Hobby Bitcoin mining can still be fun and even profitable if you have cheap electricity and get the best and most efficient Bitcoin mining hardware.
Bitcoin mining is competitive. It’s not ideal for the average person to mine since China’s cheap electricity has allowed it to dominate the mining market. If you want bitcoins then you are better off buying bitcoins.
|Dragonmint 16T||16.0 TH/s||$2,729|
|Antminer S9||14.0 TH/s||$3,000|
|Antminer R4||8.6 TH/s||$1,000|
Since it’s now impossible to profitably mine Bitcoin with your computer, you’ll need specialized hardware called ASICs.
Here’s what an ASIC miner looks like up close:
Originally, Bitcoin’s creator intended for Bitcoin to be mined on CPUs (your laptop or desktop computer). However, Bitcoin miners discovered they could get more hashing power from graphic cards. Graphic cards were then surpassed by ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits).
Think of a Bitcoin ASIC as specialized Bitcoin mining computers, Bitcoin mining machines, or “bitcoin generators”.
Nowadays all serious Bitcoin mining is performed on dedicated Bitcoin mining hardware ASICs, usually in thermally-regulated data-centers with low-cost electricity.
There is Bitcoin mining hardware, which mines bitcoins.
You can use our calculator below to check the mining hardware above. Input your expected electricity price and the hash rate of the miner for an estimate.
The Bitcoin price and the total network hash rate are the two main factors that will affect your profitability.
Our calculator is more accurate than most others because ours assumes the 0.4527678% daily increase in network hash rate. This has been the average daily increase over the past 6 months.
Most other calculators do NOT include this metric which makes mining appear way more profitable than it actually is.
Bitcoin mining is a booming industry, but the Bitcoin price increasing can help make up some of these losses.
The Bitcoin price is increasing at an average of 0.3403% per day over the past year. Try messing with the calculator using different prices.
It may seem easy to just spin up a miner.
But you NEED to take a look at just how serious mining is.
The video below offers an inside look at one of China’s largest mines.
There are some important factors to look at when determining which Bitcoin mining ASIC to buy:
Hash rate – How many hashes per second can the Bitcoin miner make? More hashes cost more, which is why efficiency is crucial.
Efficiency – You’ll want to buy the most efficient bitcoin mining hardware possible. Right now, this is the Halong Mining Dragonmint T1. Since miners use a large amount of electricity, you want to buy one that converts the most amount of electricity into bitcoins.
Price – How much does the bitcoin miner cost? Cheap mining hardware will mine less bitcoins, which is why efficiency and electricity usage are important. The fastest and more efficient mining hardware is going to cost more.
Don’t try to buy a miner based on only price or only hash rate. The best ASIC miner is the most efficient bitcoin miner. Aim for value.
If you’re a hobby miner who wants to buy a couple rigs for your house, eBay and Amazon both have some decent deals on mining hardware.
Both new and used bitcoin mining rigs and ASICs are available on eBay. One may want to buy used ASIC mining hardware on eBay because you can get better prices.
eBay’s customer protection ensures you’ll get a working product. Other bundled equipment may be included with your purchase depending on the seller.
If you just want bitcoins, mining is NOT the best way to obtain coins.
Buying bitcoins is the EASIEST and FASTEST way to purchase bitcoins.
Get $10 worth of free bitcoins when you buy $100 or more at Coinbase.
You can use a bitcoin mining profitability calculator to determine your estimated cost of return on your mining hardware.
Be sure to take electricity costs into account. Most mining hardware appears profitable until electricity costs are accounted for.
Good Bitcoin mining hardware needs to have a high hash rate. But, efficiency is just as important.
An efficient Bitcoin miner means that you pay less in electricity costs per hash.
To improve your efficiency, there are also companies that will let you order hardware to their warehouse and run the miners for you.
You could also cloud mine bitcoins. But both options are a lot less fun than running your hardware!
Halong Mining – Halong Mining is the newest mining hardware company. They have the best miner available. Unfortunately, they already sold out of their first batch but a new batch should be available for sale soon.
Bitmain – Bitmain makes the Antminer line of Bitcoin miners. Bitmain is based in China and also operates a mining pool.
BitFury – BitFury is one of the largest producers of Bitcoin mining hardware and chips. Its hardware is not available for purchase.
In addition to a Bitcoin mining ASIC, you’ll need some other Bitcoin mining equipment:
Power Supply – Bitcoin rigs need special power supplies to funnel and use electricity efficiently.
Cooling Fans – Bitcoin hardware can easily overheat and stop working. Buy a sufficient amount of cooling fans to keep your hardware working.
Backup generators – You may want generators as a backup in case your main source of electricity goes down.
It’s still technically possible to mine bitcoins without dedicated mining hardware.
However, you’ll earn less than one penny per month. Mining bitcoins on your computer will do more damage to your computer and won’t earn a profit.
So, it’s not worth it unless you’re just interested to see how the mining process works. You’re best bet is to buy dedicated hardware like the Antminer S7 or Antminer S9.
USB Bitcoin miners are available to buy, but they don’t really generate any significant profits.
You should buy one to learn how mining works, but other than that don’t expect much! If you are serious about making profit then check out better Bitcoin mining hardware.
You can always check the profitability of a USB miner using our mining calculator.
There is USB Bitcoin mining hardware, which mines bitcoins.
Both are USB type devices that have completely separate functions!
|Sapphire Miner||330 MH/s||$29.99||Buy|
|Avalon Nano 3||3.6 GH/s||$19.99||Buy|
|Bitmain Antrouter||5.5 GH/s||$59.99||Buy|
|21 Computer||90 GH/s||$399||Buy|
The Sapphire Block Erupters were the first Bitcoin USB miners. They have 330 MH/s of hash power which would net you less than $0.01 per month.
It may be a good choice just to see how mining works, but like with most USB miners: do not expect to turn a profit.
The GekkoScience miners is just slightly better than the original block erupters.
It will net you about $0.15 per month, which is more than a dollar per year! The company claims that the device runs completely silent. It works with just one USB port.
The Avalon Nano 3 is a 3.6 GH/s miner, which will earn you about $1 per year. No fan is required and it just plugs into your USB port on any computer.
The Bitmain AntRouter isn’t exactly a USB miner, but it is similar. It’s low cost, but with that you get a low GH/s at just 5.5 GH/s which is a little over $1 per year.
The plus side is it works as a wireless router, so you can do some mining while providing internet for all your devices.
The 21 Bitcoin Computer isn’t the typical USB Bitcoin miner. It does, however, plugin to your computer via USB. In terms of $ / hash rate, it’s not a very good choice.
But since it’s still technically a USB miner we have included it in this list.
If you’re not impressed, we don’t blame you! USB Bitcoin mining was only profitable when Bitcoin was in its early years. If you just want bitcoins then invest in serious mining hardware or just buy bitcoins.
The world of crypto was in disbelief when Halong Mining, a new ASIC startup, announced their brand new Dragonmint T16. Halong claimed it to be the most powerful – and efficient – Bitcoin mining ASIC on the market. If they delivered on their promise, Bitmain’s reign as king of ASIC developers would come to an abrupt end.
Unsurprisingly, many prominent members of the Bitcoin community were in disbelief, as cryptocurrency in general has been plagued by fake startups and ICO scams.
In an effort to build trust with their potential buyers, Halong Mining released videos of their ASICs running as advertised. Moreover, they claimed that $30 million dollars was invested in research, development, and prototypes.
Their first batch of Dragonmint T16’s was set for shipment in March of 2018. As the deadline crept up, the world patiently waited for the much anticipated release.
If Halong Mining really did produce the most efficient SHA-256 miner to date, the startup would prove their skeptics wrong and dethrone Bitmain, a company only concerned with their monopoly on the market.
After prominent members of the Bitcoin community doubted Halong’s legitimacy, including Cøbra, the company proved them wrong. Miners shipped as described, and Halong delivered – quite literally – on their promises.
Slush, the creator of Slush Mining Pool and the TREZOR hardware wallet, claimed on Twitter the miners are legitimate. Halong Mining has earned their keep, finally viewed as a reputable company after months of speculation and debate.
Over 100 individuals took part in the development of the chip, including BtcDrak, one of the leading pseudonymous Bitcoin core developers. According to Bitcoin Magazine, BtcDrak remarked:
The project is motivated by, and driven to help facilitate greater decentralisation in Bitcoin mining at all levels, and make SHA-256 great again.
The Dragonmint T16 was Halong Mining’s first ASIC to hit the market. Boasting 16 TH/s, it is the most powerful ASIC miner. Additionally, the T16 is remarkably power efficient, consuming a mere 0.075J/GH. Moreover, the Dragonmint T16 utilizes ASICBOOST, an exploit of Bitcoin’s algorithm which improves efficiency by 20%.
Compared to Bitmain’s Antminer S9, which consumes 0.098J/GH, the Dragonmint T16 is not only more powerful, but more efficient as well. The difference in power consumption seems small. However, when mining on a large scale, every bit of saved electricity counts.
What do you get when you combine power and efficiency? An incredibly profitable ASIC! The T16 is 30% more efficient than its competition.
Take a look at the projected mining profitability of a single Dragonmint:
Note that is appears profitable even with high electricity costs ($0.12 per KW/h). With $0.03 / KW/h it’s even more profitable:
The T16’s new DM8575 chip design is largely responsible for the ASIC’s notable improvements over Bitmain’s S9.
Although the Antminer S9 still yields a decent mining profit, it is no match for Halong Mining’s newest chip, the Dragonmint T16. Hashrate and power consumption are the primary factors in mining profitability, next to electricity cost – Halong Mining’s Dragonmint T16 is clearly superior to Bitmain’s best ASIC miner.
Bitcoin is based on blockchain technology, a decentralized platform which takes power away from a central authority and gives it to the average person. Sensitive information is stored on the blockchain rather than large data centers, and is cryptographically secured. A vast amount of people, known as miners, all work together to validate the network, instead of just one person or government.
In the beginning, CPUs were used to solve cryptographic hash functions, until miners discovered that GPUs were far better equipped for mining. As block difficulty increased, miners turned primarily to GPUs.
Eventually, technology was developed solely for mining, known as ASICs, or Application Specific Integrated Circuits. Their hashrates are significantly higher than anything GPUs are capable of.
With stellar performance comes a high price tag – the best ASIC chips will run you a few thousand dollars each. Upon creation, Bitcoin blocks were confirmed by the average person using their desktop – once ASICs hit the market, things changed.
ASICs rendered GPUs useless. ASIC developers, including Bitmain, granted early access to large mining cartels rather than the average person. Nowadays, a large majority of Bitcoin mining takes place in China where electricity is cheap.
Thousands of ASICs all mine simultaneously in a mining farm (large warehouse). Evidently, most people can’t afford just one or two of ASICs, not to mention thousands of them.
When ASICs hit the market, the blockchain’s validation process became more centralized than decentralized, as the majority of validation is done by a single mining company, rather than being spread out amongst many miners. Unfortunately, Bitcoin is no longer as decentralized as it was once intended to be.
Bitmain’s AntMiner S7 has proven so popular since its release in mid-2015 that it’s now reached its 19th batch of production.
The S7 assumed market dominance for good reason:
It offers a high hashrate for the amount of power it consumes.
If you view any modern industrial mining operation, chances are you’ll see racks of AntMiner S7s hashing away. The S7 is also a popular choice among hobbyist miners for its reasonable price and strong performance.
The S7 is powered by a 28nm BM1385 ASIC chip. 135 of these chips are spread across 3 boards and kept cool by dual fans (or a single fan in the case of a particular batch).
The strong metal casing features a tongue and groove system which allows for the neat arrangement of multiple miners.
Recommended for use with the S7 is Bitmain’s high quality 1600 Watt APW3 power supply unit, designed specifically for use with Bitcoin miners.
This PSU is highly efficient, losing only 7% of electricity between outlet and miner. The APW3 requires a minimum 205 Volts to function and does not ship with the necessary 16A power cord.
Although not cheap at $140 plus shipping, the APW3 is a good choice in terms of future upgradability as it can also run the power-hungry AntMiner S9.
It’s also possible to use any ATX PSU of sufficient Wattage to run the S7.
The S7-LN includes its own PSU; a 1000W Enermax, rated Gold (above 80% efficiency). As the S7-LN only draws about 700W, this PSU has excess capacity even when overclocking the unit above its default 600M frequency.
It also adds quite a lot of weight to the unit, increasing its shipping cost.
While an integral PSU makes for a compact and convenient miner, there are few other reasons to recommend such a setup. The S7-LN also excludes a cord.
Shortly after release, the S7 was priced at nearly $2000, a little below the current cost of the S9.
Bitmain sells the S7-LN for $291 and Amazon has it going for $439 new or $409 used.
These prices can be expected to fall further as the S9 and other superior mining hardware becomes the new standard. It’s also possible to buy modded S7(-LNs) with upgraded efficiency and diminished noise and heat levels.
With Difficulty rising and the halving of block rewards imminent, the S7 is reaching the end of its profitability for those without access to cheap power… although if Bitcoin’s exchange rate rises sufficiently, the S7’s profitability may well be extended beyond expectations.
Using our Bitcoin mining calculator, we’ll take a peek at some likely returns for an S7 and S7-LN.
We’re assuming an average household Power Cost of 15c per kWh, a Pool Fee of 2.5% (as charged by AntPool) and a post-halving Block Reward of 12.5 BTC per block mined:
For greatly increased accuracy, perform your own custom calculation!
The results aren’t great:
$18 will be lost per month and $223 annually.
From this rough calculation (which appears not to factor in the Hardware Costs field), it’s clear that nobody who pays a regular price for their electricity will be getting rich off an S7.
With careful tweaking, it may be possible to profit from an S7 even at 15c power. This assumes that Bitcoin’s price doesn’t fall and Difficulty doesn’t jump… risky assumptions indeed!
The same calculations adjusted for the Hash Rate and Power consumption of the S7-LN produces slightly more encouraging results:
Only $6 is lost per month and $77 annually.
The S7 draws a minimum of 1293 Watts at a room temperature of 25^C / 77^F. Naturally, the hotter the environment, the more energy the fan(s) will consume to cool the unit.
The S7 is twice as efficient as the S5 at converting all this energy into bitcoins; it requires a modest 0.25 Joules of power per Gigahash.
As mentioned, the LN (“Lite”) version draws only 700W. It likewise consumes 0.25 J/GH.
Both S7’s have DHCP capability, meaning they’ll automatically seek out an IP address to use.
Setting them up via the MinerLink GUI is a simple process, requiring only your mining pool credentials to begin mining.
The units will automatically begin hashing upon powering up, which can be helpful in the event of power failure. S7 connectivity is via Ethernet only.
Both S7 versions will operate well below an ambient temperature of 40^C / 77^C. They are both cooled by dual 12038 fans.
Keeping the room in which they’re placed cool and dry will extend the life of these miners. A dry basement is an ideal location.
If you hope to make profit but can’t wait for the S9 (or other forthcoming miners from different companies) to become affordable, the S7 is likely your best option.
With access to inexpensive power and perhaps some intelligent tweaking, it’s possible that the S7 will pay for itself and become profitable.
The S7-LN is slightly more efficient and certainly better suited to the home miner who can’t tolerate a lot of fan noise or cable clutter.
Bitmain released their AntMiner S5 Bitcoin miner in late 2014. At that time, it was one of the fastest and most efficient ASIC miners available, rivaled by the Spondoolies-Tech SP20.
However, the S5 has long since been surpassed by newer models.
As a product of a 28nm fabrication process, the S5 can’t be reasonably expected to compete with modern 16nm or 14nm ASIC designs in terms of hashrate or power efficiency.
Is there still a place for the venerable S5?
If you’re a hobbyist miner on a budget, with no interest in the profitability of transmogrifying electricity into bitcoins, then the S5 is worth considering.
Used AntMiner S5s are available on eBay and Amazon in a price range between $190 and $299; most ship from America.
New S5s ship from Bitmain in China for $413, although there may be a waiting period before stock becomes available.
Remember to factor in shipping costs and possible customs duties.
The S5 will draw between 560 to 590 Watts at around 115 Volts. Any sufficiently-powered ATX Power Supply Unit will run the S5 without problems.
That means that your old PC power supply – or someone else’s second hand one – can be easily repurposed for Bitcoin mining.
Note that the efficiency of power supplies is rated as gold (10% of electricity wasted), silver (20% wasted) or bronze (30% wasted).
The efficiency of power supplies is a worthy topic of investigation for any aspiring Bitcoin miner; inefficient, unrated power supplies will waste electricity and create extra noise and heat.
A list of PSU ratings may be found here.
Ideally, get a PSU from the Corsair Enthusiast Series Bronze Certified PSU; either the 650 or 750 Watt model.
The 650W model is available second hand for a little over $100. Corsair has a good reputation among Bitcoin miners and other tech enthusiasts for building reliable hardware. The Bronze series offers good value.
One thing to note is that under-clocking the S5 is difficult without a special, 9 Volt-capable PSU.
Our Bitcoin mining calculator is helpful for calculating the profitability of any Bitcoin miner, based on relevant data.
Be sure to run your own calculations, using your local power rate, preferred mining pool and the price at which you intend to buy your S5.
The CoinWarz site will automatically fill in the currentBTC-USD price, Difficulty and Block Reward.
Note that in July 2016, the Block Reward will halve to 12.5 BTC for every block solved.
In order to see any bitcoins from a single S5, you will need to join a Pool. The odds of solo-mining a block with a single or even several S5s are virtually zero.
The post-halving Reward, relatively expensive Power and AntPool’s Pool Fees are entered,
along with the current Bitcoin price and all the relevant stats of the AntMiner S5.
The results are, as expected, highly unprofitable:
Red bracketed numbers indicate negative returns.
Even if Bitcoin price were to double to a new all-time high around $1400, the returns would remain negative.
However, if you’re able to bring your electricity costs below 10c per KWh, you could just about break even at the current price of ~$700.
So, given a much higher Bitcoin price, cheap power, stable Difficulty and perhaps modifications to improve efficiency, profiting from a new or used S5 is not impossible…
The S5 will produce 1 Gigahash for every 0.51 Watts it consumes. This figure can be expressed as 0.51 J/GH.
The S5’s real power consumption, as measured by your electric bill, will vary depending on your PSU’s efficiency and the ambient temperature.
0.51 J/GH is a lot more efficient than the S3 (0.78 J/GH) but a lot less efficient than the more expensive AntMiner S7 (0.25 J/GH) or S9 (0.098 J/GH) models. Traditionally, each new BitMain miner series doubles efficiency.
It’s possible to upgrade the S5’s hashrate, primarily by increasing its frequency (aka overclocking) but this increases the miner’s power and cooling requirements.
There are ways, ranging from simple to extreme, to manage the overclocking burdens. Gains of up to ~400 GH/s are achievable but require serious effort. This video demonstrates oil immersion cooling.
The S5 is open at the top and bottom and the sides are constructed of fairly lightweight plastic.
This limits the placement of the unit and somewhat reduces its safety. One upside of the plastic casing is that the unit only weight 2.5 kg. / 6.5 lbs.
The noise from a stock S5’s 120mm fan has been compared to an industrial vacuum.
It’s definitely an unsuitable device to run in your living environment; it’ll drown out conversation and irritate people or pets.
The only solution is to replace the stock ~75 decibel fan with a quieter kind. Often a secondary fan is added to the back-end, where screw holes exist for this purpose.
The S5 will automatically search out an available IP address to use and features an intuitive control panel.
The MinerLink software will allow you to monitor the status of your miner(s), easily configure your mining pool settings, upgrade the device’s firmware and share access privileges to the miner over a network connection.
The MinerLink interface.
Onboard temperature must be maintained below 80^C / 175^F. Keeping the onboard temperature below 60^C / 140^F will prolong the lifetime of the S5.
As with all miners, the lower the operating temperature, the higher they can be overclocked.
The S5 is unlikely to ever turn a profit, so it’s hard to justify the cost of buying one new.
That said, a cheap, second-hand S5 in decent condition is a great tool for learning the ropes of Bitcoin mining.
It represents a low-cost introduction to the complex business of Bitcoin mining.
The S5 is also a good platform to experiment with hardware, firmware and software tweaks and mods.
At roughly one tenth the price of the cutting-edge Antminer S9, the S5 is cheap enough to try potentially damaging operations like over/under-clocking and immersion cooling.
|Dragonmint 16T||16.0 TH/s||$2,729|
|Antminer S9||14.0 TH/s||$3,000|
|Antminer R4||8.6 TH/s||$1,000|
Spondoolies unfortunately shut down on May 4th 2016. In late 2014, they released the SP20. We are keeping the info here for historical purposes.
Spondoolies crammed a total of eight 28nm RockerBox ASIC mining chips onto 2 circuit boards within a compact form factor.
The SP20 is a neat miner, powerful for its low price with a size and noise level suitable for home miners.
The major drawback is its relative inefficiency. The SP20 draws a lot of power for its hashrate, which is low by modern standards.
Any ATX PSU of sufficient wattage (1200W+) will run the SP20 without problems.
In keeping with the SP20’s flexible design, you may also use dual lower wattage (750W+) PSUs to replace a single powerful PSU.
Unless you have free electricity, it’s highly unlikely the SP20 will ever pay for itself, never mind make a profit.
If we enter the SP20’s stats and some average costs into our mining profitability calculator :
the results are fairly poor:
Far less than a single BTC will be mined in a year, making the SP20 a waste of electricity.
The SP20 costs in the region of $110 from eBay.
The SP20 has a solid, rectangular metal housing which is easy to stack or store.
The SP20’s 120mm fan is quieter than the models in either the SP10 or SP30 models. Although it get noisier the faster and hotter the SP20 runs, it’s quiet enough to run in a home.
Spondoolies’ user interface provides all the configuration settings and monitoring information you’re likely to need.
The SP20 simplicity itself to setup. The GUI displays temperatures and hashrate for each individual chip, plus other vital info.
You can even use it to adjust voltages (within reason) on the board, to find that sweet spot between hashrate, power and heat.
The SP20 connects via Ethernet only.
This unit should be operated in environments below 35^C / 95^F. Due to its high power consumption, it generates a lot of heat.
At high processing speeds, the heat will cause the fan to become much louder.
The Spondoolies SP20 was a great mining device in its day. With the Bitcoin network’s current Difficulty, it no longer makes economic sense to run an SP20 given its low efficiency.
Unless there’s some specific hardware mod you’d like to perform with the SP20, it’s not a great purchase except as a piece of mining memorabilia (like USB miners).