How To Create Bitcoin Mining Hardware

How to Set Up a Bitcoin Miner

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 we need to get from theory to practice. How can you set up a bitcoin mining hardware and start generating some digital cash? The first thing you’re going to need to do is decide 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 second as it tries to crack the mathematical problem we described in our mining section. Hash rates are measured in megahashes, gigahashes, and terahashes per second (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 page is a good place to go for rough information on hash rates for different hardware.

Energy consumption

All this computing power chews up electricity, and that costs money. It’s worth looking at your hardware’s energy consumption in watts, when making your choice. You want to make sure that you don’t end up spending all of your money on electricity to mine coins that won’t be worth what you paid.

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.

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 per watt. You can check your power bill or use an electricity price calculator online to find out how much that means in hard cash.

However, there’s a caveat here. 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.

CPU/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. Graphics cards feature graphical processing units (GPUs). 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. For example, an ATI 5970 graphics card can give you over 800 MH/sec compared with a CPU, which will generally give you less than 10 MH/sec.

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. This has been optimized to be friendly to CPUs and GPUs, making them a good option for GPU miners who want to switch between different currencies.

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. Single-chip FPGAs have been seen operating at around 750 Megahashes/sec, although that’s at the high end. It is of course possible to put more than one chip in a box.

ASIC Bitcoin Miners

This is where the action’s really 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 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. At the time of writing, units are selling with speeds anywhere from 5-500 Gigahashes/sec (although actually getting some of them to them to ship has been a problem). Vendors are already promising ASIC devices with far more power, stretching up into the 2 Terahashes/sec range.

In September 2015, 21 released its ‘Bitcoin Computer‘, 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 Computer’, 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 calculator from The Genesis Block or this one. You can input parameters such as 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 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. 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 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. The bitcoin client effectively relays information between 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 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. 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 in our upcoming guide on how to join a mining pool.

Bitcoin Mining Software

Now that you already know about the best Bitcoin mining hardware, we’re going to talk about Bitcoin mining software.

What is Bitcoin Mining Software?

Bitcoin mining hardware handles the actual Bitcoin mining process, but:

Bitcoin mining software is equally as important.

  • If you are a solo miner: the mining software connects your Bitcoin miner to the blockchain.
  • If you mine with a pool: the software will connect you to your mining pool.
  • If you are cloud mining: you do not need mining software.

Using mining software is not the fastest way to buy bitcoins.

Importance of Bitcoin Mining Software

The main job of the software is to deliver the mining hardware’s work to the rest of the Bitcoin network and to receive the completed work from other miners on the network.

Bitcoin mining software monitors this input and output of your miner while also displaying statistics such as the speed of your miner, hashrate, fan speed and the temperature.

Bitcoin Wallets

One of the most important things you will need before using any kind of Bitcoin mining software is a wallet.

This is because all Bitcoin mining software will ask you for a Bitcoin address that will be used to send your mining rewards and payouts. Once you create or download a wallet you will be able to get a Bitcoin address from your wallet.

There are many Bitcoin wallets, but these are the ones we recommend if you are just starting out:

  • Ledger Nano S – Secure Bitcoin hardware wallet for all platforms.
  • Electrum – Simple Bitcoin wallet that works on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
  • Samourai Wallet – The most popular Bitcoin wallet on Android.
  • breadwallet – The most popular Bitcoin wallet for iOS.

If you expect to earn a lot of money through mining then it would be smart to purchase a more secure wallet: a hardware wallet.Now that we understand mining software and how it helps in the mining process, and you got your Bitcoin wallet and address, let’s look at different software on different operating systems.

Just Want an Easy Way to Mine?

Try Honey Miner. HoneyMiner allows you to start mining within just a few minutes. It will automatically mine the most profitable coin and pay you in Bitcoin (BTC). You can then trade the BTC for any other coin or trade it for cash.

Bitcoin Mining Software for Windows

Bitcoin Miner

You can use Bitcoin Miner on Windows 10 and Windows 8.1.

It has an easy to use interface, power saving mode, mining pool support and fast share submission.

One useful feature is the profit reports feature because this feature will help you know if your mining is profitable or not. The latest version of this software is Bitcoin Miner 1.27.0.

