm My Computer?
At Salad, we want to help our users monetize the idle power of their PCs. During our initial launch, we focused on GPU-based protocols like Ethereum and Beam. These coins could be mined reliably and provided decent profit margins for many consumer grade GPUs. However, there’s much more to a computer than its Graphics Card, and other protocols make use of varying components in your PC. Of these alternative methods, the first coming to Salad is CPU mining.
With any form of mining, the primary concern of the average miner is: will this damage my PC? While we feel we’ve answered that question adequately for GPU mining, the jury is still out on CPU mining. Luckily, many of the same principles apply across both methods, but we’ll delve into the specifics of how to mine safely with your CPU - with or without using Salad.
Overheating: The Bane Of Electrical Components
Your primary concern with almost any important piece of hardware in your PC should be overheating. It threatens expensive components like your:
- Graphical Processing Unit (GPU)
- Central Processing Unit (CPU)
- Power Supply Unit (PSU)
If any of these reach unsafe temperatures it can result in immediate failures and possibly inflict permanent damage. For those of you breaking out in a nervous sweat, take comfort in the fact that typically the worst you encounter is a blue screen or power-off. Your drivers are smart, and they’ll use whatever means necessary to protect your PC from total meltdown.
However, many CPUs don’t have extraneous drivers and aren’t necessarily getting fresh upgrades like GPUs. Which means the onus falls on you to monitor and protect the precious chip-brain of your computer. So what should you watch out for? How hot is too hot? Well, we generally recommend keeping your CPU temperature below 80°C.
There’s wiggle room both below and above that number, depending on your specific model, overclocking, and other factors. Still, it’s a good benchmark for determining whether your CPU is in troubled waters. You can check this temperature directly in BIOS for most CPUs, but you can also install programs like HWMonitor to keep an eye on it.
How To Keep Your CPU Temperature Down
Now that we know the problem, let’s explore how we can best prevent it. A lot of this may sound like common sense, but it’s vital to protecting your CPU (and PC in general) from overheating.
- Keep Other Processes/Programs To A Minimum
The more that you ask your CPU to do, the harder it will work. The harder it works, the hotter it gets. To avoid crashing your PC, whether from heat or simple overload, keep your background and simultaneous processes to a minimum while mining. Trying to watch YouTube, play games, or even browse the internet may put unnecessary pressure on your CPU and cause several issues, including severely reducing your earning rates. CPU Mining is a strictly AFK activity.
- Regularly Clean Your Computer
Both inside and out, fans and hardware alike - it all needs a good spring cleaning once in a while. Get a can of compressed air and go to town on the inside. There should be as little dust and detritus as possible. Pay special attention to the fans on the GPU and CPU, as these tend to get clogged quickly and directly cool your hottest components.
- Install Extra Cooling Systems/Components
Extra cooling is never a bad thing, so long as you pay attention to maintaining proper airflow. There’s a range of tools and components that you can use to help keep your PC nice and chilly, such as:
- PC Case Fans and Dust Filters
- Aftermarket CPU Coolers
- Give PC “Breathing Room”
- Ice Baths And Liquid Nitrogen (don’t try this at home, kids)
Any and all of these extra additions will go a long way toward keeping the CPU, among other components, in safe temperature ranges.
- Mine With Caution On Laptops
Laptops have become increasingly powerful over the years, and many of them are on par with high-performance gaming rigs. However, there’s one disadvantage a laptop can never overcome: a lack of space. In order to be a laptop, there’s a certain economy of size that must be reached. This means all your important, really hot components are shoved right next to one another. Furthermore, less room means less space for fans and other cooling.
Laptops already tend to run hot, and using them for mining can be risky unless you live in the Arctic or keep a close eye on its internal temps. If you’re using a laptop to mine, take extreme caution and ensure proper cooling as best you can.