Wonder why you can hear the sounds of pickaxes when you make breakfast?

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2014 - 12:01 PM |
Tagged: bitcoin, dogecoin, internet of things, cryptocurrency

Not content to ruin the hopes of gamers wanting to upgrade to a Hawaii based AMD GPU now your smart devices are being press ganged into mining crypto-currency.  Everything from TVs and fridges through printers, routers and security cameras can be infected with the linux.darlloz worm and will then begin mining for the author of the worm.  The worm will even block other infections and has even been monitored patching certain holes in routers to prevent anything else from infecting the device and slowing down the mining computations.  The Inquirer does have some humourous news about this worm, there are 31,716 separate IP addresses infected but this has manged to raise a mere $196.00 so for the author.

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"A WORM that leverages the Internet of Things to mine cryptocurrencies has been found to have infected around 31,000 devices."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Podcast #289 - Origin PC EOS-17 SLX Gaming Laptop, Mining on a 750Ti, News from MWC and more!

Subject: General Tech | February 27, 2014 - 12:48 PM |
Tagged: x240, video, tegra, podcast, origin, nvidia, MWC, litecoin, Lenovo, Intel, icera, eos 17 slx, dogecoin, bitcoin, atom, amd, 750ti

PC Perspective Podcast #289 - 02/27/2014

Join us this week as we discuss the Origin PC EOS-17 SLX Gaming Laptop, Mining on a 750Ti, News from MWC and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

 
This podcast is brought to you by Coolermaster, and the CM Storm Pulse-R Gaming Headset!
 
Program length: 1:17:30
  1. Week in Review:
  2. 0:21:48 This podcast is brought to you by Coolermaster, and the CM Storm Pulse-R Gaming Headset
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
  5. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

NVIDIA Coin Mining Performance Increases with Maxwell and GTX 750 Ti

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 20, 2014 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, mining, maxwell, litecoin, gtx 750 ti, geforce, dogecoin, coin, bitcoin, altcoin

As we have talked about on several different occasions, Altcoin mining (anything that is NOT Bitcoin specifically) is a force on the current GPU market whether we like it or not. Traditionally, Miners have only bought AMD-based GPUs, due to the performance advantage when compared to their NVIDIA competition. However, with continued development of the cudaMiner application over the past few months, NVIDIA cards have been gaining performance in Scrypt mining.

The biggest performance change we've seen yet has come with a new version of cudaMiner released yesterday. This new version (2014-02-18) brings initial support for the Maxwell architecture, which was just released yesterday in the GTX 750 and 750 Ti. With support for Maxwell, mining starts to become a more compelling option with this new NVIDIA GPU.

With the new version of cudaMiner on the reference version of the GTX 750 Ti, we were able to achieve a hashrate of 263 KH/s, impressive when you compare it to the performance of the previous generation, Kepler-based GTX 650 Ti, which tops out at about 150KH/s or so.

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As you may know from our full GTX 750 Ti Review,  the GM107 overclocks very well. We were able to push our sample to the highest offset configurable of +135 MHz, with an additional 500 MHz added to the memory frequency, and 31 mV bump to the voltage offset. All of this combined to a ~1200 MHz clockspeed while mining, and an additional 40 KH/s or so of performance, bringing us to just under 300KH/s with the 750 Ti.

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As we compare the performance of the 750 Ti to AMD GPUs and previous generation NVIDIA GPUs, we start to see how impressive the performance of this card stacks up considering the $150 MSRP. For less than half the price of the GTX 770, and roughly the same price as a R7 260X, you can achieve the same performance.

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When we look at power consumption based on the TDP of each card, this comparison only becomes more impressive. At 60W, there is no card that comes close to the performance of the 750 Ti when mining. This means you will spend less to run a 750 Ti than a R7 260X or GTX 770 for roughly the same hash rate.

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Taking a look at the performance per dollar ratings of these graphics cards, we see the two top performers are the AMD R7 260X and our overclocked GTX 750 Ti.

