Join our study and help us improve the website by clicking here. There are three main bitcoin mining hardware explain thesaurus 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 we need to get from theory to practice. How can you set up a bitcoin mining hardware and start generating some digital cash? Hash rate This is the number of calculations that your hardware can perform every second as it tries to crack the mathematical problem we described in our mining section. Use these two factors to work out how many hashes you’re getting for every watt of electricity that you use.
To do this, divide the hash count by the number of watts. 400 watts of power, then you’re getting 1. You can check your power bill or use an electricity price calculator online to find out how much that means in hard cash. In some cases, you’ll be using your computer to run the mining hardware. Your computer has its own electricity 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.
We’ll explore them in depth below. GPU Bitcoin Mining The least powerful category of bitcoin mining hardware is your computer itself. Theoretically, you could use your computer’s CPU to mine for bitcoins, but in 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 computer. These are designed for heavy mathematical lifting so they can calculate all the complex polygons needed in high-end video 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 over CPU hashing. One of the nice things about GPUs is that they also leave your options open. Unlike other options discussed later, these units can be used with cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin. Litecoin, for example, uses a different proof of work algorithm to bitcoin, called Scrypt. GPU mining is largely dead these days. Bitcoin mining difficulty has accelerated so much with the release of ASIC mining power that graphics cards can’t compete.
If you do want to use them, you’d best equip yourself with a motherboard that can take multiple 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 in volume, and then customize them for bitcoin mining before putting them into their own equipment. Because they are customized for mining, they offer performance improvements over CPUs and GPUs. ASIC Bitcoin Miners This is where the action’s really at. Because these 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. 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 as ASIC devices come on the market, so it might be worth increasing this metric in the calculator to see what your return on investment will be like as more people join the game. 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 computer running two things: the standard bitcoin client, and the mining software. Standard bitcoin client This software connects your computer 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 begin.
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 variety of these 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, although some newer models promise to ship with everything pre-configured, including a bitcoin address, so that all you need to do is plug it in the wall. One smart developer even produced a mining operating system designed to run on the Raspberry Pi, a low-cost credit card-sized Linux computer designed to consume very small amounts of power. This could be used to power a USB-connected ASIC miner. Join a pool Now, you’re all set up.
I bet you thought you were going to be mining more bitcoins than the Federal Reserve prints dollars, didn’t you? You will stand little chance of success mining bitcoins unless you work with other people. Next: What are Bitcoin Mining Pools? What Can You Buy with Bitcoin? What are pools how and how to join them? How Does Cloud Mining Bitcoin Work?