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Guide to Bitcoin Mining

Everything you need to know about Bitcoin mining hardware and software

Contents


Get Started

What is mining?

Bitcoin mining is the act of running software with specialized hardware in order to validate Bitcoin transactions for the public ledger of the Bitcoin network, also known as the blockchain. The Bitcoin network compensates these “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 validated when mining bitcoins. The more computing power you contribute then the greater your share of the reward.

What is mining hardware?

Better known as ASIC miners (application-specific integrated circuit) are specialized microchips designed with the specific purpose of mining Bitcoins. ASICs designed for Bitcoin mining were first released in 2013 and began to mine at unprecedented speeds, while consuming much less power than FPGA or GPU mining rigs. There are now several reputable companies that have established themselves with excellent products.

What is mining software?

Mining software is just as important as the hardware. The main function of the software is to deliver the mining hardware’s output to the rest of the blockchain. Bitcoin mining software oversees the input and output of your mining hardware while also displaying statistics such as hash rate, temperature, fan speed and tempo of your miner. If you are an individual miner, bitcoin mining software connects your hardware to the Bitcoin network. If you are mining with a pool, the mining software will connect you to a mining pool.

Mining Resources


Mining Hardware

Bitmain Antminer S5
Released: December 2014

The Antminer S5 may not be the latest Bitcoin mining hardware (other models like the S7 and S9, have come after it), but it is still in use, and its efficiency and function is exemplary.

  • Hash rate: 1.15 TH/s
  • Efficiency: 0.51 J/GH
  • Weight: 6.5 lbs
Bitmain Antminer S9
Released: November 2017

The Bitmain Antminer S9 is currently the best Bitcoin mining hardware available on the market. It features the highest hash rate of about 14 TH/sec and is by far the most efficient mining hardware available.

  • Hash rate: 13.5 Th/s
  • Efficiency: 0.098 W/Gh
  • Weight: 8.1 lbs
Bitmain Antminer S9i
Released: May 2018

The Bitmain Antminer S9i is presently considered the most popular bitcoin miner in the market. The mining hardware has eclipsed Antminer S9, which is currently sold out on Bitmain, as the largest ASIC model in the Antminer series. Released on May 2018, the S9i is considered to be similar to the S9 model except for a few minor upgrades. The notable improvement between the two variants is improved energy efficiency for the S9i model.

  • Hash rate: 14 TH/s
  • Efficiency: 0.094 W/GH
  • Weight: 10.3 lbs
Bitmain Antminer S7
Released: September 2015

The Bitmain Antminer S7 was introduced to the market in 2015. It has since become one of the most popular Bitcoin hardware miners and dominates the market courtesy of its low power consumption compared to other models.

  • Hash rate: 4.73 Th/s
  • Efficiency: 0.25 W/Gh
  • Weight: 8.8 lbs
Halong Mining Dragonmint T1
Released: March 2018

The Dragonmint T1 is one of the most impressive mining rigs today. The mining hardware is efficient in terms of energy consumption and overall effectiveness. Taking into account its power consumption level, hash rate, and price, the mining rig offers miners a higher chance of profitability compared to other hardware. While it is profitable in large-scale mining operations, it will also benefit individual miners.

  • Hash rate: 16 TH/s
  • Power consumption 1600W
  • Weight: 19 lbs
AvalonMiner 741
Released: April 2017

The AvalonMiner 741 is a bitcoin miner from Canaan company and has an overall efficiency of 0.16 J/GH, which is higher compared to other devices within its price range. Also, this bitcoin miner offers a variety of customization options.

  • Hash rate: 7.3 TH/s
  • Power consumption 1150W
  • Weight: 9.5 lbs

Mining Software (Windows, Mac OS, Linux)

CG Miner

CG Miner

Released in 2011, CGMiner is still one of the most popular GPU/FPGA/ASIC mining software available. CG Miner is an open-source ASIC/FPGA miner written in C, cross-platform for Linux, Windows and OS X, and includes support and binaries for RPi, OpenWrt routers, and others. CGMiner is a command-line application that has full monitoring, fan speed control, and remote interface capabilities. It comes with a scalable networking scheduler that can scale to hash rate of any size without network delays.

BFGMiner

BFGMiner

BFGminer is designed specifically for FPGA and ASICs and doesn’t support GPU mining. More oriented towards the tweaking and customizing audience, it features dynamic clocking, monitoring and remote interface capabilities. The interface is text-based, and as with CGminer, options are very clearly laid out. You can make use of hotkeys to perform routine tasks such as monitoring pools, identifying devices and enabling extra features. BFGminer can also be installed on a Raspberry Pi.

MultiMiner

MultiMiner

Considered one of the easiest to use, Multiminer, is a graphical application (rather than a command line utility), powerful, and simple solution for Bitcoin mining. MultiMiner is available on Windows, OS X and Linux. MultiMiner simplifies switching individual devices (GPUs, ASICs, FPGAs, CPUs) between cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Monero, Zcash, and more, while also allowing you to manage any mining appliances on your network (AntMiners, G-Black, Raspberry Pi controllers, Spondoolies and more).

Bitminter

Bitminter

The Bitminter client offers an extremely clear graphical interface with an easy connection to the Bitminter mining pool. This is one of the longest-running mining pools since 2011. The pool has registered over 450,000 user accounts and unlike CGMiner and BFGMiner, BitMinter is based on the Java Network Launch Protocol (JNLP), therefore it does not require installation to function. This Bitminter client can work with GPUs as well as external ASIC devices. A simple dial displays your hashrate in MH/s and pressing the ‘Engine Start’ button will begin the mining process. The BitMinter mining pool charges a 1% commission for mining with them, although this commission is on the lower end of the spectrum when exploring other mining pool fees.

  • Founded: June 2011
  • Founded by Geir Harald Hansen