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However, when looking at the performance per watt differences of the field, the GTX 750 Ti looks more impressive. While most miners may think they don't care about power draw, it can help your bottom line. By being able to buy a smaller, less efficient power supply the payoff date for the hardware is moved up.  This also bodes well for future Maxwell based graphics cards that we will likely see released later in 2014.  

Continue reading our look at Coin Mining performance with the GTX 750 Ti and Maxwell!!

AMD Radeon R9 290X Hits $900 on Newegg. Thanks *coin

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 14, 2014 - 03:02 PM |
Tagged: supply shortage, shortage, R9 290X, podcast, litecoin, dogecoin, bitcoin

UPDATE (Feb 14th, 11pm ET): As a commenter has pointed out below, suddenly, as if by magic, Newegg has lowered prices on the currently in stock R9 290X cards by $200.  That means you can currently find them for $699 - only $150 over the expected MSRP.  Does that change anything about what we said above or in the video?  Not really.  It only lowers the severity.

I am curious to know if this was done by Newegg voluntarily due to pressure from news stories such as these, lack of sales at $899 or with some nudging from AMD...

If you have been keeping up with our podcasts and reviews, you will know that AMD cards are great compute devices for their MSRP. This is something that cryptocurrency applies a value to. Run a sufficient amount of encryption tasks and you are rewarded with newly created tokens (or some fee from validated transactions). Some people seem to think that GPUs are more valuable for that purpose than their MSRP, so retailers raise prices and people still buy them.

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Currently, the cheapest R9 290X is being sold for $900. This is a 64% increase over AMD's intended $549 MSRP. They are not even the ones receiving this money!

This shortage also affects other products such as Corsair's 1200W power supply. Thankfully, only certain components are necessary for mining (mostly GPUs and a lot of power) so at least we are not seeing the shortage spread to RAM, CPUs, APUs, and so forth. We noted a mining kit on Newegg which was powered by a Sempron processor. This line of cheap and low-performance CPUs has not been updated since 2009.

We have kept up with GPU shortages, historically. We did semi-regular availability checks during the GeForce GTX 680 and 690 launch windows. The former was out of stock for over two months after its launch. Those also sometimes strayed from their MSRP, slightly.

Be sure to check out the clip (above) for a nice, 15-minute discussion.

Boutique PC Vendor Xidax Now Accepting Bitcoin Payments

Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 9, 2014 - 12:10 AM |
Tagged: xidax, gaming pc, bitcoin

Xidax Performance PC, a new boutique PC vendor founded in early 2013 has announced that it is now accepting Bitcoin for payment of its custom-built gaming computers. Reportedly in response to customer demand, Xidax has added bitcoin to its payment options, which are available upon configuring a PC on the website.

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Xidax Executive Operations Officer Zack Shutt has stated the following in a press release:

“We will do whatever it takes to make custom PC buying easier and give Xidax customers more options,” said Shutt. “We’re intrigued by the growing bitcoin phenomenon and we are happy to provide bitcoin users an easy, secure way to order a custom built PC.”

The bitcoins are handled through a bitcoin payment processor where it can then be converted back to USD (as Xidax is a US-based company). It is interesting to see a PC vendor accepting Bitcoin as it is now possible to purchase an entire, custom built, PC from a major company using funds gathered from mining on a PC (albeit alt-coins converted to BTC or a stockpile of BTC from when GPU mining was still effective). More options are nice, and bitcoin does offer a secure way to pay free of high fees from the likes of Paypal and credit card processors.

What do you think about Xidax accepting bitcoin? Will it add more credibility and/or usefulness to the digital cryptocurrency?

Read more about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining @ PC Perspective.

Source: Xidax

Bitcoin StarCraft Challenge Right Now!

Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2013 - 09:43 AM |
Tagged: Starcraft II, esports, bitcoin

Update: The main series prize pool was increased to 14 BTC in addition to 1 BTC for the intro match.

So Bitcoins are becoming popular and a legitimate currency. TotalBiscuit decided to create a StarCraft 2 tournament where they are the prize. At the time of the announcement, the 12 Bitcoin prize was valued at about $10,000. Currently, after a little issue in China, it is worth about $7000 to $8000 USD. The English casters are TotalBiscuit and IdrA with several other languages provided including Portuguese and Vietnamese.

