Mining Journey

My mining journey

I first became interested in bitcoin mining in 2012, but by then my hardware was not good enough to generate any meaningful results without buying costly dedicated hardware know as ASICS, so I canned the idea. With 20/20 hindsight, this was probably a mistake, especially  with the growth of cryptocurrencies.

So in Jun 2017 at the peak of the Ethereum price bubble I decided to try it and not simply can the idea again.

I must admit with my limited to almost no experience with cryptocurrencies, mining hardwar/software and rigs, it was a interesting and confusing journey. Just like this article, there is a lot of people who shared how they configured their systems, the mods they did and their results.

I did jump a bit to quickly  (twice) which resulted in money wasted. First I bought an inadequate RX460 2G card, the card would have worked if it wasnt for the 2G cards just becoming obsolete for Ethereum at that exact moment in time. Which I didnt know. I did manage to sell the card, but at a loss.

My second lesson was online scammers, I was scammed out of my deposit from a gumtree seller, so buy from reputable people, and dont simply trust sellers if you cant meet face to face.

I ended up buying an NVIDIA GTX1070 mini card new. I thought that the card will be good for a while and will as a minimum be able to pay for itself (verdict still out on this one). I went for a mini because I was worried that the card might not fit in my case. I was right, the bigger cards are simply to long and since I didnt have a gaming case the horizontal space is limited.

With the card installed, I opted for Windows 10, which came with the PC, so now I had to decide on which coins to mine, mining software and solo mining vs pool mining

One has to take a moment at this step and consider reliability (pool, mining software) and fees (pool and software). It does feel that everyone is taking their pound of flesh for all your efforts.

With the current price and growth I decided to mine Ethereum, even though the GTX are suppose to perform better mining ZCASH.

Miner software developers want e.g. 1% mining fee, the mining pool want 1% fee, electricity cost of your miner, and then there is also still the fees associated with transferring and converting the cryptocurrnacy in to real cash (FIAT).

Nicehash was also a nice option since you use there software frontend, and they determime what to mine to maximise profitability, and they pay in BTC. Unfortuanlty they are not a viable option any more since they claim they’ve been “hacked”  and all Bitcoins stolen.

There are PLENTY of mining software available, but not all are created equal. I selected Claymore dual minersimply because of its dual mining facility and its apparent better performance.

Claymore is command line, no GUI, so if you are not familiar with command line utilities it might be a bit confusing, but once your batch file is configured you good to go.

I started with Claymore 9.6 and the single GTX1070, all went well, I got 29/300 on Eth/DCR which I was happy with. System also appeared stable with my overclocked setting at 70% power limit, 70C Max Temp, +244 CPU clock and +788 GPU clock. The system ran without any hiccups until I bought my Sapphire Nitro+ RX580 8G.

This is where things got interesting and depressing.

Initially I removed the GTX1070 while configuring the 580 to prevent issues. I downloaded and installed 16.9.1 AMD drivers as recommended, Downloaded updated BIOS for my Hynix memory, flashed the rom and thought now I am good to go.

I updated my batch file with the overclock settings as most sites stat 1200/2150 and undervolted to 850/850.

I started claymore but the settings does not take. After quite some googling I discovered that for AMD, to be able to see the clocks/temp/fan speed, ect a monitor must actually be connected to the card. So I moved my screen to the hdmi port and tried agian.

This time the system just crashed, black screen, not even a BSOD.

When the AMD blockchain driver was launched i installed it, this seem to more stable, amd the depenancy to be connected to a monitor is also  removed.

I ran the card for  week ad it was stable as a rock, no issues wat so ever. I then reinstalled the nvidia card, this caused random system crashes. At present I think it is either psu related or the fact that I am mixing AMD and NVIDIA.

But mecesasty breeds innovation, so idecided to develop my own watchdog module to momitor my pc and power cycle if it hung. This is working great.

for details on the developed module click here

Once the hardware and software was sorted, i needed to finalize my mining pool,wallet,ect.

I opted for nanopool, mainly because I like their user interface.

Since I am sure comfgured for dual mining, i opted for decred and to use nicehash for the secondary coin. I know the verdict is still out on them but they are my best option.

Mining decred directly is possible but then you need a wallet that can support it, and a way of converting to your desired currency. This is why I decided on nicehash. They pay in bitcoin.