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How to Build Your Own Bitcoin ASIC miner USB farm

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Early 2014 -- after much debate -- I decided to become a co-founder of a new project called Bitcoin-Economy. Not that I needed another project or e-learning course, but getting paid to learn about something that's an extension of what I've been interested about for a while?

But this article is about something else ... As I'm not a total newbie to the world of bit coin.

Bitcoin ASIC Miner Introduction

I heard about bitcoin mining aspect a few years back. Roughly know what it is. But I also know when we were doing all the algorithmic calculations for SETI, cancer research and similar projects around 2001-2003, that the energy bill boosted to humongous proportions. So mining with a PC? Was a no go a few years ago, and still is a no go.

Long story short I know the way forward is ASIC hardware. Last time I look into that; around 3ish years ago; they were released in limited supplies, quite difficult to acquire (only through ebay), insanely expensive and next to high power usage also extremely noisy. Ever been to AMS-IX or any large server room? That noisy.

Still ... technology seems to progress, and I was just wondering. Had a vision last year of building an Adobe After effects rendering farm. I read a little last week about cloud mining. And was just wondering ...

1 hour of researching later -- before writing this article -- I shared this snippet on FaceBook:

I always thought ASIC Bitcoin miners were expensive. Boy .... Was i wrong. Im gonna build myself my own homemade Bitcoin farm. Been a while i had a Linux + hardware challenge. Finally a nerdy project again.

Cause I 'found out' about something ultra neat! In the article below a quick summary.

USB

To save myself from disappointments and to satisfy my curiosity I started with searching the national classifieds sites. And to my great surprise got a lot of search results! For ... huh?! USB dongles?! Nah ... can't be. What happened to 4U 19" racks? Times have changed!

Basics

Hardware

Extremely popular devices are the Block Erupter Sapphire and Block Erupter Emerald who do their job at ~ 333MH/s. Holy cow! That's quite a lot of processing power at just 2.5W!!! And can be held second hand for about €40.  Then you got 1 USB dongle that you can plug into your  ...

Interface

Any Windows/Linux PC or Mac ... how cool is that? But wait a minute! I've got multiple USB ports on my computer. And what if I hook them up to USB hubs? Hmm could that work software wise? A challenge?

Mining Software compatibility

Haven't really dug into this much, but looks extremely easy with multiple platforms and parallel processing supported.

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  • EasyMiner software is provided for Android, Windows & Linux operating systems.
  • BFGminer - Open source available (most common)
  • CGminer - Open source available
  • BitMinter - Java Client

The Nerds Approach (A comparison)

Let's take a few steps further. Starting with the interface. Sure a laptop is cool, but also read you can interface the whole bunch through a Raspberry Pi or a modified Linksys Net / TP-Link TL-703N / Asus WL500 with OpenWRT. Woohoo! All familiar stuff.

Most bang for the buck?

And while researching what kind of USB hubs and cooling is required I ran into some neat USB hardware with a far better value.

  • (for comparison sake) Block Erupter | 333MH/s | ± €40
  • AntMiner U1 | 1.7-2.2GH/s | ± €70 ... Tutorial for Linux
  • Red Fury | 2.2-2.7GH/s |  €150
  • Bi Fury | 5GH/s | ± €250 ... OSX tutorial & Review

All roughly using 2.5W. And they can be easily over clocked! And yeah I'm one of those old skool over clockers I can still remember the days when I over clocked my Abit BH6 Dual Celeron 366Mhz to 620MHz with Aircooling. So love to mess around with that. My gosh that's ages ago! Anyway ..

Taking it a bit further

I would need 7 Erupters to match the speed of a Red Fury, or even 14 to match a Bi-Fury. Imagine stacking a few of those together?

Cool tip: Firmwares for Bi-Fury that limit temperature; download here

But that also increases prices fast, and saw a few other great offers:

  • BFL Jalapeño | 7.5GH/s | 45W | ± €200
  • Avalon BitBurner | 8GH/s |  ± €175
  • TechnoBit HEX16B | 40-50GH/s | 45W | ± €800
  • 200+ GH/s range | €2200 and higher

Thinking about getting an AntMiner U1 for my Hackintosh notebook + Jalapeño with RaspPi.

Show me the money!

So how does all this Giga Hash power related to money? A few calculator suggestions:

Based on some things I read: 60GH/s does about 0.8BTC = 460EUR. So investing in better equipment seems advisable to get a higher ROI faster.

The Future of Mining

While googling I ran into these babies: http://www.bitcoinx.com/bitcoin-mining-hardware/

4th generation in May 2014?

Butterflylabs will be releasing a device called the "Monarch" somewhere in March that can do 600GH/s for roughly $2k and  fits in either a PCI-X or USB slot. Or what about the 2TH/s device from cointerra.com for just $5,999 ? One thing is sure. USA ain't a bad place to live! Although the Black Arrow Prospero X1 that does 100GH/s for €450 / $373 ain't a bad deal either. All pre-order though!

Cloud Mining

But also don't underestimate Cloud Mining solutions:

you know what? I can barely wait for the Advanced course of Bitcoin-Economy launching soon:

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