Free money? For doing nothing? Anyone with a lick of sense knows that something's up. There’s always a catch. Unfortunately, the first assumption of those same sensible people is typically “this must be a scam.” What kind of scam? Well, it could be skimming off the top of users' earnings, sending out fake or stolen rewards, or even stealing and selling people’s personal data.
We’re here to set the record straight. Salad does have a catch, but it’s nothing as unethical as those aforementioned sins. Here’s our confession:
It takes a lotta juice to run something as powerful as Salad. Running our app draws about the same energy from your PC as a high-end game. The fresh Salad Balance you make—though bountiful—comes with a variable cost that depends on your local electricity rates. You should always factor that in to your profits.
Lucky for them, lots of our users live in dorm housing or at home with a parent (whom you've definitely asked for permission to run Salad). For those of us footing the bills, we've prepared a guide to managing energy use that might help make an informed decision.
We do everything possible within the app to offset this sunk cost. Our protocols are configured to automatically mine the most profitable coin your machine can handle, increasing your return on that electricity. Plus, we don’t charge any fees or skim from our users’ Balances, meaning they get to keep more of their hard-won earnings.
While mining pools make their money primarily from service fees, we take a different approach. Instead of pilfering from your Balance, we offer redeemable rewards like games and DLC. We’ve built relationships with indie devs, publishers, and retailers to acquire most of our Salad Storefront rewards at wholesale costs.
We sell these at-cost or even lower, passing on the savings to our users. For gift cards, subscriptions, and other items we can’t buy wholesale, we include a slight markup to cover our costs and make a little profit.
Mining uses your GPU at or near its full capacity. It draws about the same power as it does to run a graphic-intensive game—except that your typical miner runs for 6–12 hours straight. The longer you run, the more electricity is needed to keep your PC Chopping.
Graphics cards require more juice to run than hard drives or RAM. They also need to use cooling fans to keep the PC chugging along within a safe temperature range, eating up further power.
Will mining cost more than just browsing the internet or editing files in Microsoft Word? Absolutely. Does it cost more than high-performance gaming? Well...technically no. But unless you’re a hardcore player gaming for ten hour stints, mining will cost more, since you'll need to run your rig for longer periods of time to generate meaningful returns.
We’ve addressed this at length in other articles. If you're after more than the TL;DR, be sure to give them a look:
Long story short: nope! Mining (when done safely) doesn’t pose any greater risk to your PC components than gaming does. Check out this video from UFD Tech, where researchers found no performance difference between a gaming GPU and one that mined for two years straight.
Unless you live somewhere like Zambia or China, where governments have enacted anti-cryptocurrency laws, your local electricity provider is not going to get upset over your mining activities. In fact, the draw won’t be significant enough for them to even notice… unless you’re hiding a supercomputer in your basement.
The good news is: yes, you can optimize your machine for more efficient power consumption. The bad news is: once your PC is built, there’s little you can do to change the electricity required beyond installing new components. The GPU needs what it needs; new drivers or undervolting won’t do much to change the amount of juice going in.
If you’re considering building a PC for mining, check out these guides on how to build a powerful but efficient machine:
Here’s a great, annually-updated list of recommended mining GPUs. In general, you'll want to pay attention to your GPU’s power consumption. AMD has models that are specifically geared for energy efficiency, while NVIDIA has traditionally focused on raw power. Plus, be sure you have a gold-rated PSU, as these are the most efficient power supplies on the consumer market.
The profitability of any given coin fluctuates a lot depending on market conditions. All coins are subject to turbulent influences, and therefore can rise or fall at the drop of a hat. Sites like WhatToMine try to help everyday miners stay ahead of the curve and anticipate the best choice for mining, but it’s hard to give any definitive answer due to such drastic variables.
If that sounds like a giant headache to keep up with, you’re both correct and in luck! Salad will manage all of this guesswork and recalculation for you, as it constantly reassesses what coin would score you the most profit and migrates your machine accordingly.
While we've covered the basics on mining profitability and electricity use, there are too many unique variables to give all-encompassing advice. To determine whether mining is worth it for you, a profitability calculator could help you gauge profits using your electricity rates and power consumption.
If you have more questions, feel free to join us on Discord. You’ll find thousands of fellow Chefs who can share experiences and tips on getting started with Salad.