BTCMiner is an Open Source Bitcoin Miner for ZTEX USB-FPGA modules 1.5.

BTCMiner comes with the following features:

  • Dynamic frequency scaling in that BTCMiner automatically chooses the frequency with the highest rate of valid hashes
  • Ready-to-use Bitstream i.e. no Xilinx software or license required.

It also comes with supported FPGA boards which contain a USB interface used for communication and programming.

CGMiner is arguably the most famous and commonly used among Bitcoin miners at the moment.

CGMiner is based on the original code of CPU Miner.

This software has many features but the main ones include:

  • fan speed control
  • remote interface capabilities
  • self-detection of new blocks with a mini database
  • multi GPU support
  • CPU mining support

BFGMiner is more or less the same as CGMiner.

The only major difference is that it doesn’t focus on GPUs like CGMiner but instead it is designed specifically for ASICs.

Some unique features of BFGMiner include: mining with free mesa/LLVM OpenCL, ADL device reordering by PCI bus ID, integrated overclocking and fan control.

EasyMiner is GUI based and it acts as a convenient wrapper for CGMiner and BFGMiner software.

This software supports the getwork mining protocol as well as stratum mining protocol. It can also be used for both solo and pooled mining.

Among its main features is that it configures your miner and provides performance graphs for easy visualization of your mining activity.

Bitcoin Mining Software for Linux

CGMiner is arguably the most famous and commonly used among Bitcoin miners at the moment.

CGMiner is based on the original code of CPU Miner.

This software has many features but the main ones include: fan speed control, remote interface capabilities, self-detection of new blocks with a mini database, multi GPU support and CPU mining support.

BFGMiner is more or less the same as CGMiner.

The only major difference is that it doesn’t focus on GPUs like CGMiner but instead it is designed specifically for ASICs.

Some unique features of BFGMiner include: mining with free mesa/LLVM OpenCL, ADL device reordering by PCI bus ID, integrated overclocking and fan control.

EasyMiner is a GUI based software and it acts as a convenient wrapper for CGMiner and BFGMiner software.

This software supports the getwork mining protocol as well as stratum mining protocol. It can also be used for both solo and pooled mining.

Among its main features is that it configures your miner and provides performance graphs for easy visualization of your mining activity.

Bitcoin Mining Software for Mac OS X

RPC Miner can be used on Mac OS 10.6 or higher and features integration with Mac OS APIs and systems.

All of the mining software above listed for Linux and Windows also works for Mac OS X. Scroll up to learn more!

Viruses in Mining Software

Be aware that a lot of mining software may try to steal your bitcoins. Be sure to read reviews on any software you download.

Make sure you are downloading from the actual site and not a copy-cat site.

Cash Out your Coins

Once you have this setup and are mining, you may need to cash out some of your coins in order to pay off your expenses such as electricity.

For this you can use Buy Bitcoin Worldwide to find a Bitcoin exchange in your country.

Bitcoin Mining Guide – Getting started with Bitcoin mining

Bitcoin mining is difficult to do profitably but if you try then this Bitcoin miner is probably a good shot.

How Bitcoin Mining Works

Before you start mining Bitcoin, it’s useful to understand what Bitcoin mining really means. Bitcoin mining is legal and is accomplished by running SHA256 double round hash verification processes in order to validate Bitcoin transactions and provide the requisite security for the public ledger of the Bitcoin network. The speed at which you mine Bitcoins is measured in hashes per second.

The Bitcoin network compensates Bitcoin miners for their effort by releasing bitcoin to those who contribute the needed computational power. This comes in the form of both newly issued bitcoins and from the transaction fees included in the transactions val />

Step 1 – Get The Best Bitcoin Mining Hardware

Purchasing Bitcoins – In some cases, you may need to purchase mining hardware with bitcoins. Today, you can purchase most hardware on Amazon. You also may want to check the bitcoin charts.

How To Start Bitcoin Mining

To begin mining bitcoins, you’ll need to acquire bitcoin mining hardware. In the early days of bitcoin, it was possible to mine with your computer CPU or high speed video processor card. Today that’s no longer possible. Custom Bitcoin ASIC chips offer performance up to 100x the capability of older systems have come to dominate the Bitcoin mining industry.

