Monday, March 10, 2014

Standard Miner Profitability, One Crazy Weekend, Subscriptions

I've just sent out the latest copy of my newsletter, which covers the aftermath of this rather crazy weekend for cryptocurrencies. What happened and who were the winners and losers? Subscribe and find out! $5 for one issue, $10 for a week (typically three issues, but really however many I write in seven days), and $30 for the month of posts. Email me if you have questions (jarred.walton at gmail dot com). I'll even make you a deal: start at either the one day or one week subscription, and if you decide you want the full month I'll count your initial donation towards the $30 -- so $25 to go from one letter to the full month, or $20 to go from one week to the full month.

I've been working on a more formalized posting of how to subscribe, and at some point I need to get a link to it put in a prominent position on the blog, but for now donations of one of these coins should suffice. You can do the math to determine roughly how much $5/$10/$30 is, or go with the rates I list below (which might end up being too cheap/expensive if the prices change much):

BTC: 153qS9Ze32hnV3fwirZLWNka4wBAowc21E (0.01/0.02/0.05 BTC)
DOGE: DD9iTWf8diPkvKdB8roPJepTyp6BGVQtct (6500/12900/38500 DOGE)
DRK: Xd3EaCJg6G8ZnGuKkpvwyRMwyHzbaRDnob (7/13/39 DRK)
LTC: LfCLyykrNFftzpdWejR73hf478ZtBzQ9jE (0.32/0.64/1.9 LTC)
MAX: mf5DXTLiZFCnJC2x13MXSyigyUjmBnrwjG (27/53/158 MAX)
MRC: 1Ctnz6cHcMYiF9fz2pyd6orFuo1mDhKdWj (810000/1620000/4840000 MRC)
VTC: VaNuRCj73JVAwR1YMnt8CXaqoiPgykiMTk (4/8/22 VTC)

Moving on, I've listed roughly the same PC quite a few times on my blog, but I'm going to go ahead and call this my "baseline mining PC" for now. It consists of the following parts:

Baseline Mining System
GPUs 3 x Radeon R9 280X 3GB $1,200
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3/UD5 AM3+ $137-$166
Processor AMD FX-8320 Vishera $154
Memory 2x4GB DDR3-1600 (desktop) $77
Power Supply 2 x Rosewill Capstone 750W 80 Plus Gold (Two) $200
Storage 2.5" 60GB Kingston V3 SSD $59
Risers 3 x x16 to x16 and/or x1 to x16 powered  (Three) $13/$9 each
Case Build it out of wood or PVC pipes ~$40
Total (price range) $1906-$1935

My recommendations for mining are based off of that particular build, and the goal has mostly been to try and choose coins that can pay that off in four months or less. Note that it's possible to add a fourth GPU quite easily, and the two 750W PSUs have enough power to do that, so technically you could spend about $2320 for a system that's 33% faster than the above and it would end up being ab it more efficient. Anyway, right now, the market is in a bit of a slump, so the best I can do as around $13-$15 per day. That means it will take more like 4-5 months to break even, provided prices don't drop -- but prices could also jump up again.

Consider LTC; Litecoin launched and went up to around $4.50 per LTC last April, then it quickly fell to the $2-$3 range and stayed there for much of the year, with a drop down to as low as $1.11 at one point. Many were proclaiming the end of LTC...and then November happened and LTC shot up to $48. Those who had strong hands and held until the bubble came out with some amazing profits; even if you sold at $20-$25 (which is what I did with the LTC I still had), it's hard to complain. Well, we're now repeating that with most cryptocurrencies. Sure, prices are higher on LTC and other coins, but so is the difficulty, meaning for every dollar spent on a GPU you're looking at three months to earn it back. Save the coins, though, and I suspect in another year many people will be looking back thinking, "I wish I had kept all my VTC until it hit $50!"

