To mine coins we got the following options to mine with:
CPU Mining: This is the easiest way probably to try mining for coins as a first run. The requirements here are pretty basic: You need a CPU. Luckily every computer got that. And you need a program called cpuminer. Cpuminer is also known as “minerd”. Sign up to join a mining pool and you are ready to go. Advantages of mining with your CPU are pretty obvious: almost no requirements, no additional hardware besides your CPU. Disadvantage is the performance of you CPU: it is pretty slow compared to the other methods. Your energy costs will eat up all of your profits.
GPU Mining: Mining with your GPU is already a much more efficient way to mine coins and was the next step after CPU mining. Compared to your CPU the GPU is able to solve the hash values much more efficient; you get way more out of your energy bills. To mine with your GPU you need a modest graphics card which is supported by the GPU miners like cgminer. Most modern Radeon or Nvidia cards are supported. Requirements compared to CPU mining are only the additional graphics card you need – or even better several of them – and mining makes much more fun.
ASIC: ASIC hardware are specialized devices produced for only one task: To mine coins. But this in the most efficient way: This gives you the best hash rate/power consummation ratio of all of the three methods mentioned. However, you have to have access to such a device so there is an additional cost.
To jump directly into mining and gain my first experiences, I have chosen for the first option, the CPU mining way.
So, these are the steps we will follow:
- Download cpuminer for your OS
- Join a mining pool
- Run cpuminer with appropriate parameters for your pool
- Watch the numbers and have it run for a while
That’s it really. So lets have a look at this in detail:
Depending on your operating system, you have to download cpuminer (minerd) from this site or you use the OS internal packing system (like apt or yum). If you have to download it, make sure to pick the right architecture (eg x86 or x86_64), download the archive and extract it to a directory of your choice.
To install with a Debian based system like Ubuntu you simply run “sudo apt-get update” and “sudo apt-get install cpuminer” and the system does the magic.
Join a mining pool
There are several mining pools out there, all with different rules like fee’s and payout models.
I tried my luck with a Litecoin pool and picked minersdream.com: most green boxes and no block fees. So browse to your chosen pool’s website and register your account. When done you have to add a “worker”. You need a worker for each of your device you will have to support your mining activity. As we just give it a try with our cpuminer, you need to add only one for the time being. Remember the name and the password of your worker, we need it in a second.
When you got your worker, we will start our miner soon. Depending on your OS, open up a terminal or command prompt and type in the following command:
minerd –url=stratum+tcp://stratum-eu.minersdream.com:3333 –userpass=USERNAME.WORKER:PASSWORD
(Please make sure to redirect to the correct path for your minerd binary. Replace USERNAME, WORKER and PASSWORD with you own values)
When you typed in everyt correctly, you should get an output like this:
Perfect, our first test is running successful; our CPU miner is mining.
Tip to have minerd running in the background
To have cpuminer running in the background while you are working, you can decrease the priority of it. In Windows you start up the task manager, tab “Processes” and then right-click on minerd and select priority “lowest”. (Not having windows, hope this all correct…)
In Linux you run the command like this:
nice -n 19 minerd –url=stratum+tcp://stratum-eu.minersdream.com:3333 –userpass=USERNAME.WORKER:PASSWORD
This sets the minerd task to the lowest priority and have it running in the background.