There are three main categories of bitcoin mining hardware, each more expensive and more powerful than the last. This guide to setting up a bitcoin mining pc setup miner explains each of them, and talks about how to make them work. By this stage, you will understand how bitcoin works, and 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? 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. 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. 400 watts of power, then you’re getting 1. You can check your power bill or use an electricity price calculator online to find out how much that means in hard cash. 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: GPUs, FPGAs, and ASICs. We’ll explore them in depth below. GPU Bitcoin Mining The least powerful category of bitcoin mining hardware is your computer itself. 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. 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: ATI and Nvidia. 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. Unlike other options discussed later, these units can be used with cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin. Litecoin, for example, uses a different proof of work algorithm to bitcoin, called Scrypt.

GPU mining is largely dead these days. Bitcoin mining difficulty has accelerated so much with the release of ASIC mining power that graphics cards can’t compete. If you do want to use them, you’d best equip yourself with a motherboard that can take multiple boards, to save on running separate PSUs for different boards. FPGA Bitcoin Mining A Field Programmable Gate Array is an integrated circuit designed to be configured after being built. This enables a mining hardware manufacturer to buy the chips in volume, and then customize them for bitcoin mining before putting them into their own equipment.