While it is now considered too late for hobbyists without expensive ASIC processors to start mining bitcoins, many of the alternative digital currencies are still well suited for mining on your home PC. In this guide, we’ll take you through all you need to know to start digging up a few litecoins, feathercoins or dogecoins solo mine bitcoin qt any costly extra equipment.
For the most part, cryptocurrencies employ either SHA-256 or scrypt as their proof-of-work hashing algorithm, but many of the newer currencies have opted for scrypt. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s still possible to use just your computer’s CPU to mine some of the digital currencies. If you find yourself in need of help and advice, most altcoins have community forums, as well as their own subreddit. The majority of wallets are based on the original Bitcoin-Qt client. Be warned, though, that before these wallets are truly usable, you may face a lengthy wait while the coin’s entire block chain downloads. Of the two, a GPU offers far better performance for the cryptographic calculations required. Intel integrated graphics cards found in most laptops are just not suitable for the task.
Be aware, too, that mining digital coins is very system intensive and can reduce the lifespan of your electronic components. Going solo means you get to keep the full rewards of your efforts, but accepting reduced odds of being successful. Conversely, joining a pool means that the members, as a whole, will have a much larger chance of solving a block, but the reward will be split between all pool members, based on the number of ‘shares’ earned. If you are thinking of going it alone, it’s worth noting that configuring your software for solo mining can be more complicated than with a pool, and beginners would probably be better off taking the latter route.
This option also creates a steadier stream of income, even if each payment is modest compared to the full block reward. Deciding which altcoin to mine will be something else to bear in mind, however, some pools, such as Multipool, manage this for you and switch coins based on profitability. Installing your CPU miner A handy piece of software called cpuminer is the easiest way to start mining, but does require the ability to use the command line on your computer. First, download the appropriate file for your operating system. The zip file can be extracted to anywhere on your hard drive, as long as you remember where it went. A good idea would be to create a ‘cpuminer’ folder on your desktop.
Writing your script So, how to set up cpuminer with the parameters needed for your mining pool? Now, open Notepad or your preferred text editor. Do not, however, use a word processor such as MS Word. Save this file with a “. Once the batch file is saved, double click it to activate the miner program. Your mining pool will most likely have a web-based interface and, within a few minutes, the website should show that your mining worker is active.
Now that you know how to mine with the CPU, let’s have a look at using your GPU. Versions of cgminer following version 3. 72 do not support scrypt mining, and support for GPUs was removed in version 3. Again, in this example, we are making the assumption that you are using the Windows OS. Furthermore, the instructions below once again assume you will be mining a scrypt currency. Before going any further, make sure that your graphics drivers are up to date. Next, press the Windows key together with the “R” key, type in “cmd”, and press “enter”.
This will open the command terminal. Use the “cd” command to change the directory to the one housing the cgminer zip file. This will list all recognised devices on your PC. If your graphics card is detected, you should be good to go.