litecoin mining

It is now considered too late for hobbyists without costly ASIC processors to begin mining bitcoins, a lot of the alternative digital currencies are still fitted well for mining on your home computer. In this guide, we will go over all you need to know to start mining a couple litecoins, feathercoins or dogecoins without the need for any extra expensive equipment.

Mainly, cryptocurrencies employ either SHA-256 or scrypt as their proof-of-work hashing algorithm, though many of the newer currencies have chosen scrypt. Scrypt seems to be the more memory driven of the two – despite, home PCs with reasonably powerful graphics cards can still mine those cryptocurrencies effectively, as there no ASIC’s to compete with as of yet. Shockingly, it’s still very possible to just use your computer’s CPU to mine digital currencies.

Wallets at the ready

Before you can start mining, you need a wallet to hold your coins. A solid option is to go to the website of the currency you plan to mine and download the default wallet app. If you need any additional help and advice, majority of altcoins have community forums, as well as their own subreddit. Most wallets are based on the original Bitcoin-Qt client. Be warned, though, that before these wallets are really usable, you may deal with a lengthy wait while the coin’s whole block chain downloads.

The need for speed

Unless you have particular mining hardware, there are two ways to mine crpytocurrencies: with your central processing unit or with your graphics-processing unit. Out of the two, a GPU offers a more enhanced performance for the cryptographic calculations needed. Though, a laptop with Intel integrated graphics, will still be able to mine altcoins just a much slower pace.

The thing with GPU mining is that it permits a specific graphics processor, such as you may have fitted inside your desktop PC – the Intel integrated graphics cards found in most laptops are just not able to do the task. To keep speeds up to a decent level, most altcoin miners develop dedicated machines utilizing motherboards that can host multiple graphic cards, mainly via riser cables.

Be careful though, mining digital coins is very system oriented and can cut the lifespan of your electronic components. It’s important to make sure you have a quality cooling system in place.

Installing your CPU miner

A helpful piece of software called cpuminer is the simplest way to begin mining, but does require the ability to use the command line on your computer. The program can be downloaded from SourceForge and is available for Windows (32 and 64 bit), OS X and Linux.

To set up cpuminer with the parameters required for your mining pool, you have to write a one-line script to launch the miner with the right instructions.
In order to achieve this, you will need the following:
The full path of the directory in which the mining program (“minerd.exe”) is stored (eg: “C:\cpu-miner-pooler”).

The ‘stratum’ URL of your mining pool server (eg: “stratum+tcp://”).
The port number of your mining server (eg: “3333”).
Your mining pool username (eg: “username”).
Your worker name or number (eg: “1”).
Your worker password (eg: “x”).

Next, open Notepad or your preferred text editor. Do not, use a word processor such as MS Word. Next, enter the script using the following formula:

start “path” minerd.exe – -url URL:PORT –a scrypt – – userpass USERNAME.WORKER:PASSWORD
So, using the example details above, you would have produced the following text:
start “C:\cpu-miner-pooler” minerd.exe –url stratum+tcp:// -a scrypt –userpass username.1:x

Save this file with a “.bat” extension; for example: “my-mining-profile.bat”.
Once the batch file is saved, double click it to activate the miner program. Your mining pool will more than likely have a web-based interface and, within a few minutes, the website should display that your mining worker is active.

Now that you’re aware how to mine with the CPU, let’s look at how to use your GPU.

Setting up your GPU miner

Those that are planning on mining with GPUs, cgminer is one of the top programs to use and can be downloaded from the developer’s website – unless you have a mac, in which you will find some unofficial binaries here.

Versions of cgminer after version 3.72 do not support scrypt mining, and support for GPUs was removed in version 3.82. In result, the latest version isn’t necessarily the one to download. Rather, look for the version that’s best for your needs.

Again, in this example, we are making the guess that you are using the Windows OS. Yet, if you are using Linux or OS X, the command line arguments (ie: the parameters) are the same. Also, the instructions below assume you will be mining a scrypt currency.

Extract the software into a folder that can easily be found, eg: “c:\cgminer\”.
Before moving to the next step, confirm that your graphics drivers are up to date.

Next, press the Windows key together with the “R” key, type in “cmd”, and press “enter”. This will open the command terminal. Use the “cd” command to change the directory to the one housing the cgminer zip file.

Then, type in “cgminer.exe –n”. This will list all recognized devices on your PC. If your graphics card is detected, you should be all set. If not, you’ll have to look up the steps required to properly set up your specific graphics card.

You will now need your mining pool details, just as with the CPU mining section above:
The full path of the directory in which the mining program (“minerd.exe”) is stored (eg: “C:\cpu-miner-pooler”).

The ‘stratum’ URL of your mining pool server (eg: “stratum+tcp://”).
The port number of your mining server (eg: “3333”).
Your mining pool username (eg: “username”).
Your worker name or number (eg: “1”).
Your worker password (eg: “x”).

Next we’ll make a batch file again, in order to begin cgminer up with the correct parameters. In this case, the command structure is:
Start “path” cgminer — scrypt -o URL:PORT -u USERNAME.WORKER -p PASSWORD
For example,
Start “C:\cgminer\” — scrypt –o stratum+tcp:// –userpass username.1:x

Monitoring Your Miner

Now that we’ve set up your mining software, you will see additional statistics moving across your command line terminal. If you are using cgminer, you will see more information than you would with cpuminer. In the case of the last, you will display information about the currency and the mining pool, as well as about your mining hardware. If you’re running cpuminer, you will only view references to blocks that your PC has solved; although, it does, at the minimum, display your hashing speed.

Optimizing Your Power

The positive news for miners who own PC’s with dedicated graphic cards: it is possible to run both cgminer and cpuminer simultaneously. In order for this to happen, add a “– threads n” argument to the minerd command. Here, “n” stands for the number of CPU cores that you want to employ for mining.

Always remember to leave one or two cores free to manage your GPU’s. Setting minerd to utilize all CPU cores will result in CPU will be too busy to send data to the GPU for processing. For instance, if you have a quad core CPU, try setting the “–threads” argument to “2” or “3”.

Mining with both GPU and CPU synchronously shows just how much better GPUs are at mining than the CPU. Compare the hash rates displayed in the terminal windows for each of your mining programs and you should see a minimum of a five-times difference in hashing speed.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here