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The headlining act is Scarlett versus NaNiwa in a best of 7 matchup. Also, they just announced an opening act for a single Bitcoin prize: iNcontroL versus Destiny in a best of 3. The latter pairing are two very comedic personalities. iNcontroL was a prominent player in the Starcraft: Brood War era while Destiny got popular in the StarCraft 2 Beta through Wings of Liberty.

Still no MULEs to mine Bitcoins though.

The stream is running now at TotalBiscuit's Twitch account.

The VoDs will be available later at his Youtube. Update: The specific playlist is here.

Read on after the teaser break for spoilers as we update throughout the event. Update: The match is now over. The full article contains summaries of each game.

Source: TotalBiscuit

StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm Exhibition Match for Bitcoins!

Subject: General Tech | December 16, 2013 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: Starcraft II, HoTS, bitcoin

Bitcoin Starcraft Challenge is a show match between Scarlett, the Zerg player from Canada, and NaNiwa, the Protoss player from Sweden. These are two of the best 25 players in the world and, with TLO, the only top-25 players from outside of South Korea (although they each spent substantial time training there at some point).

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Of course the interesting part is that they are playing for Bitcoins, 12 of them, which has a value of roughly $10,000 USD. Thankfully there is no Terrans to drop MULEs otherwise the whole economy would collapse (I troll, they are balanced all things considered).

TotalBiscuit and other (currently TBD) announcers will commentate the event, this Saturday, at noon EST. The event will be best of 7 and streamed by TotalBiscuit on Twitch; the VoDs will be later available on his Youtube page. It should be a very interesting event.

This will probably be the most efficient way to acquire Bitcoins with your GPU for quite some time.

Source: TeamLiquid

Video Perspective: GPU Shortages and Litecoin Mining Discussion

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 12, 2013 - 02:20 PM |
Tagged: video, amd, radeon, hawaii, r9 290, R9 290X, bitcoin, litecoin, mining

If you already listened to this weeks PC Perspective Podcast, then feel free to disregard this post.  For the rest of you - subscribe to our damned weekly podcast would you already?!?

In any event, I thought it might be interesting to extract this 6 minute discussion we had during last nights live streamed podcast about how the emergence of Litecoin mining operations is driving up prices of GPUs, particularly the compute-capable R9 290 and R9 290X Hawaii-based cards from AMD.

Check out these prices currently on Amazon!

The price of the GTX 770 is a bit higher than it should be while the GTX 780 and GTX 780 Ti are priced in the same range they have been for the last month or so.  The same cannot be said for the AMD cards listed here - the R9 280X is selling for $130 more than its expected MSRP at a minimum but you'll see quite a few going for much higher on Amazon, Ebay (thanks TR) and others.  The Radeon R9 290 has an MSRP of $399 from AMD but the lowest price we found on Amazon was $499 and anything on Newegg.com is showing at the same price, but sold out.  The R9 290X is even more obnoxiously priced when you can find them.

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Do you have any thoughts on this?  Do you think Litecoin mining is really causing these price inflations and what does that mean for AMD, NVIDIA and the gamer?

Seasonic PSUs Will Power HashFast Bitcoin Miners

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Systems | October 22, 2013 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: seasonic, Power Supplies, mining, bitcoin, asic

Seasonic (Sea Sonic Electronics) has announced a design win that will see its power supplies used in HashFast’s bitcoin mining rigs. The upcoming HashFast mining rigs feature the company’s “Golden Nonce” ASIC(s) and all-in-one water coolers. HashFast has a single ASIC Baby Jet and multi-ASIC Sierra rig. Both units will be available December 15 starting at $2,250 and $6,300 respectively.

The Seasonic power supplies are high efficiency models with Japanese capacitors and at least 80 PLUS Bronze. On the high end, Seasonic has PSUs that are up to 93% efficient. HashFast stated that it chose Seasonic for its mining rigs because of the build quality and efficiency. The Baby Jet and Sierra mining rigs allow users to overclock the ASICs, and the systems can be rather demanding on PSUs.