Bitcoin mining with anything less will consume more in electricity than you are likely to earn. It’s essential to mine bitcoins with the best bitcoin mining hardware built specifically for that purpose. Several companies such as Avalon offer excellent systems built specifically for bitcoin mining.

Best Bitcoin Cloud Mining Services

Another option is to purchase in Bitcoin cloud mining contracts. This greatly simplifies the process but increases risk because you do not control the actual physical hardware.

Being listed in this section is NOT an endorsement of these services. There have been a tremendous amount of Bitcoin cloud mining scams.

Hashflare Review: Hashflare offers SHA-256 mining contracts and more profitable SHA-256 coins can be mined while automatic payouts are still in BTC. Customers must purchase at least 10 GH/s.

Genesis Mining Review: Genesis Mining is the largest Bitcoin and scrypt cloud mining provider. Genesis Mining offers three Bitcoin cloud mining plans that are reasonably priced. Zcash mining contracts are also available.

Hashing 24 Review: Hashing24 has been involved with Bitcoin mining since 2012. They have facilities in Iceland and Georgia. They use modern ASIC chips from BitFury deliver the maximum performance and efficiency possible.

Minex Review: Minex is an innovative aggregator of blockchain projects presented in an economic simulation game format. Users purchase Cloudpacks which can then be used to build an index from pre-picked sets of cloud mining farms, lotteries, casinos, real-world markets and much more.

Minergate Review: Offers both pool and merged mining and cloud mining services for Bitcoin.

Hashnest Review: Hashnest is operated by Bitmain, the producer of the Antminer line of Bitcoin miners. HashNest currently has over 600 Antminer S7s for rent. You can view the most up-to-date pricing and availability on Hashnest’s website. At the time of writing one Antminer S7’s hash rate can be rented for $1,200.

Bitcoin Cloud Mining Review: Currently all Bitcoin Cloud Mining contracts are sold out.

NiceHash Review: NiceHash is unique in that it uses an orderbook to match mining contract buyers and sellers. Check its website for up-to-date prices.

Eobot Review: Start cloud mining Bitcoin with as little as $10. Eobot claims customers can break even in 14 months.

MineOnCloud Review: MineOnCloud currently has about 35 TH/s of mining equipment for rent in the cloud. Some miners available for rent include AntMiner S4s and S5s.

Bitcoin Mining Hardware Comparison

Currently, based on (1) price per hash and (2) electrical efficiency the best Bitcoin miner options are:

How to build a Bitcoin Miner or just buy one.

Do you build a Bitcoin Miner?

Once you get hooked on Bitcoin Mining you then will be asking yourself "DO I go further and get better equipment? ". Having tried the Bitcoin mining and found it to your liking as with anything else you start thinking what else can I use, how can I improve what I have or do I go all out and build or buy a specialized miner?
Some research is warranted here to find out what it is that is will make your experience and productivity better.
If your computer is an average built computer then most likely you have a normal CPU and one video card. If you have an AMD CPU then you can improve the PC with Video cards that are better suited at mining.. These seem to be AMD based video cards and different models are better then others.
If your really smitten by the bitcoin bug then you can actually buy a specialized bitcoin miner

.Of course you will have to weigh the cost vs. the return.

Deciding on what to do.

Step 1
If your trying to not spend a lot of money and want to add to your current computer then you can look at the available video cards that will produce the most Mhash/s and Mhash/j
AMD cards are great compilers as the work well at algorithms so that means a HD 7970 would be a great card to get. However a 5970 and 6990 are also good. The 7950 comes in just under the 7970 so a few bucks can be saved there as well.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202001

A normal PC with several cards.

Step 2.
If your motherboard supports multiple video cards then you could invest in several of the previously mentioned cards and run your miner with 3 or even four cards. As long as the CPU is an AMD CPU you will be ok to keep your current setup.

Step 4.
If you really want to specialize then you can purchase a video card designed specifically for bitcoin mining.

The card hasn’t been released yet but once it is you’ll have the option of getting a video card specific for bitcoin mining.

