Review: NVIDIA P104-100 GPU Mining Card
(Review 2020 Updated!)
It's like a unicorn in the mining world, so it's pretty unreal for us to have our hands on a number of these powerful mining-optimized GPUs
Incredible hash rate
Loves to be overclocked
Small form factor
Excellent power efficiency
Updated 2nd January 2020
Did we say this is a unicorn?
No display output
Finicky driver setup
What is the P104-100 GPU Mining Card from Nvidia?
2017 has been a great year for miners. With Bitcoin, Ethereum and other altcoin prices shooting through the roof, many folks have jumped on board the mining bandwagon. It is not uncommon to hear stories where a miner gets a 2 or 3 month ROI on his equipment investment. As a result of the popularity of mining, NVIDIA quietly released a series of products dedicated to delivering the best mining performance.
P104-100 is effectively a 1080 with an optimized BIOS for mining operations. It uses the same 1080 Pascal GPU with 1920 CUDA cores. However, NVIDIA has decided to remove the display output function, meaning this "graphics card" is more like a dedicated mining accelerator card. This card has no HDMI or DVI or any output whatsoever.
The key word here is GDDR5X. If you are mining Ethereum, the memory bandwidth largely determines the mining performance of your graphics card. P104-100 uses 4GB GDDR5X memory clocked at 10010MHz (default). The memory has a 256-bit bus. The high clock rate combined with a wide bus means the GDDR5X memory can deliver a high bandwidth, perfect for the memory-intensive Ethash D.A.G. algorithm.
What does the P104-100 card look like?
The P104-100 GPU mining card vs MSI 1070 Armor size comparison
The P104-100 GPU mining card is surprisingly small compared to many modern day GPUs. This means it's easier for you to build your mining rig. It's also easier to deal with the rig cooling because you've got all these extra cooling space. If you think cooling is a problem right now, wait til it's summer in six months. You will have a real big problem by then.
Nevertheless, every single P104-100 card we have tested runs surprisingly cool. Even at full hash power, we rarely see any card going above 60'C. On the other hand, it's pretty common for overclocked GeForce GTX 1070 or Radeon RX580 to shoot pass 70'C.
The P104-100 GPU mining card running as part of a bigger GTX 1070 rig
Performance Test Set-up
NVIDIA P104-100 GPU Mining Accelerator Card
Biostar TB250-BTC PRO
Intel Celeron G3900 Processor
128GB SSD Hard Drive
7 x MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Armor (For comparison)
Corsair TX850M x 2
Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS
NVIDIA Linux Driver Version 387.34
Claymore V10.0 miner (single-mining ETH)
What is the performance of the NVIDIA P104-100 Mining Accelerator Card?
This card is designed for performance. Period. At default factory settings before any optimization and overclocking, we are getting 34 - 35MH/s single-mining ETH using Claymore V10.0 in Ubuntu. This is a huge 35% boost compare to a run-of-the-mill GeForce GTX 1070 performance, which is around 26MH/s at default factory settings.
The P104-100 GPU mining card getting 35MH/s at default factory settings
Overclocked & Optimized - 40MH/s performance
We followed the instructions from our trusted manufacturer and flashed an optimized BIOS designed for mining memory-intensive algorithms such as Ethash. The BIOS runs a set of new memory timings that suits this particular model's GDDR5X 4GB memory chips.
After the BIOS flash, we started a new round of overclocking to test the limits of the P104-100 card. We found out the card can run very stable at -200MHz core frequency with +1600MHz memory frequency using nvidia-settings in Linux. At the same time, we discover the power usage of each card can be capped at 135W. Achieving 40MH/s at 135W is an amazing performance with incredible power efficiency.
Overclocked & Optimized
We have 9 P104-100 running in a stable formation at 40MH/s each for ETH mining. Power is capped at 135W per card.
2020 Update - Long-term Usage Summary
Having used the Nvidia P104-100 4GB mining card for nearly 2 years, our mining operations have been going smoothly. The P104 card is no doubt the king of Ethereum and altcoin mining. The card runs cool and generates incredible hashrate at reasonable power consumption. In the past two years of mining, we have had approximately 1% of the mining cards going bad. Half of the failures have to do with cooling fan problems. The stability and durability of Nvidia P104-100 is truly impressive.
[Long term usability update posted - 2nd Jan 2020]
Related full product reviews (2019 UPDATED)
You may also be interested in reading our full review of:
355MH/s for 9 x P104-100 mining system. Each card is running at 40MH/s