Astute readers of the site might remember the original story we did on Bitcoin mining in 2011, the good ole' days where the concept of the blockchain was new and exciting and mining Bitcoin on a GPU was still plenty viable.
However, that didn't last long, as the race for cash lead people to developing Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) dedicated solely to Bitcoin mining quickly while sipping power. Use of the expensive ASICs drove the difficulty of mining Bitcoin to the roof and killed any sort of chance of profitability from mere mortals mining cryptocurrency.
Cryptomining saw a resurgence in late 2013 with the popular adoption of alternate cryptocurrencies, specifically Litecoin which was based on the Scrypt algorithm instead of AES-256 like Bitcoin. This meant that the ASIC developed for mining Bitcoin were useless. This is also the period of time that many of you may remember as the "Dogecoin" era, my personal favorite cryptocurrency of all time.
Defenders of these new "altcoins" claimed that Scrypt was different enough that ASICs would never be developed for it, and GPU mining would remain viable for a larger portion of users. As it turns out, the promise of money always wins out, and we soon saw Scrypt ASICs. Once again, the market for GPU mining crashed.
That brings us to today, and what I am calling "Third-wave Cryptomining."
While the mass populous stopped caring about cryptocurrency as a whole, the dedicated group that was left continued to develop altcoins. These different currencies are based on various algorithms and other proofs of works (see technologies like Storj, which use the blockchain for a decentralized Dropbox-like service!).
As you may have predicted, for various reasons that might be difficult to historically quantify, there is another very popular cryptocurrency from this wave of development, Ethereum.
Ethereum is based on the Dagger-Hashimoto algorithm and has a whole host of different quirks that makes it different from other cryptocurrencies. We aren't here to get deep in the woods on the methods behind different blockchain implementations, but if you have some time check out the Ethereum White Paper. It's all very fascinating.
Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2017 - 04:02 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asrock, H110, Skylake, bitcoin, cryptocurrency, mining, storj, computex, computex 2017
ASRock showed off an upcoming motherboard at Computex that features 13 PCI-Express slots and is aimed squarely at crypto currency miners. The new H110 Pro BTC+ is an ATX board based on Intel’s H110 chipset and LGA 1151 socket (Skylake CPUs). The board is dominated by 12 PCI-E x1 slots and a single PCI-E x16 slot (I suppose for mounting a SAS card and Burst mining or running Storj heh), but it also has slots for two DDR4 DIMMs, a single M.2 port, and four SATA ports. The board also supports Intel Gigabit Ethernet, ELNA audio, USB 3.0 and DVI and HDMI video outputs for the Intel iGPU.
The upcoming board is powered by a 24 pin ATX, 8 pin EPS, and two Molex connectors for the PCI-E slots. The H110 Pro BTC+ appears to have a decent power phase setup for an H110 motherboard as well. ASRock showed off the motherboard running eight GPUs on Windows at Computex, though with Linux it is possible go beyond that and run all 13 GPUs. The H110 chipset does mean that miners would need to spend money on a newer CPU and DDR4 memory, but they would save money by buying fewer motherboards and/or port multipliers.
Exact specifications along with pricing and availability are still unknown, but expect the mining crowd to jump on this so if you are interested in it be sure to set up email alerts for when it will become available so that you can get in before the miners make it go out of stock everywhere like the RX 580s! (heh)
Subject: General Tech | February 24, 2017 - 03:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: storj, farming, bitcoin
Startup company Storj has a new twist on an old service, they are offering secure, distributed storage but the storage is located on hard drives which consumers are renting to them. You can set up an account and get 1.5 cents per gigabyte you give to them. You certainly are not going to get rich running out and buying some SSDs to use but if you have a few old HDDs kicking around perhaps you would like to make a few crypto-coins on the side. They current have 8200 farmers and more than 15000 users so there is certainly some interest. On the other hand residential internet stability and the reliability of consumer hard drives could lead to unexpected interruptions to your access. Drop by The Register for links to sign up for the service or sell some space if you are interested.
"The network consists of the internet and a shared community of “farmers”, users who rent out their spare desktop hard drive space and bandwidth. Payment, at $0.015/GB, is via a cryptocurrency: namely, Bitcoin."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- LG's Latest Battery Is Also a Phone @ Slashdot
- What to expect at MWC: Five flagship smartphones and the return of the brick @ Ars Technica
- Google makes a mockery of SHA-1 with 'first' collision attack @ The Inquirer
- Intel scales Atom to 16 cores, updates Xeon SoCs @ The Register
- iOS 10.2.1 has fixed battery shutdown issue for majority of suffering iPhone users @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2014 - 03:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- MSI Shows Off New Gaming Notebooks @ Kitguru
- Exclusive Interview with Richard Huddy from Intel at GDC @ Kitguru
- Top 10 Google Chromecast apps you should install @ The Inquirer
- Azure promises to guard virtual machines against migration dangers @ The Register
- 'Software amplifier' boosts quantum signals @ The Register
- Intel Desktop Roadmap Update - Devil's Canyon, Broadwell @ Legit Reviews
- Intel Talks Haswell-E, Broadwell, Devil's Canyon & More @ Hardware Canucks
- Intel to renew commitment to desktop PCs with a slew of new CPUs
- We're being royalty screwed! Pandora blames price rise on musos wanting money @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | February 27, 2014 - 03:48 PM | Ken Addison
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!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
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- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano
Week in Review:
0:21:48 This podcast is brought to you by Coolermaster, and the CM Storm Pulse-R Gaming Headset
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 20, 2014 - 05:45 PM | Ken Addison
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 14, 2014 - 06:02 PM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 9, 2014 - 03:10 AM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2013 - 12:43 PM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech | December 16, 2013 - 04:20 PM | Scott Michaud
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).
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.