Gaming laptops with the latest generation of mobile graphics cards from Nvidia in the form of their RTX 30 Series Laptop GPUs are popping on the market and apparently people are not only interested in playing games on them, but also using them for crypto mining. And similar to their desktop counterparts in the GeForce RTX 30 Series product line, the mobile versions of these graphics chips used in gaming laptops does manage to give you very good hashrates for mining Ethereum. The mobile GPU product line consists of the following models: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU for the moment. Although the names are like on the desktop variants of these video cards, the mobile ones have a clarifying “Laptop GPU” after the product name, because it is not the same specs graphics processor or even video memory as used on the desktop cards.
So, while the RTX 30 Series Laptop GPUs should still do pretty well for Ethereum mining and probably other crypto coins that use different algorithm than Ethash, you should not expect them to be as fast as their desktop versions. We have just tested mining Ethereum with RTX 3070 Laptop GPU on a Gaming Notebook using the MSI GS66 Stealth 10UG 15.6-inch gaming notebook and shared some interesting insight about the mobile RTX 30-series GPUs in it, but there is more to talk about in a separate article and we are doing it here.
On the image above you can see the specifications of a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU and on the right form Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Desktop GPU. While these two are similar, they are not the same GPU specs wise and we are not talking about operating frequencies only. The Laptop GPU model has less CUDA Cores compared to the Desktop GPU and is also clocked much lower in terms of operating frequencies for both the graphics processor and for the memory. The video memory used is GDDR6 on both GPUs, but the mobile version has the memory running at lower frequency as compared to the desktop variant, just like the with the GPU. The more important thing here is that the memory bus is also the same 256-bit on both as memory-intensive crypto algorithms like Ethash do take advantage from a wider memory bus.
The lower operating frequencies are used in order to significantly reduce the power usage of the RTX 3070 Laptop GPU that uses between 80W and 95W in the gaming laptop we tested it on. Notebook manufacturers however have a wide range of GPU power usage to play with and thus operating frequencies from model to model may vary and performance can also be lower or higher. So, a larger 17-inch gaming laptop can allow for better cooling and thus the GPU can have a higher TGP rating and use more power than on a 15.6-inch model and that could result in a bit of extra performance boost.
What you should pay attention to here is that all of the RTX 30 series Laptop GPUs from Nvidia are using GDDR6 memory, there is no GDDR6X or a memory bus that is wider than 256-bit, even on the RTX 3080 Laptop GPU! There is also no RTX 3060 Ti mobile version, but a plain RTX 3060 Laptop GPU based on the upcoming RTX 3060 desktop counterparts at the end of this month. The RTX 3060 Laptop GPU comes with further reduced memory bus at just 192-bit, so that will mean lower Ethereum mining hashrate compared to the RTX 3070 Laptop GPU that uses the same GDDR6 memory, but comes with a 256-bit memory bus. The lower number of CUDA cores will not make a difference in terms of ETH mining hashrate, because the GPU has more than enough performance as far as Ethereum mining is concerned… even at the lowered clocks that the mobile GPUs have.
The biggest looser here is probably the RTX 3080 Laptop GPU that comes with GDDR6, instead of the GDDR6X video memory on the desktop version, and has just a 256-bit memory bus instead of the 320-bit for the desktop. This and with the lower clocks mean significantly reduced Ethereum hashrate and nowhere near what we’ve seen on the desktop RTX 3080 GPU that is probably the best in terms of price/performance (if you manage to get your hands on one at all) for ETH mining. With these specs the RTX 3080 Laptop GPU will perform more like what a desktop RTX 3070 GPU is capable of delivering as mining hashrate for Ethereum and not like what a “real” RTX 3080 video card does. With all that said, if you are going for a gaming laptop and plan on using it for crypto mining Ethereum (ETH) your best bet will most likely be the mid-range GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU, both in terms of price and in terms of performance.
How about the mining performance that each of the Nvidia GeForcve RTX 30 Series Laptop GPUs should be capable of delivering for Ethereum in terms of hashrate? Well, although things may vary a bit from laptop to laptop because of the variable power usage configured and the respective operating frequencies the numbers below should give you a good idea on what to expect from these Laptop GPUs as far as ETH mining is concerned. If used for GPU-intensive crypto algorithm, the mining performance will not be that much dependant on the video memory type, bus and frequency, but will also depend on the GPU’s number of CUDA cores and operating frequency as well and things may be different there. Here however the focus is Ethereum mining and the hashrate you get from these mobile graphics adapters found in the latest wave of gaming laptops that are just starting to become available on the market. We are using the latest PhoenixMiner AMD and Nvidia GPU mining software for our Ethereum performance tests and it has proven to work very well with the RTX Laptop GPUs as well as with their desktop counterparts in our experience.
The above hashrates are for GPUs in gaming notebooks with VRAM at 1500 MHz default for the RTX 3060 Laptop GPU and RTX 3070 Laptop GPU and 1750 MHz for the RTX 3080 Laptop GPU. The optimized hashtrates are for overclocked video memory with +650 MHz in MSI Afterburner as this seems to be the sweet spot for mobile GPUs from the RTX 30 series, unlike +1100 MHz that seems to be the sweet spot for RTX 30 series desktop GPUs. the RTX 30 Series Laptop GPUs simply cannot seem to do as good as their desktop counterparts with +700 MHz or higher overclock, they just start to freeze, so the optimized mining hashrate is not that much higher with them as on the desktop versions.
Still, a good deal of extra performance with the same power consumption as it is already pretty well optimized for the laptop and you cannot easily try to change it other than maybe flashing a different video BIOS, though this is not something that we would recommend as it can cause you problems including with properly starting up the laptop. There are some people that report successfully flashing video BIOSes from other gaming laptops with higher power limit and higher clocks, but although that may be helpful for gaming purposes, it will most likely not give you advantage for mining Ethereum. What might be more beneficial is if you manage to successfully flash a video BIOS for the same GPU model, but with lower power limit. This may help you get better efficiency while still maintaining the same level of Ethereum mining performance and can also help keep things cooler and quieter. But then again this should be avoided as it may render your laptop unusable if it ends up not working as you expected it!