This guide to setting up a bitcoin miner explains each of them, and talks about how to make them work.

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By this stage, you will understand how bitcoin worksand 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: 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.

The higher your hash rate compared to the current average hash ratethe 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. 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: 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. 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.