Step 4.
For the really advanced and completely hooked there are the special built Asic mining machines, these are special built computers that are designed and built completely for bitcoin mining and while some can be inexpensive others can be costly. You would have to decide what you want to invest in mining equipment.

Step 6.
The crazies. There are those that will go all out and put together by themselves outrageously built set ups that just leave you shaking your head.



So there you have it the bitcoin mining machines and how badly are you bitten?

How to Setup a Bitcoin ASIC Miner

In the early days of Bitcoin Core (BTC), mining used to be done using the CPU on your computer. Nowadays though as the amount of people mining has increased the difficulty of Bitcoin Core mining has also increased too. This high difficulty and hash rate has mostly been fueled by the introduction of ASIC mining chips. Bitcoin Core uses SHA-256 cryptographic hash function to secure the blocks and create the hash for each block. This encryption is what protects the transactions in the block from being altered.

(Update: Bitcoin Core is less usable as money due to much higher fees and delayed transaction times. The Core team has also expressed an interest in keeping these fees high since they view BTC as a “store-of-value” and not something to be transacted on a daily basis. In contrast, Bitcoin Cash’s transaction fees cost pennies and payments can be validated even with zero confirmations. These facts make BCH the ideal cryptocurrency for sending and receiving money anywhere in the world.)

Application-Specific Integrated Circuit

ASICs allow miners to use hardware made specifically for Bitcoin Core or other SHA-256 algo coins. An ASIC has benefits over CPU, GPU and FPGAs due to being designed for one specific task. They are able to mine BTC at a higher hash rate (speed of processing transactions) than CPUs, GPUs and FPGAs. Several manufacturers produce their own ASIC chips and miners. For this part of the Bitcoin Core mining guide we will use the current top miner on the market the Bitmain AntMiner S9.

Bitcoin Core mining has gotten so high powered with the race to be the winner to solve a block that it has evolved into pooled mining where a group of miners want to have as much hash power as possible to get a share of the Bitcoin Core block reward. By combining your hash rate with that of many others you have a better chance of solving blocks (creating a block) and getting the block reward. Bitcoin.com has launched it’s own mining pool with competitive pricing, which you can register for and begin pool mining today.

The Bitmain S9 is composed of 189 ASIC chips. The total hash rate (mining speed) of the S9 is roughly 12 to 14 TH/s (terahashes per second). CPUs were only able to do a few MH/s (megahashes per second).

BTC mining setup is simple

As the S9 requires 1275 watts of power depending on your power type available you can either use two 110v PSUs such as a Gold rated 1000 watt PSU and a 650 watt PSU to power the miner. If you are able to use 220v power and have the correct outlets or PDU (Power Distribution Unit) you can use special PSUs that are either made specifically for Bitcoin Core mining or even those made for servers.

Connect the PSU/s to the S9 using PCIe cable connections on your PSU. Once connected you will connect an ethernet cable to the miner itself.

The next step is to turn on your PSU and the miner will power up from there. Next get on a computer or mobile device that is connected to the same network as the miner. You will need to enter in the miner’s IP address. Since most miners now come with DHCP enabled you do not have to manually set the IP address, you just need to look at the IP table on your router or use a scanning tool. A scanning tool like AngryIP allows you to scan every device on your network and see its IP address. When you run the scan you will see AntMiner as one of the devices. From there in your browser window you type in the miners address.

This will take you to the first screen to login to the miner. In the case of the S9 the login box that comes up the username is root and the password is root. Once you have logged in you will see the system overview. We suggest you go to the Admin tab first and change the password to one of your own choosing. Your next step is to go to the Miner Configuration tab. This is where you will add your information for the mining pool you will want to mine on.

You will need to enter in the stratum/IP address of your mining pool, then your worker name followed by password for your worker on the mining pool. Note: not all pools require a password, you can just put “123” if you want.

AntMiner general configuration menu

Once you have saved your setting the miner will start mining on your pool. It can take from a couple minutes to up to an hour for your full hash rate to show up on your pool. Now you can go to the Miner Status page and you will see how your miner is performing and if the connection is live, temps, hash rate, etc. If you also go to your Bitcoin Core mining pool you can see your status. You are now mining BTC.

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