So you’ve got a system that you want to try mining some Bitcoins (BTC). The first question you’re going to as is “Will it make any money?”.
That’s a great first question and one that’s pretty easy to answer. All you need is two pieces of information and you can get a quick (rough) answer. This information is:
- How quickly can the system generate cryptocurrency?
- How much electricity does my system use to do it?
Once you have that information you can use the excellent mining calculator at Cryptcompare to do the math using the current market values to give you an answer.
Benchmark the speed of your rig
Head over to my Benchmark Your Linux Bitcoin or LiteCoin Mining Rig With BFGMiner article to get some benchmark numbers.
After you have run BFGMiner in benchmark mode you will have the number of hashes per second your system can crunch. The more hashes per second your system can crunch the more profit it will generate.
Next, let’s work out how much electricity your system uses to generate those hashes.
How much electricity are you using?
There are two ways to measure how much electricity your system is using. You can:
- Physically measure it with electricity usage meter like the Kill A Watt.
- Measure from the “inside” with Powertop software utility.
Using a physical device will give you an accurate result but Powertop will give you a quick number right now.
First, install powertop on your Linux system.
Next, fire up the benchmark tool to load up the GPU and all the CPU cores. When that’s running start powertop:
The total power information is shown on the
Device Stats page. Get there by hitting
TAB three times. The
page gives you a total power usage figure on the top line and a break down by process under that.
Here’s my laptop running BFGMiner in benchmark mode:
System baseline power is estimated at 42.1 W
Power est. Usage Device name
32.6 W 576.5% CPU core
7.56 W 576.5% CPU misc
1.43 W 576.5% DRAM
It uses 42.1 W while the BFGMiner benchmark was running.
Now, you’ve got the power use and the hash rate you can work out your profit.
Calculate your profit
Head over to https://www.cryptocompare.com/mining/calculator/. Fill in the boxes as follows:
- Enter your hash rate.
- Enter your power use.
- Enter the cost of your electricity. You can get this from your electricity bill or from your electricity provider’s website.
- Set this to 0 (unless you’re in a pool).
The calculator will now tell you much profit you can expect per day.