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Getting Started: What to mine, how to mine and where to mine (UPDATED 2021)

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ZL1

Senior Crypto Caretaker
Joined
Oct 24, 2003
Hey guys, finally, 3 years later lol I get to update this :D
(amazing how much info is still actual btw, from 3 years ago ..)

First, if you are curious what this whole thing is about please take a look at the following two articles on Wikipedia (I really don't want to type a whole history in here :)):

Now, what is mining ? in very simple words, mining is using your PC's CPU (still valid in 2021, esp with Ryzens) or GPU or specialized miners such as ASICs to produce cryptocoins. Cryptocoins are created, maintained and processed by running computations and mining basically means getting paid for supporting the network, that's what you really do.

OK, now the big question - is mining cryptos worth it ?
I will start by asking you to take a look at the overall market capitalization (over 1 trillion as of January 2021): https://www.coingecko.com/en
But its worth mentioning Bitcoin (BTC) mining has become nearly impossible for the regular home user who runs a computer with a video card or two (moreso now in 2021), it is now only an option for the big guns who buy specialized miners (ASICs), which cost ridiculous amounts of money and in time become useless as difficulty goes up.
A note here: Difficulty, what is that. Mining any crypto is subject to a difficulty (computations needed to achieve a result) and of course the more people join in and the more time passes, difficulty increases, as such keep in mind that what you make today, you probably will not make next week. But with some luck prices on the coin will go up or you will switch coins, that takes us to the next chapter of this intro.

What should you mine ?
First, Id like to say that here we focus on the home/hobby miner, not industrial levels, so here we go - the biggest alternative to Bitcoin is Litecoin (LTC), it's a coin that was still profitable for good ol GPUs until a few years back, but sadly it has fallen to the ASIC curse as well. So at this time and day we shall turn to Ethereum (ETH), Ravencoin (RVN) and so many others which are still great on GPUs, and we even have Monero (XMR) which is great on both GPUs and strong multi-core CPUs.
There are a ton of alternative coins (altcoins) available for mining and one can easily check which ones are profitable and how profitable by using a cross-calculator such as this: Note: to get an estimate of your computer's mining power you can check the following two links:



If you have decided you want to try this and need some help getting started, here we go:

  • Get a wallet for the coin you chose to mine, download and install and let it sync, this way you will have where to store your coins. Most coins have an infosite, go to that site and download the wallet. An alterantive is to use the exchange, look at the exchange section below.
    Quick note: for btc, the official wallet is super heavy (lots of history to download) so I recommend Electrum, a lightweight and very good all around wallet. Same for LTC ;)

  • Find a pool for your coin. There are a bunch of pools for about every coin out there so listing them here won't be feasible. However you can search the forums or the web or post in our cryptocoin sub-forum asking fellow forum members for advice.
    A good resource to see how popular a pool is can be found here https://miningpoolstats.stream/ (this is actually important, because to find blocks and get rewards the pool must have a decent amount of hash)
    Note: Many of us here on OCF prefer to run hassle-free auto-trade pools, these pools mine the best coin and pay us directly in bitcoin! example: nicehash.com, its easy to use,they have their own auto benching miner, and it pays directly in BTC.
    No longer recommending nicehash due to corrupt miner incident which they tried to blame on the developer, though they didnt get it from the developer ...


  • Set up miner. I will only address basic configs for now, but later I can come back with linux builds and so forth.

    * Use a command line .bat file to start it with the arguments you need (actually most already come with a template these days). The arguments usually include the pool, your username on the pool and settings for the GPU. It looks like so: "PhoenixMiner.exe -pool eu1.ethermine.org:4444 -pool2 us1.ethermine.org:4444 -wal YourEthWalletAddress.WorkerName -proto 3".
    Far easier than what it used to be in the older days btw ;)

    Note:it is always best to allow for max use of the GPU. You do so by opening a command line terminal (cmd from start) and entering the following two commands (without quotes): "setx GPU_FORCE_64BIT_PTR 0" "setx GPU_MAX_HEAP_SIZE 100" "setx GPU_USE_SYNC_OBJECTS 1" "setx GPU_MAX_ALLOC_PERCENT 100" "setx GPU_SINGLE_ALLOC_PERCENT 100" or just adding these lines to the start bat file.


