Bitcoin, heard about it, read about it, what’s next? What fuels the Bitcoin network is something that is very crucial to consider and that would be mining of the Bitcoin. Find yourself a seat because this will be a long read!
What is Mining?
Now, Bitcoin is not a rare earth metal but a decentralized ledger where the transactions are recorded on a peer-to-peer network, in order to verify the transactions that are floating in the network, a miner has to validate the transactions occurring. A miner would have to solve a cryptographic problem in order to validate the transactions in the block, when the transactions are validated they are added to the next block in the Blockchain, this process is known as mining or Proof-of-Work.
While mining any coin, we solve the cryptographic problem through hash, a hash is a cryptographic function which solves the encrypted problems set by the Bitcoin network for validating the transactions, the number of hash functions successfully run in order to validate the transaction is counted per second, therefore the metrics or the measurement the mining process is calculated as Hash/sec. Approximately 35,121,339 TH/s (TeraHash/sec) of hashing power is required in order to solve a block on this day. TH/s is the measurement scale used to calculate the rate at which Bitcoin is mined, which keeps on increasing or decreasing according to the difficulty in the network.
The estimated number of tera hashes per second (trillions of hashes per second) the Bitcoin network is performing. Image Source: blockchain.info
Now, pushing your mining equipment to outperform than the normal standards is pretty common, where the CPU, GPU and ASIC chipsets (here referred to mining cards) have hyper-threads, extra cores and often overclocked to get the best results for your investment.
We will simplify it!
Hyper-Threading refers to the additional computing power or how much the processor can overclock (perform better than normal conditions), this feature is mainly found in the processors of your CPU which allows processor to run more tasks in lesser time than normal, similarly take the extra cores as a space where a particular task can be performed and it has to be in order and would get a time-share within which the activity has to be completed, the cores would provide better allocation of tasks, meaning providing better time-share for each and every activity and distributing the task to the remaining cores
If you have a PC or a laptop which you have never overclocked (pushed its limit in terms of computing power), you can still mine some other coins that do not require an external GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) to mine, however you won’t be mining Bitcoin as it is unlikely that you will make any profits with the current difficulty level.
We will talk about which hardware, the software you would need, where you can check your profitability for the investment you make in mining and suggest you some coins that would be profitable for you. We will be making a beginners guide for the investment.
For the mining rig you would need:
Power Supply Unit (PSU)
A Power Supply Unit (PSU) is the device that would power up your mining rig through electricity
A Motherboard is a device that integrates all the components and connects them together, you can think of it as a platform where all the other components of the mining rig are assembled in order to run.
A power cable will power all the components of the mining rig.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
RAM is a memory device that provides virtual space for the applications, RAM stores data and machine codes that are running in the system currently.
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
A CPU is a circuit that carries the instruction from all the parts of the computer and then processes all the arithmetical, logical and control activities, for example, if you run Facebook on your PC you give an input to run Facebook and that request is being processed by the CPU to give you the output, where your application running is the output.
Heat Sink Fan
Heat Sink Fan moderates the temperature, mining rigs heats up very quickly due to the graphics card running continuously, the heatsink fans cool down the temperature of the rig.
PCI Express (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) Risers
PCI Express (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) Risers are used to connect the GPU cards to the motherboard, but if you are going for GPU mining you won’t need this.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
GPU is the most important part of the mining rig in case of GPU mining these cards provide the extra computing power that the processor alone cannot provide. GPU is optional for CPU mining as if you are going for CPU mining you won’t need GPU, ASIC or FPGA cards if you add these cards to your mining rig apart from CPU, it will give you extra computing power but then the configuration of the rig changes, so think about your requirement before you add any of the components.
Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC)
ASIC is an integrated circuit customized for a specific task rather than solving general purpose tasks, performing repeated functions without any lag( performance error), AntMinerS7 and S9 and Avalon 6 are some of the examples of rigs available online for ASIC Mining.
Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)
Field-Programmable Gate Array is an integrated circuit which also provides extra computing power to the main processor, FPGA is also customized for specific functions which are field-programmable, you don’t need to know what field-programmable in order to do mining, but still if you want to know!!
If you mined Bitcoin in the early stage, it is believed that you would have easily mined 100 Bitcoins a day with your laptop or PC. But with more people joining the network the difficulty of the network keeps on. The hardware that you would need for CPU mining. We are taking Monero here as an example for the CPU mining, here is an Intel Xeon E5-2650 v1 that is being used for the mining. Click here to choose a CPU for mining.
