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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 24th January, 2016, 04:47 AM
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Question Bitcoin

Would multiple general purpose computers be powerful enough to mine bitcoins? I've always been intrigued by this bitcoin situation, but know very little about it. Do you have to mine 24 hours a day, or can you shut the computer off and start again later?
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Old 24th January, 2016, 07:09 AM
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The amount of processing power required to mine bitcoins has made it essentially uneconomical for any individual to make money doing it. The only practical mining systems are running dedicated custom hardware (specially designed ASICs) in specially constructed data centers with cheap power.

The problem is serial, not parallel. Multiple computers could work on multiple bitcoins, but only one computer at a time could work on a single bitcoin, and the first computer to add the bitcoin to the ledger gets the reward; in other words, it's about who's got the fastest single-threaded system. That's what the custom ASICs are all about; they take the problem of computing the bitcoin hash (the proof of work) and attack it using specialized hardware dedicated to that one function, so they can do it very very fast.
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Old 25th January, 2016, 01:19 AM
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Bit coin seems to have run into trouble of late...not clear on the details.
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Old 25th January, 2016, 02:53 AM
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So all my computers combined couldn't out perform one of these miner rigs? I thought I read somewhere that you could set up multiple machines in like a pool.
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Old 25th January, 2016, 03:22 AM
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From what Gizmo posted you need a specialized ASIC (I think this means Application Specific Integrated Circuit) setup. Looks like this requires the help of an EE or at least one knowledgeable mofo to even contemplate. In other words home PC users (even with a bunch of them) need not apply.

Daniel ~ notes that Bitcoin is in trouble, more so than ever. IMHO, it's a freakin' scam. Sorry, looks like no free or cheap lunch available. It's always something.
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Old 25th January, 2016, 04:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_tweak_it View Post
So all my computers combined couldn't out perform one of these miner rigs? I thought I read somewhere that you could set up multiple machines in like a pool.
You can, and in fact many miners do exactly that, but each machine works its own problem.

You're basically running a really complex math equation. You can't just jump in the middle and start your calculations, which means you can't break the math up into smaller chunks that you can run in parallel and then add the results up at the end. It doesn't work that way. And because the first one to solve the math problem is the ONLY one that wins, it doesn't matter if you have 1 million 1 GHz Celerons running, you will NEVER WIN. The ONLY way to win is to have bigger, badder, more powerful hardware than anyone else. Put a bunch of THOSE in parallel so that you are running a BUNCH of complex math equations, and you MIGHT make some money.

Basically, the game is rigged. In this particular case, that's actually a good thing. If it weren't rigged, it would mean that the person with the biggest, baddest hardware would control the bitcoin ledger, and that would compromise the whole system. Since the game is rigged to get progressively harder, it makes it (theoretically) impossible for one person to control the ledger and thus the bitcoin currency.
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Old 26th January, 2016, 01:37 AM
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We had a thread on this a couple of years ago, with some information on both the system and some bitcoin mining equipment:

Avalon ASIC bitcoin miner rig
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Old 27th January, 2016, 03:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmo View Post
You can, and in fact many miners do exactly that, but each machine works its own problem.

You're basically running a really complex math equation. You can't just jump in the middle and start your calculations, which means you can't break the math up into smaller chunks that you can run in parallel and then add the results up at the end. It doesn't work that way. And because the first one to solve the math problem is the ONLY one that wins, it doesn't matter if you have 1 million 1 GHz Celerons running, you will NEVER WIN. The ONLY way to win is to have bigger, badder, more powerful hardware than anyone else. Put a bunch of THOSE in parallel so that you are running a BUNCH of complex math equations, and you MIGHT make some money.

Basically, the game is rigged. In this particular case, that's actually a good thing. If it weren't rigged, it would mean that the person with the biggest, baddest hardware would control the bitcoin ledger, and that would compromise the whole system. Since the game is rigged to get progressively harder, it makes it (theoretically) impossible for one person to control the ledger and thus the bitcoin currency.
That's what I wanted to know. Basically my computers would probably be like a bunch of Celerons running because my stuff is not new cutting edge technologies. Where does the ledger or "problem" to be calculated come from? Where does it originate and who puts it out there for machines to work on?
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Old 29th January, 2016, 03:39 AM
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Can anyone give Just_tweak_it a hand with his or her Q, please?
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Old 29th January, 2016, 10:17 AM
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Avalon ASIC bitcoin miner rig

I *think* this post contains all the basics you need.
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Old 30th January, 2016, 04:22 AM
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Very helpful, thank you very much for the pointer, ThundrRd!
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Old 26th February, 2016, 04:39 AM
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I did have a miner up and running for a while, just for interest.

Specifically 2 x Antminers hooked up to a Raspberry Pi.

Forget mining with CPUs or GPUs. The difficulty level is now too high for that.

I used a Raspberry Pi so as to minimize power consumption. Power efficiency is an important factor, otherwise your energy bill will exceed the amount you are making.
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Old 27th February, 2016, 03:05 AM
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"Fascinating" as Mr Spock used to say. Did the Raspberry Pi setup require ages and ages of time to complete a work unit?
Please forgive my ignorance, but it just sounds ... almost impossible.
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Old 27th February, 2016, 03:22 AM
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All the mining work is done by the ASIC modules which plug in to a USB port.

The Raspberry Pi just provides connection to the net, gets the new work, and passes it to the ASICs.

Using a Raspberry Pi saves electricity, and runs silently.
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Old 28th February, 2016, 02:56 AM
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Your quite the innovator Danrok!

were you able to break even on your efforts?
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Old 28th February, 2016, 03:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel ~ View Post
Your quite the innovator Danrok!

were you able to break even on your efforts?
In the short time I had it running I made about $10 worth of bitcoin. So, no.

I should set it up again...
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Old 28th February, 2016, 03:13 AM
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it does sound like to much fun to completely ignore.

Is there an element of chance where the little guy might win a bit...(pun shamelessly intended?)
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Old 28th February, 2016, 04:50 AM
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Shazam! Gotta hand it to danrok, he knows his stuff!
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Old 28th February, 2016, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel ~ View Post
it does sound like to much fun to completely ignore.

Is there an element of chance where the little guy might win a bit...(pun shamelessly intended?)
Ordinarily, you would mine as part of a pool. So you get a small fraction of every bitcoin found. Shares are based on how much a person contributed.

If you go solo, you could be mining for a very long time before you find 1 bitcoin currently worth over $400. You might get very lucky and mine one sooner rather than later.

But mining in a pool is by far the best way for small timers, because the costs and earnings are more easily predictable.
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Old 29th February, 2016, 10:17 AM
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Best of luck then Danrok!
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