  • Optional: Get a Bitcoin wallet (good options are Electrum or standard Bitcoin wallet).
    If you want to hold long-term, it is best to hold Bitcoin and not altcoins, since Bitcoin is the yardstick to which all the others compare to at the end of the day.
  • A decent multi-coin wallet would be Exodus, has a truckload of coins, very fain interface, but its less tested by me personally compared to Electrum which I can recommend after using for the past 7 years ;)
  • If you are gonna hold long term, consider earning some interest on it, a good investment platform would be BlockFI, you can earn up to 8.6% APY on your deposits as of January 2021 and if you use my referral link, you get a $25 bonus on your first deposit :)

  • Alternatively, cash-out, buy stuff, be happy :bday:

This howto is a work in progress and will be constantly updated with new info, stay tuned :)
 
Last edited:
OP
ZL1

ZL1

Senior Crypto Caretaker
Joined
Oct 24, 2003
How to cash out!

Per popular demand I am expanding the last few steps of the how-to, mainly: trading crypto to fiat (USD, EUR, etc) and cashing out.
The exchanges mentioned earlier remain in effect, but we'll go into detail as to what they require to deposit/withdraw real life paper money and the fees associated with that.

  • Coinbase - the best BTC to USD for US residents. The exchange is stable, has been around for quite a bit and has reasonable options. AFAIK it requires a bank account to be linked in order to transfer funds, I do need more info on this though.

  • Localbitcoins - this is my favorite option period. However BEWARE! this is not an exchange, this is a person to person sales site, the site basically connects buyers and sellers, but the rest is done between them, so selecting the right buyer and payment option for your bitcoins is VERY important. The site does provide both feedback and trade totals and verification options.
    Now if you pick this option I highly recommend you choose to either receive payment by Western Union or to meet the buyer face to face (its possible if the buyer is willing) or use MoneyPak (for US based Paypal accounts), it is irreversible once cashed.

More soon
 
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rollincoaster

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2009
Location
NE Ohio
Nice guide. Litecoin Wiki strongly suggests Cudaminer for Nvidia based cards it seems... Just gotta find a pool to join once my wallet syncs.
 
OP
ZL1

ZL1

Senior Crypto Caretaker
Joined
Oct 24, 2003
ty, ah yes, must discuss this whole ATI/NVidia bit a bit too
 

MunkyTOS

Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2011
Location
New England
Is there a rule of thumb (from personal experience) what equipment, price per kwh, etc is necessary to make profit? I tried using a calculator I found but some of the fields didn't make sense to me so I couldn't tell should be put there.
 

Silver_Pharaoh

Likes the big ones n00b Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
  • Set up cudaminer. COMING SOON

Here's my old command line for Cudaminer:

cudaminer -i 0 -a scrypt -o Stratum+tcp://ltc.give-me-coins.com:3333 -u username -p password


-i 0 is for GFX cards running monitors
-a scrypt is well... for scrypt based mining.

-o is where you put the pool's address, in my case it is ltc.give-me-coins.com on port 3333.

Stratum+tcp:// is for Stratum based servers for reduced network latency.

You can use flags like -l F32x4 which forces the use of Fermi architecture. 32x4 impacts GFX memory usage and performance.

It is best to not use the -l flags, as Cudaminer's built in "auto-tune" auto selects the best memory/performance flag for you.

Hope this is of use ZL1 :)
 
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Silver_Pharaoh

Likes the big ones n00b Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
Is there a rule of thumb (from personal experience) what equipment, price per kwh, etc is necessary to make profit? I tried using a calculator I found but some of the fields didn't make sense to me so I couldn't tell should be put there.

I think 5850 is a good one...
 
OP
ZL1

ZL1

Senior Crypto Caretaker
Joined
Oct 24, 2003
Thanks Silver, I need to wake up from my new years celebration first and then I'll update the cudamining part


Munky, the rule of thumb is simple really, mine if you already have the hardware, buy hardware only if it will pay for itself in no more than 1-2 months, because these things fluctuate too much to be sure past one month

regarding calcs, if you look at the links in the main post, you will see a mining hardware list, the KHS is what you want for each cards then you can compute estimated profit using the coinwarz calc
say a 5850 like Silver mentioned, good card, good KHS for its price, but it also chews good energy, currently the best 3 cards are 7850, 7950, 280x performance/power ratio; the 7850 has gone down in price enough to make the 5850 no longer king of perf/price/power ratio in my book, also 7xxx series are far cooler, which helps :)
 

MunkyTOS

Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2011
Location
New England
Thanks Silver, I need to wake up from my new years celebration first and then I'll update the cudamining part


