Back to Series

What is Bitcoin?

How to choose the best Bitcoin mining hardware

Choosing the correct hardware to begin mining for Bitcoin can be daunting. In this guide, we'll break down the basics to help you choose correctly.

Introduction

A simplified breakdown of the Bitcoin mining process is as follows: the mining software transfers the work over to the data miners, and once they have completed their part, the information is then relayed back to the blockchain and the mining pool.

The best Bitcoin mining software can be run on almost any operating system, ranging from Windows and OS X through to Linux. Some geniuses have even managed to port the software to hardware such as the Raspberry Pi along with amendments to the drives. (This naturally varies in accordance to the mining software/hardware.)

In effect, Bitcoin mining software relays the inputs and outputs of the Bitcoin miners on the blockchain. However, it also serves to monitor and display other information such as statistics, hash rate, and the average speed it has taken the miner to produce the end result.

Network

If you do not belong to a mining pool, then you must first guarantee that you are in consensus with the Bitcoin network. To become in consensus with the network, it is recommended that people use the official BitCore client.

Furthermore, a certain bandwidth is essential. For instance, if you belong to a mining pool, then you would need roughly 10MB/day to run it efficiently. However, do not take this as sovereign. You will definitely need an outstanding connection to get real-time updates on the work.

What to look out for

In order to best evaluate which mining hardware is best suited for you, you first need to know what to look out for. A few basic things to keep an eye out for are as follows:

Hash rate: The hash rate refers to the amount of power a miner uses to solve the mathematical algorithm that mines the cryptocurrency.

Power consumption: The power consumption informs the user how much electricity the mining hardware will utilise when operating. Power consumption is measured in Watts. To avoid using up huge amounts of electricity, you’ll want to find hardware that uses a low number of Watts.

Energy efficiency: Energy efficiency is measured in Joules. Likewise with power consumption, the lower the amount of energy the miner uses, the better. For instance, if the number of Joules is low, it tends to suggest that the miner will consume less power and still put out the same amount of work.

Hardware list

Below is a list of some of the best and cheapest pieces of hardware for mining Bitcoin:

Halong Mining DragonMint T1: The DragonMint T1 boasts an impressive 16 TH per second hash rate, granting it status as one of the most efficient pieces of hardware on the market. However, it also bears a consumption of 1,480 Watts, which equates to 0.075 Joules per Gigahash. This amount of power is also expensive – it will set you back over $2,000.

Pangolin Whatsminer M3X: The M3X is one of the most intensive pieces of hardware in terms of power consumption, clocking between 1800-2100 Watts. However, due to its high-power consumption, it does produce a cool 12.5 TH per second hash rate. Whilst its specifications do not seem as impressive as the DragonMint T1, it is approximately half the price. It’s regular price usually floats around $1,000.

Bitmain Antminer S9i: Bitmain understand the importance of power-efficient hardware whilst retaining their status as one of the leading Bitcoin mining hardware producers. The S9i’s control board utilises a Dual ARM Cortex-A9 microprocessor with support for Gigabit Ethernet. This in turn enables the hardware to mine blocks that are submitted instantly. The S9i has a hash rate of 14 TH per second, which is less than the T1, but it does have an energy consumption of 1,320 Watts, which is lower than the T1. To supplement its impressive statistics, it also costs significantly less than the T1.

Avalon6: The Avalon6 can be significantly cheaper in comparison to the other entries on this list (dependent on where you purchase it from). But its lower price does not come without detriment in overall quality. It has an energy consumption of 1,050 Watts, which only produces a hash rate of 3.5 TH per second. Naturally, you wouldn’t be remiss if you thought this piece of hardware wouldn’t ensure you make a profit. However, if you are looking to start out with mining as a hobby, then the Avalon6 may be worth consideration.

Bitmain Antminer S7: The Antminer S7 is another great starting option in the world of mining. Its hash rate is higher than the Avalon6, clocking in at roughly 4.73 TH per second. The power consumption is higher than the Avalon6 though, coming out at around 1,200 Watts. As of writing, on Amazon, its price is around $99, making it another cheap option for a beginner.

There is quite a selection of other mining hardware on the market, and this list is just a brief compilation showing the difference between some of the top sellers and the cheapest products. To ensure that you pick the correct piece of hardware, don’t forget to pay attention to the hash rate, power consumption, and energy efficiency.

For more exclusive guides from Coin Rivet, click here.

 

Recent Guides

Blockchain consensus algorithms explained

Blockchains are an incentivised distributed ledger using a plurality of technologies ranging from decentralised communications protocols (whisper), storage protocols (independent nodes) and consensus mechanisms. In this guide, we explain...

The best Bitcoin mining software

The cryptosphere is growing every day, and most people have heard of Bitcoin by now. However, not many people know how to ‘mine’ Bitcoin. Mining is the process of...