@Tracy encouraged me to start a thread and share some mining knowledge.
About me: I’m an ex sysadmin converted full-time miner/crypto trader. Crypto mining has been a passion project of mine for years and I’ve been doing it full time for about 6 months now. I’ve done my homework on mining and am more than happy to be corrected/updated.
Ok, so, mining in 2017.
In my opinion, CPU mining is done. While some currencies (namely Monero) can be mined for a profit with a CPU, the power/cost ratio doesn’t make sense to me. The heat expenditure and wear on your equipment doesn’t seem worth it at all.
GPU mining. AMD has been (for now) dethroned as the best. NVIDIA 1070’s and 1080ti’s are the fastest mining cards on the market for many currencies (always note, each card performs a little differently per currency, unique “profit niches” are not uncommon so do your homework.) The new AMD VEGA 64 is rumored to be the new king of all cards but I haven’t seen proof yet. NVIDIA is releasing the P106 which is a mining specific 1060. The ROI on these things is going to be INSANE.
These have killed mining markets for many currencies and for others (I think bitcoin is the only example of this) they have guaranteed the long term viability and success. What is an ASIC? They are cards that can mine a specific algorithm or sets of algorithms far faster than anything else. They’re purpose built but they cannot be reconfigured. A Bitcoin ASIC can only mine coins that use that algorithm. They are completely useless for mining say, Ethereum.
ASIC’s are very very powerful but also, the market is quite saturated. You need to have absolutely amazing power costs and low rent to significantly profit from them in most cases.
Mining in general has been on the decline of late but the market is still going strong and is very profitable. There are numerous hardware setups that you can buy that still pay for themselves in less than 6 months. Feel free to reply with any questions or tell me how wrong I am. Sorry if this is incredibly general, reply if you have a specific question!