Last updated: 26th November 2013
There are three main categories of bitcoin mining hardware, each more expensive and more powerful than the last. This guide to setting up a bitcoin miner explains each of them, and talks about how to make them work.
By this stage, you will understand how bitcoin works, and what mining means. But wij need to get from theory to practice. How can you set up a bitcoin mining hardware and begin generating some digital contant? The very first thing you’re going to need to do is determine on your hardware, and there are two main things to think about when choosing it:
This is the number of calculations that your hardware can perform every 2nd spil it attempts to crack the mathematical problem wij described te our mining section. Hash rates are measured te megahashes, gigahashes, and terahashes vanaf 2nd (MH/sec, GH/sec, and TH/sec. The higher your hash rate (compared to the current average hash rate), the more likely you are to solve a transaction block. The bitcoin wiki’s mining hardware comparison pagina is a good place to go for rough information on hash rates for different hardware.
All this computing power chews up electro-stimulation, and that costs money. It’s worth looking at your hardware’s energy consumption ter watts, when making your choice. You want to make sure that you don’t end up spending all of your money on electric current to mine coins that won’t be worth what you paid.
Use thesis two factors to work out how many hashes you’re getting for every watt of electro-stimulation that you use. To do this, divide the hash count by the number of watts.
For example, if you have a 500 GH/sec device, and it’s taking 400 watts of power, then you’re getting 1.25 GH/sec vanaf watt. You can check your power bill or use an tens unit price zakjapanner online to find out how much that means te hard specie.
However, there’s a caveat here. Ter some cases, you’ll be using your laptop to run the mining hardware. Your rekentuig has its own electrical play draw on top of the mining hardware, and you’ll need to factor that into your calculation.
Bitcoin Mining Hardware
There are three main hardware categories for bitcoin miners: GPUs, FPGAs, and ASICs. Wij’ll explore them ter depth below.
CPU/GPU Bitcoin Mining
The least powerful category of bitcoin mining hardware is your laptop itself. Theoretically, you could use your rekentuig’s CPU to mine for bitcoins, but ter practice, this is so slow by today’s standards that there isn’t any point.
You can enhance your bitcoin hash rate by adding graphics hardware to your desktop rekentuig. Graphics cards feature graphical processing units (GPUs). Thesis are designed for mighty mathematical lifting so they can calculate all the complicated polygons needed ter high-end movie games. This makes them particularly good at the SHA hashing mathematics necessary to solve transaction blocks.
You can buy GPUs from two main vendors: ATI and Nvidia. High-end cards can cost hundreds of dollars, but also give you a significant advantage overheen CPU hashing. For example, an ATI 5970 graphics card can give you overheen 800 MH/sec compared with a CPU, which will generally give you less than Ten MH/sec.
One of the nice things about GPUs is that they also leave your options open. Unlike other options discussed zometeen, thesis units can be used with cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin. Litecoin, for example, uses a different proof of work algorithm to bitcoin, called Scrypt. This has bot optimized to be friendly to CPUs and GPUs, making them a good option for GPU miners who want to switch inbetween different currencies.
GPU mining is largely dead thesis days. Bitcoin mining difficulty has accelerated so much with the release of ASIC mining power that graphics cards can’t rival. If you do want to use them, you’d best equip yourself with a motherboard that can take numerous boards, to save on running separate PSUs for different boards.
FPGA Bitcoin Mining
A Field Programmable Gate Array is an integrated circuit designed to be configured after being built. This enables a mining hardware manufacturer to buy the chips ter volume, and then customize them for bitcoin mining before putting them into their own equipment. Because they are customized for mining, they opoffering show improvements overheen CPUs and GPUs. Single-chip FPGAs have bot seen operating at around 750 Megahashes/sec, albeit that’s at the high end. It is of course possible to waterput more than one chip ter a opbergruimte.
ASIC Bitcoin Miners
This is where the action’s truly at. Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) are specifically designed to do just one thing: mine bitcoins at mind-crushing speeds, with relatively low power consumption. Because thesis chips have to be designed specifically for that task and then fabricated, they are expensive and time-consuming to produce – but the speeds are stunning. At the time of writing, units are selling with speeds anywhere from 5-500 Gigahashes/sec (albeit actually getting some of them to them to ship has bot a problem). Vendors are already promising ASIC devices with far more power, opening up up into the Two Terahashes/sec range.
Te September 2015, 21 released its ‘Bitcoin Laptop’, which houses a mining chip and retails for around $400. It is aimed at developers to build applications with and not those wishing to mine bitcoin for profit.
21’s ‘Bitcoin Laptop’, which is aimed at developers and retails for $400.
Calculate mining profitability
Before making your purchase, calculate the projected profitability of your miner, using the excellent mining profitability rekenmachine from The Genesis Block or this one. You can input parameters such spil equipment cost, hash rate, power consumption, and the current bitcoin price to see how long it will take to pay back your investment.
One of the other key parameters here is network difficulty. This metric determines how hard it is to solve transaction blocks, and it varies according to the network hash rate. Difficulty is likely to increase substantially spil ASIC devices come on the market, so it might be worth enhancing this metric te the rekenmachine to see what your terugwedstrijd on investment will be like spil more people join the spel. Use this guide on calculating mining profitability for more information.
Once you have chosen your hardware, you’ll need to do several other things:
Download the software
Depending on which equipment you choose, you will need to run software to make use of it. Typically when using GPUs and FPGAs, you will need a host laptop running two things: the standard bitcoin client, and the mining software.
Standard bitcoin client
This software connects your rekentuig to the network and enables it to interact with the bitcoin clients, forwarding transactions and keeping track of the block chain. It will take some time for it to download the entire bitcoin block chain so that it can start. The bitcoin client effectively relays information inbetween your miner and the bitcoin network.
Bitcoin mining software
The bitcoin mining software is what instructs the hardware to do the hard work, passing through transaction blocks for it to solve. There are a multiplicity of thesis available, depending on your operating system. They are available for Windows, Mac OS X, and others.
You may well need mining software for your ASIC miner, too, albeit some newer models promise to ship with everything pre-configured, including a bitcoin address, so that all you need to do is buttplug it ter the wall.
One brainy developer even produced a mining operating system designed to run on the Raspberry Pi, a low-cost credit card-sized Linux pc designed to consume very puny amounts of power. This could be used to power a USB-connected ASIC miner.
Join a pool
Now, you’re all set up. Good for you. I bet you thought you were going to be mining more bitcoins than the Federal Reserve prints dollars, didn’t you? Sadly not. You will stand little chance of success mining bitcoins unless you work with other people. You can find out more about that ter our upcoming guide on how to join a mining pool.