Anyway, if you want to join in the fun, at least some of the prices for hardware have come down. The same system as above last month cost around $2020, so $100 less now. GPU prices are still way over MSRP (by 30% or more), which oddly enough appears to be more of a US phenomenon. I have friends in Europe that are able to get GPUs for less than what I have to pay, where normally it's the exact opposite. Their power costs are still a lot higher, so I suppose that's a small consolation.


  1. $0.22-0.25 kw/h in Czech Republic. Mining VTC at current prices mean ~40-50% of profit goes to electricity.

    1. How do you figure that? It's around $0.30 kw/h here in Germany, and whenever i calculated it was around 25% of my profits. Not great, but not the end of the world. It would be nice to have US prices though and save 10-15% of that profit.

    2. 2x280x + 2x290, 1600kh/s (scrypt-n), 1200W (4x300W)

    3. Yikes, i guess i should check up on the diff changes more often, that's a massive change since i last checked. Which i admit was "a while" ago. :)

      I guess i will stick to mining other coins and converting them to BTC/Vert, like i currently do!

  2. Hey Jarred, i'm a subscriber, but i wonder... what will the blog will cover now? I thought you might discuss the weekend here and just exclude the trading rates/tips and a little extra info? Just wondering what topics we'll still be seeing here.

  3. If youre using 2 x 750 W power supplies, you might as well use 4 X 280x cards instead of 3. That's how mine is setup.

    1. You're absolutely correct. The thing is, I started with 3x280X (and a single 1000W PSU) and so I have those up and running and can actually tell you how well they work. :-) But I'll make a note of this above.

  4. I've 6x rigs. A lot of them based on the ASRock Extreme 4 and a few MSI G45a. Like a lot of us, we all have our favourite pieces of kit. Not so much that they are inherently better than x or y, but we all tend to buy the same kit as we "know it works". Less differences in hardware = less things to have to figure out = more time to do other crud.

    What might be an interesting topic for a future post is a comparison of rigs based on different criteria. The rig I'd buy for KHash / Watt is significantly different from the rig I'd build for KHash / € spent.

    Personally (and there's nothing wrong with your selection) but unless your going mining CPU coins which I know from previous posts you have, I'd go cheap and cheerful with a Sempro 145 for €25 euros and keep the difference for another 7850. 2x PSU's - yeah, it's a good way to get the wattage, but it's messy unless you know what your doing. 5 x R9270's will run happy enough on 1000 watts and give some 2.3-2.4Mh/s.

    Them Maxwell's from Nvidia are coming though. I think that'll change the landscape significantly.

    Keep up the good work - I know those posts don't write themselves and I like seeing what you are thinking. Sending some coins (at some stage when I have paid the leccie bill :-)

  5. with 3700 Khs, im looking at ~0.02 BTC/day, which is really sad :( Newegg also dropped the prices on the r9 280xs so you can get the sapphire Toxic editions for 400$ easily, and Gigabyte ones for 330$. I guess the buying frenzy has eased up, maybe because of the low profitability of mining now, but also GRIDSEED ASICs are a really good option now.

    5X GRIDSEED Asics = 1.5 Mhs - 2 Mh (Overclocked) for 1075$ with all equipment (power supply, cables, USB hub). Coupled with the 60W power draw each, that's ridiculously good.

    Time to mine Vert.

  6. Hello Jarred, I've been reading your blog for a couple of months now and I like it very much! Keep up the good work. I am thinking about the subscription...but first i need to optimize my rigs...

    What your opinion about the Gridseed Asics? Are the any good. Could they be the reason the difficulty on Litecoin has skyrocketed?

    1. I'm sure the ASICs aren't helping matters, that's certain. AFAICT, Gridseed isn't bad, but the price is a bit "out there". $2400 (give or take) for 3MHash scrypt will do about $13 per day I think, which means "only" six months to break even. On the one hand, you'll be earlier than some other ASIC buyers, but on the other hand the later ASICs will likely be more efficient. It's basically the start of the scrypt ASIC arms race, which is what Bitcoin did starting in late 2012. The real winners? The ASIC manufacturers/resellers.