Getting started with Bitcoin mining

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: We’ll explore them in depth below. 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.

How Bitcoin Mining Works

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: 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. Litecoinfor 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. 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.

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