HashFast Baby Jet BTC Miner.jpg

The Golden Nonce ASIC is a 28nm chip that is rated at 400 GHash/s and 0.65 Watts per Gigahash.

Beyond that, the companies have not gone into specifics. It is good news for Seasonic, and should mean a stable system for bitcoin miners (the 93% efficiency rating is nice as well, as it means less wasted electricity and slightly more bitcoin mining profit).

The full press blast is below for reference.

Read more about Bitcoin @ PC Perspective!

Source: Seasonic

Bitcoin Block Reward Halved to 25BTC

Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2012 - 10:35 PM |
Tagged: mining, gpu, btc, block reward halving, block reward, bitcoin

Earlier this week, the 50BTC reward given to miners that successfully find blocks of Bitcoin transactions was halved to 25BTC. This means that the gross income of miners is now half of what it has been since the cryptocurrency’s inception. As a result, many miners – especially those using graphics cards – will have to re-evaluate their net earnings to determine if they are still making any profits from mining coins after hardware and electricity costs are taken into consideration.

Bitcoin Clock.jpg

As an example, when mining bitcoins using a single shader-unlocked AMD Radeon HD 6950 graphics card, I was able to obtain approximately 0.12 BTC per day. Now, because the reward is cut in half, I am able to make about 0.06 BTC per day. Unfortunately, that is approximately the same amount of BTC (when converted to USD) that it costs in electricity to run, negating profits. Technically, according to Allchains.info, I am (just barely) still profitable with a net profit of $0.076 USD per day after electricity costs. As the exchange rate has gone up slightly, it is a bit more than that in actuality but it is still a good estimation of profitability. There are also non-monetary costs associated with mining bitcoins in the form of the extra heat and noise generated by the graphics card being run under load 24/7. And at $0.076 cents a day, it really does not seem worth it anymore. Then again, it does act as a room heater in the winter and it at least subsidizes part of the cost of heating the room (heh) even if it does not pay out much more than it costs to run.

It will be interesting to see how miners react, especially once the colder months are behind us. Some Bitcoin miners have moved on to alternative cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin and Terracoin, however that has caused the difficulty of mining LTC to double without an equal increase in exchange rate which has actually made mining LTC less profitable than mining BTC (d'oh!).

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The reward halving is not an unexpected event, and, in fact, it has been intentionally executed by the bitcoin developers to prevent inflation. Just as the mining difficulty adjusts every 2016 blocks, every four years the reward is cut in half until mining blocks no longer provides rewards (with the intention that transaction fees will provide all of the incentive to mine from then one). As such, many miners knew about it before hand, and planned accordingly. Some miners sold off their rigs, others (mostly those with free electricity) are continuing to mine, and yet other miners moved to alternative cryptocurrencies. (That's not to mention those that mine for the purpose of securing the network which is not always a profitable (albeit necessary) pursuit.)

Interestingly, the difficulty of Bitcoin is estimated to increase rather than decrease with the upcoming adjustment despite the reward split and a certain number of users moving away from mining. This may be the result of miners speculating that the price (exchange rate of USD/BTC) will increase and/or that other miners will drop off and the difficulty will begin to decrease at some point. Miners with lage farms of gaphics cards may also be able to hold out despite the block reward halving as they have enough hashing power to keep profits at a worthwile level. While my single card is only making about $18 a month now (versus ~35+), users with more cards can still be seeing sizable returns. So long as profits are there, mining will continue, though newcomers looking to invest in mining rigs are less likely to join in the current climate (seemingly vaporware ASICs notwithstanding). There may also be users that are mining solely for BTC that they will hoard or spend with merchants (like WordPress) that accept bitcoins without concern for exchanging to USD or other national currencies. 

In all, there are an astounding number of factors surrounding the block reward halving along with many theories about what will happen as a result of it. At this point, it is still to early to tell, but It will be interesting to see which theories hold true.

Read more about the bitcoin cryptocurrency and how mining works at PC Perspective.

What do you think about the bitcoin reward being cut in half? How will it effect you, and will you continue to mine at the current exchange rate and difficulty? Let us know in the comments below (no registration required).

Source: Bitcoinclock