Intel Xeon E5-2650 v1 processor used for CPU Mining
Image Source: cryptomining-blog.com
Currently, it seems that the only worthwhile CPU-based algorithm to check is the CryptoNight and using the what seems to be the fastest CPU software available at the moment – the XMR-Stak CPU Miner for Monero (XMR). ImageSource: cryptomining-blog.com
Here is a statement from Cryptomining-blog.com where they have mined Monero from the Intel Xeon E5-2650 v1 for CPU Mining.
“Running the XMR-Stak miner on all 32 logical cores has managed to get us an average hashrate of about 523 HS (hashes per second). The result may not seem that bad for CPU mining, considering that it is a bit slower than a single high-end GPU and the power used by the system is about 150 Watts, so again similar to a more recent higher-end GPU.”(cryptomining-blog.com)
We need to run the numbers through an XMR mining calculator and doing just that on Cryptocompare shows that we are actually going to be mining with profit, but the profit isn’t going to be that much. ImageSource: cryptomining-blog.com
With the current rate it would take a couple of years just to earn back what we have paid for the hardware itself. Not very interesting to CPU mine with such a system, but this is just at the moment, with some new and interesting developments for coins that are only CPU mineable appearing things might look very different… especially if you get a couple of these dual CPU systems to have handy. For the moment however you might want to check them out if you have some other computational needs than crypto mining as the price they can be acquired for is really attractive and again they are still pretty powerful as far as CPU performance goes. (cryptomining-blog.com)
If you want to mine Monero here is a link to join a mining pool and start mining Monero.
Some of the coins other than Monero that you can still mine on your CPU are:
- Aeon (cryptonight-light) xmrig: 1900 H/s
- Intensecoin (cryptonight) xmrig-Nvidia: 500 H/s
- Credits (Aragon2d) in wallet miner: 45 kH/s
- Yenten (YescryptR16): 1030 H/s
Check for these coins whether they are still profitable or not. We will leave you a thread here for more information.
Now GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is a processing unit, which has got more computational power as compared to the CPU, GPU’s are mostly used for carrying out tasks which are quite heavy and cannot be processed with a CPU alone like, 3D video editing, live video rendering, scientific experiments, live 3D modelling etc. GPUs are optimized for taking huge batches of data and performing the same operation over and over very quickly, unlike PC microprocessors, which tend to skip all over the place.
GPU cards are more efficient and more powerful, GPU cards can be overclocked, meaning it can outperform than its normal capacity and can be pushed for better performance. GPU cards are not as powerful as the ASIC’s, but the GPU’s are more flexible in their operation,
A Nvidia GTX 1080 ti, which is often used in the GPU mining of the tokens and currencies that are compatible with the GPU processing. Image Source: www.nvidia.in
Here is a list of GPU’s that you can go for GPU mining
Ethereum, Monero, Electroneum, Go Byte, MetaVerse, Musicoin and many other coins can be mined with GPU. Some other coins you can mine with your GPU are here.
ASIC(Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) it’s a microchip specifically designed to execute a hashing algorithm as quickly as possible, a Bitcoin ASIC can calculate hashes 100,000 times faster than even the best CPU. These circuits are the most powerful computing chips available for mining as they are custom build for a single hash algorithm, the demerit of this is, you have to get different ASIC’s for different currencies or tokens that you would mine.
On the left is a Rockminer T1 800 Gh/s an ASIC chip and on the right is Bi.Fury 5 GH/s USB miner another ASIC chip, these are the most powerful mining card available in the market, but their compatible for mining every coin. Image Source: CCN.com and cryptostore.io respectively
Currently, there are several companies, such as Bitmain and Canaan, that design ASICs. Due to their custom nature and niche application, a powerful ASIC isn’t cheap. For high-end hash power, a single ASIC could run you $3000.
Nicehash-X11, Paccoin, Monoeci(XMCC), Universal(UNIT), Peercoin(PPC), Dash(DASH) are some of the coins you can mine through the GPU’s. Here is a list of all the coins that you can mine with GPU.
As we discussed Field-Programmable Gate Array is an integrated circuit which also provides extra computing power to the main processor, FPGA cards are now the best equipment with the best results in terms of performance but the use of FPGA cards has not been commercially seen on a large scale, you can say it is still in the development stage.
On the left is a New Wave DV V5031 Quad-Port PCI Express FPGA card and on the right is Milan_fb1CG@V7580 FPGA Image Source:newwavedv.com and www.silicom.dk respectively.
Here are some articles on FPGA Mining for more information.
Hope we could cover everything about mining! If you have any query regarding the article, any doubt regarding mining or if you are stuck in any process, feel free to reach us. Kudos!
Image Courtesy for featured image: sgcoinmart.com
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