Munky, the rule of thumb is simple really, mine if you already have the hardware, buy hardware only if it will pay for itself in no more than 1-2 months, because these things fluctuate too much to be sure past one month

regarding calcs, if you look at the links in the main post, you will see a mining hardware list, the KHS is what you want for each cards then you can compute estimated profit using the coinwarz calc
say a 5850 like Silver mentioned, good card, good KHS for its price, but it also chews good energy, currently the best 3 cards are 7850, 7950, 280x performance/power ratio; the 7850 has gone down in price enough to make the 5850 no longer king of perf/price/power ratio in my book, also 7xxx series are far cooler, which helps :)

thank you for your informative post, but as far as power consumption goes, i remember seeing a lot of posts about cost of kwh being the main problem but i wasn't sure how to effectively calculate that into the equation. I think i figured out my cost was .11/kwh
 
OP
ZL1

ZL1

Senior Crypto Caretaker
Joined
Oct 24, 2003
most have .10 - .11, the profitablity calc has the power included, it is at .12 to be safe i think
 

Luke1978

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2013
Location
Maine
wish their was a litecoin for dummies.
Hate to say it but I've been playing with computers for about 10 years and I dont know how to make a .bat file :(

Trying to sell my spare parts to get an R9 280x/290/290x and I'd love to give this a shot but it's all greek to me :(
 
OP
ZL1

ZL1

Senior Crypto Caretaker
Joined
Oct 24, 2003
Luke, make a txt file, then rename it to .bat :) enable "show extensions for known files" first though from "folder and search options" in explorer
 

Silver_Pharaoh

Likes the big ones n00b Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
wish their was a litecoin for dummies.
Hate to say it but I've been playing with computers for about 10 years and I dont know how to make a .bat file :(

Trying to sell my spare parts to get an R9 280x/290/290x and I'd love to give this a shot but it's all greek to me :(

Ask and help will be there! :D

So do you want to start litecoin mining?

And for .bats files, just open up notepad type in what you want, then save it.
Find the file you just saved, then rename the .txt extension to .bat.
Done! :thup:

For litecoin mining, you need to pick a pool. I use give-me-coins.com

Register there then we can help you more.
Oh, and here's my thread about GPU based mining coins, it has a list of pools you can mine at: http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=741776
 

Luke1978

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2013
Location
Maine
Ask and help will be there! :D

So do you want to start litecoin mining?

And for .bats files, just open up notepad type in what you want, then save it.
Find the file you just saved, then rename the .txt extension to .bat.
Done! :thup:

For litecoin mining, you need to pick a pool. I use give-me-coins.com

Register there then we can help you more.
Oh, and here's my thread about GPU based mining coins, it has a list of pools you can mine at: http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=741776

Yes litecoin
I'll get registered and get back to you.
Ones as good as another, and first suggestion wins. At least I know it's something that actually works.



:edit: Alright I'm registered... cuoficr on givemecoins.com
 

Silver_Pharaoh

Likes the big ones n00b Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
Yes litecoin
I'll get registered and get back to you.
Ones as good as another, and first suggestion wins. At least I know it's something that actually works.



:edit: Alright I'm registered... cuoficr on givemecoins.com



Now,are you going to use a Radeon card or Nvidia card to mine?

Radeon: grab this: Cgminer 3.5 Then grab the AMD APP SDK 2.8 from AMD's site.

Nvidia: Go here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=167229.0

Then login to give-me-coins and click on settings then click on workers.

You should have one, if not just make one with whatever name you want.

Post back whe you got that setup.
 

Luke1978

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2013
Location
Maine
Now,are you going to use a Radeon card or Nvidia card to mine?

Radeon: grab this: Cgminer 3.5 Then grab the AMD APP SDK 2.8 from AMD's site.

Nvidia: Go here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=167229.0

Then login to give-me-coins and click on settings then click on workers.

You should have one, if not just make one with whatever name you want.

Post back whe you got that setup.


Done, and I have cudaminer from the link. Be mining with the 550ti till I sell my GS4
 

Silver_Pharaoh

Likes the big ones n00b Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
Done, and I have cudaminer from the link. Be mining with the 550ti till I sell my GS4

Well well well! Another 550ti miner! :thup:

That's the card I used to start Litecoin mining! :D

Alright so you need a cudaminer .bat file here's my old one for my 550 ti:


cudaminer -i 0 -a scrypt -o Stratum+tcp://ltc.give-me-coins.com:3333 -O username:password



Change the stuff in pink with you username and password for you give-me-coin worker.

Then put that .bat in the same folder as cudaminer.

Run it and your mining! :thup: