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.
|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.
Mining is not the fastest way to get bitcoins.
Buying bitcoin with a debit card is the fastest way.
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.
We recommend purchasing the Dragonmint or the Antminer S9.
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.
The best way to determine actual profitability is to figure out your electricity cost per hash. That is really what will make or break your operation.
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.
You can find Bitcoin mining equipment for sale on eBay.
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 S19.
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.
Some GPUs were made solely for mining Bitcoin, as you can see demonstrated in the video below:
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 as more and more hashing power was consolidated into a handful of mining companies, 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.
It has since been discounted steeply and is available from Bitmain at $440 (when in stock), plus shipping. It can also be bought new at $545 or second-hand at $500 from Amazon.
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 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.
AntMiner S9: Game Changer for Hobbyist Miners?
Bitcoin’s Difficulty has recorded several strong and often consecutive monthly increases since its creation, and especially from late November 2015.
Difficulty has nearly tripled since then, climbing from520,569,941GH/s to the current record high of 1,426,731,353 GH/s.
This peak was reached on May 24th 2016. Such tremendous growth has been spurred by major investment into Bitcoin mining technology and operations.
While such growth is impressive, making Bitcoin the world’s most powerful computing network by far, one unintended consequence of such rapid growth has been increased centralisation.
Profits have accumulated where mining is most profitable (China), with the result that several competing operations (eg. KNC) have been forced out of the industry.
We have tried to calculate the amount of money that the Chinese have invested in mining, we estimate it to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Even with free electricity we cannot see how they will ever get this money back. Either they don’t know what they are doing, but that is not very likely at this scale or they have some secret advantage that we don’t know about. – Sam Cole, KNC CEO
The same Chinese competitive advantage has been doubly effective at squeezing the profit-dependent hobbyist miner from the market.
At this stage, most home or office miners aren’t hashing to earn money but rather to support the network, aid decentralisation and possibly even to heat space.
With the block reward halving looming, the profitability of all but the most efficient operations will likely be challenged.
Given that profits derived from the current generation of mining hardware are dwindling and will likely reach negative returns post-halving:
Can the new S9 change the game for smaller and hobby miners and restore their lost profitability?
Mining is not the fastest way to get bitcoins.
Buying bitcoin with a debit card is the fastest way.
The first batch of S9s will be available for order directly from Bitmain from the 12th of June.
At $2100 on Amazon, the S9 is far from cheap. However, the lower your electricity costs, the better your odds of the miner paying for itself within a reasonable timeframe.
Naturally, much depends on the Difficulty and Bitcoin price.
As smaller manufacturing processes become standard across the industry and as other manufacturers release competing hardware, the S9’s price can be expected to fall appreciably over the coming months.
Bi Wang launched its 14nm chips in the winter of 2016 and BitFury’s own 16nm architecture hardware, promising fantastic power efficiency at 0.06 J/GH, also came around that time.
Judging value in this space is a complicated exercise, although it would appear that nothing vastly technologically-superior to the S9 is likely to be released in the near future.
The release cycle of a new generation of mining hardware every few months is likely to decelerate from this point on, as manufacturers have transitioned to cutting-edge 16 and 14nm designs.
|Antminer S9||14.0 TH/s||$3,000|
|Antminer R4||8.6 TH/s||$1,000|
The on-going miniaturisation of semiconductors allows ever greater computing power and electrical efficiency, but the process cannot continue forever with the current technology.
Many have remarked that Moore’s law no longer holds true, as the rate of computing speed advancement has slowed as it reaches the physical limitations of silicon semiconductor technology.
The 16 nm fabrication process used in the manufacture of the S9 is a major improvement upon the 28 nm design common to other modern mining devices.
Although a 10nm process is on the horizon for 2017, further increases beyond that remain theoretical.
Further, the design and manufacture of any 10nm Bitcoin mining hardware is likely to take at least a year.
You can't mine bitcoins with an Antminer S9 without a wallet.
Our guide on the best bitcoin wallets will help you get one fast and for free. Read it here!
The good news is that existing power supplies, at least those of sufficient wattage, are fully compatible with the S9.
Recommended for use with the S9 are:
The S9 has more hashing power than any previous device crammed into its silicon; a massive 14 TH/s (TeraHash per second).
A total of 189 chips, spread over 3 circuit boards, are combined to achieve this phenomenal hashrate.
Excluding a 15 brief TH/s spike which occurred late 2011, a single S9 unit boasts a hashrate equivalent to the peak capacity of the entire Bitcoin network from its bootstrapping until mid-2012!
Let’s calculate the projected profits from all that hashpower via our Bitcoin mining calculator :
Note that Power Cost will be specific to your location and that Difficulty changes every 2 weeks, usually to the upside…
Although keep in mind that post-halving, it’s entirely possible that a lot of marginal miners will be forced to either upgrade to better hardware or shut down.
Your Pool Fees will be determined by your mining pool; although the S9 is plenty powerful, a single unit is highly unlikely to find any blocks when solo-mining.
Finally, the Bitcoin to Dollar (USD) price is notorious for its constant state of flux.
According to the above inputs, the S9 will produce** 0.285 BTC / $159 per month** and 3.36 BTC / $1939 per year.
These puts Return on Investment (ROI) slightly above one year!
Of course, such impressive results assume all factors stay constant which is hugely improbable in the ever-changing world of Bitcoin!
The cutting-edge manufacturing process is what makes the S9 the most electrically-efficient mining device to date.
It uses a mere 0.1 Joules per Gigahash, making it roughly 2.5 times more efficient than the Antminer S7.
The total power consumption of the device works out to around 1350 watts, although this figure is subject to about 7% of variance. The S9 consumes about 300W more than the S7.
Apart from the power supply, the S9 is a self-contained unit. It requires no connection to another computer to interface with other Bitcoin nodes.
Its onboard web management portal allows for a simplified setup and maintenance process.
The S9 is air-cooled and its sturdy design is fairly easy to maintain and service.
The S9 performs reliably in any well-ventilated space, whether a single or several unit(s) kept in a spare room or hundreds to thousands of units in a large mining center.
Based on the data and results calculated above, yes.
But! as major miners upgrade to S9s and other advanced hardware, the resultant Difficulty increases are likely to erode future profitability.
On the other hand, the halving could bring about a higher Bitcoin price and reduced competition, increasing profitability.
Ultimately, the S9 is a great piece of hardware although currently rather expensive.
It is likely to remain profitable for far longer than previous generations of ASIC miner, although ROI cannot be guaranteed given the inherent unpredictability of Bitcoin mining.
Bitmain is regarded as one of the most influential companies in the ASIC mining industry. It is estimated that they have manufactured approximately 53% of all mining equipment.
Without including their mining profits, that’s around $140 million dollars in sales. These figures are staggering, but Bitmain’s monopoly of the Bitcoin ASIC market may come to an end, following the release of Halong Mining’s DragonMint 16T ASIC.
Halong Mining is no longer around. It seems they could not compete with the already established ASIC manufacturers, most likely because they could never fill their orders and get the partsd they needed to produce enough miners to make money. You can still find some DragonMint 16T’s used if you look hard enough but they are rare.
Below are some of the specs for the DragonMint 16T if you are interested in looking for one.
The DragonMint 1600W power supply is strongly recommended, though not mandatory. Each miner requires its own individual power supply. They can be purchased directly from Halong Mining’s website.
Professional mining hardware runs optimally at 220-240V, hence why mining farms step down their own electricity supply to 220-240V. In any case, it would be a good idea to buy the DragonMint power supply.
Note that 220V current is only found outside of the US – American outlets are 110V by default. Unless you want to hire an electrician, you’ll have to buy a power supply rated at 110V such as the Rosewill 1600W 80+ Gold Certified power supply. These PSUs will get the job done, but they are not ideal for optimum mining performance.
Thanks to the DragonMint 16T’s new DM8575 generation of ASIC chips, the 16T has become the most electrically-efficient miner on the market.
Consuming merely 0.075J/GH, or 1480W from the wall, the 16T is 30% more electrically-efficient than the Antminer S9. Keep in mind that exact power consumptions vary, especially depending on which power supply you are using.
The DragonMint 16T has a hasrate of 16TH/s.
While Halong Mining’s ASIC technology was impressive when it was first released, much like the Antminer S9, the DragonMint 16T no longer profitable even if your electricity costs are incredibly cheap (less than $0.02).
Take a look at the projected mining profitability of a single miner:
The Antminer R4 is BitMain’s latest and most unique Bitcoin miner yet. We’re here to put all of the most important information in one place in this review.
The Antminer R4 hashes at up to 8.6 TH/s, making it the second fastest miner behind the Antminer S9 and just ahead of the Antminer S7.
The R4’s efficiency of 0.098 J/GHs is tied with the S9 as the most efficient Bitcoin miner on the market. Here is a direct quote from Bitmain’s website:
Bitmain’s BM1387 chip is built using TSMC’s 16nm FinFET technology and, delivering a record-breaking 0.098 J/GHs, is the world’s most efficient bitcoin mining chip in the consumer market.
The R4 is so efficient because it uses the 126 of Bitmain’s new BM1387 ASIC Chips, which are 16nm chips. BitFury was the first company to release 16nm chips.
As the saying goes nothing good comes cheap. With all the awesome features that come with the Antminer R4 you would expect its price to be high. One Antminer R4 costs $1,000. Its price is among its cons because this may be too high for the average hobby miner.
Once you setup your Antminer R4 you will see that its user interface has been well designed with the users in mind.
It’s very easy to use.
All you have to do is enter your wallet address and mining pool settings before you start mining. It is also possible for you to customize settings such as the fan speed or the frequency.
Most of the hobby miners reading this article actually want to make money from hashing.
With that in mind let’s have an in-depth look at the profitability of Antminer R4:
With a hash rate of 8.6 TH/s, the Antminer R4 is the second most powerful miner, second to the Antminer S9.
It has a power consumption of approximately 845 Watts at the wall using an APW5 PSU power supply.
Rest easy because most homes have an outlet that can handle 845 Watts safely but also expect your electricity bills to rise significantly.
Consider an investment of about $1,000 for the Antminer R4 and about $240 for the APW5 PSU.
The mining profit calculator reports at the then current price of $574 Bitcoin price, it would take you approximately 527 days to return your investment provided your power cost doesn’t exceed $0.10 per KwH.
Of course we assume that all factors remain constant which is almost impossible in the ever-changing world of Bitcoin.
This means that the Antminer R4 will eventually produce a profit, but only if the network hash rate, Bitcoin price, and electricity costs stay the same. All of those factors are a big IF, since the network difficulty almost always increases.
So you are definitely taking on risk with this miner, and it may not be worth your time despite the many benefits it provides over other hardware.
|Antminer S9||14.0 TH/s||$3,000|
|Antminer R4||8.6 TH/s||$1,000|
One of the most unique features of Antminer R4 is that it was designed to ensure the least possible sound with the maximum hash rate.
Antminer R4 replaces the traditional fan with a rotary blade system. The traditional fan has been the biggest source of noise for other mining hardware.
The Antminer R4 fan was inspired by the fan of a silent split air conditioner and it reduces the noise of a standard miner by 50% at a noise level of 51 db. Its fan speed is controlled automatically, ensuring that the noise is regulated.
Antminer R4 uses the most advanced Power Supply Unit (PSU) to date. Bitmain recommends the use of an APW5 power supply.
The APW5 works with both 220v and 110v input to deliver 2600 Watts and 1300 Watts respectively. The APW5 retails for about $240.
The Antminer R4 employs the Xilinx’s ZYNQ-7000 family system-on-a-chip that integrates a feature-rich core ARM Cortez – A9 based processing system.
It also uses 28nm Xilinx programmable logic. It supports Gigabit Ethernet to ensure that mined blocks are submitted instantly.
Mining bitcoins at home has almost become an impossible task these days.
Not only are the devices expensive but they also generate a lot of heat and noise, not to mention the amount of electricity they consume.
This makes it uncomfortable and almost impossible to make any profit!
Unlike with the Antminer S9, S7, or Antminer S5, with Antminer R4, Bitmain is targeting the home Bitcoin miner market.
It is a home Bitcoin miner that may actually turn a profit, unlike Bitcoin USB miners.
Some of these problems mentioned above have been addressed and as a miner you can do it as a hobby while also making some money.
This home Bitcoin miner is not only a good fit for hobby miners but also helps to improve the decentralization of Bitcoin mining as a whole.
The more distributed the hash power, the stronger the Bitcoin network!