This article was update on July 2017 by Ian Macphee (see
details at end of this post)
Getting Started with Ethereum Mining the video
The good news is that getting started with Ethereum Mining is
now easier than ever. You do not need to download the
full Ethereum blockchain, which is now over 20+ GB’s and still
growing! You also do not need to manage clunky command
line miners with manual instructions.
For purposes of this guide, we are going to do a detailed
walk-through of setting up and using the very popular Claymore
Miner. Get the current version here from Claymore’s original
Bitcointalk thread and then follow along with the steps in
this video. The whole process of getting a wallet setup,
downloading your miner, configuring things in Windows and
setting up your batch file to run should take less than 10
If you’re new to mining Ethereum,
this guide covers all the important facts in a simple,
low-jargon way. Let’s start with some short answers to common
questions about Ethereum mining:
Q: Why should I mine Ethereum tokens (aka
ether or ETH)? doesn’t mining Ether take up a lot of
A: If done properly, more money is earned by
selling mined ETH than is spent on electricity. In other words,
it’s profitable! You can check out the profitability with our
Q: Can I mine with my CPU (Personal
computer’s processor) instead of an expensive
graphics card (GPU)?
A: GPUs are so much faster that CPU-mining is
no longer profitable or worthwhile. Even entry-level GPUs are
about 200 times faster than CPUs for mining purposes.
Q: What’s the best GPU to use for
getting the most ETH for the least electricity?
A: AMD cards tend to edge out similarly-priced
NVidia cards in terms of efficiency. We cover the best cards to
get under the heading “GPU Hardware” further down in this post.
Q: Why point your GPU towards a mining pool as
opposed to solo-mining?
A: Unless you throw a fortune into mining
hardware, your odds of generating ETH on your own are low.
Pool-mining allow you to earn ETH in a regular and predictable
Q: How do I get started with mining
A: If you’ve got a suitable
GPU with at least 3GB RAM, it’s a
quick and painless matter of making some tweaks in
the mining app then entering a
few settings from your chosen pool’s
website. Further details are available in
the Getting Started with
Q: What miner should be used to easily mine
A: Previous versions of this guide referenced
an old program (AlethOne) that is no longer in use – please see
Step X where we discuss using the Claymore Miner.
Q: What are the OS requirements for
A: This guide covers using Windows 10 (make
sure it’s 64 bit). There are also various distros of
Linux that can be used (not covered here). But Windows is
the easiest to configure and get up and running fast.
There is no Mac version at this time.
Q: The Ethereum Mist wallet is not sync’ing for
me, can I use any Eth wallet address for mining?
A: You can use any ETH wallet address for
mining, but some exchanges do not allow mining or do not allow
very small deposits so double check with the site if mining
directly to a web-deposit address. A good alternative to
downloading the full Mist wallet and Ethereum blockchain is
MyEtherWallet.com, which still allows you to manage your Ether
wallet address and maintain control of your private keys (which
is important for security and/or wallet backup and restoration
Q: Aside from the GPU, what are the rest of the
system requirements for my Windows Mining Rig?
A: There could be a very lengthy post on all
the hardware requirements and considerations, but to cover the
important things at a high level, here are some primary
– Your Windows 10 OS should be a 64 bit
– You want to get a motherboard with enough PCI-E
slots to support the number of cards you are running.
– If using more than one GPU, you’ll want to get a
powered pci-e riser for each additional GPU
– For Power Supplies, you want to double check that
your PSU has enough connections to support the number of GPU’s
you are running and enough overall wattage to support your
total system power draw (and to give yourself some buffer of at
least 10-15%). A helpful site for identifying how many 6 or 8
pin PCI-E power connections your GPU will require is here
(Realhardtechx.com) and to get a sense of your
overall system power draw, this is a good power consumption
calculator (outervision). Pro Tip:
if building multiple rigs stick with the same brand PSU as you
can use extra cables on your other systems if needed (e.g. I
use only EVGA G2 PSU’s so if I have extra VGA, sata or molex
cables from one build I can use them on another build).
– You want to get a simple low end CPU and at least
4GB of RAM – Tip: make sure your motherboard, CPU and RAM are
compatible (i.e. LGA 1151 motherboards need an 1151 socket CPU,
and DDR4 RAM / LGA 1150 motherboards need an 1150 CPU and DDR3
– Don’t forget a power button! Pick up a
simple PC power button switch which connects onto the headers
of the motherboard so you can turn your system on/off
– A standard keyboard, mouse and monitor are
needed. If managing your rig remotely (not covered here
in this beginner guide) you will want to get a headless hdmi
dummy plug to plug into your rig so it boots into Windows
properly for remote access.
Q: What are the other options for mining
Ethereum like with specialized ASIC hardware, gaming laptops,
or Virtualized environments?
A: As long as your system meets the general
requirements and has at least one GPU with at least 3GB of RAM,
you can mine Ethereum. Some Gaming laptops do have high
end cards, but with the considerable heat generated from mining
there could be other impacts to your laptop so it’s best to go
with a desktop build. Virtualized environments that you
can rent usually do not have enough powerful dedicated GPU in
them, or are simply not profitable if they do. There are
currently no ASICs for Ethereum (as it is designed to be an
“ASIC Resistant” Proof Of Work hashing algorithim, so if you
see ads for one – RUN. ASIC’s are still profitable for
mining some coins (Bitcoin, Dash and Litecoin), but for home
built Mining Rigs, Ethereum and other altcoins are still
profitable to mine (whereas Bitcoin is not profitable on a home
pc – even with many powerful GPU’s do the Bitcoin ASIC
Q: I can’t seem to find any good GPU’s for sale
– can I just try out one of these Cloud Mining sites I’m
A: 99.9% of Cloud Mining sites are Ponzi
schemes or fractional reserve Ponzi’s. Even though there
are a few that have been around a long time, there have been no
3rd party audits of the hashing power sold and profits are
usually very low unless you are promoting heavily and getting
others to join in (another red flag of ponzi related activity).
Short Answer – Our advice is DO NOT buy into Ethereum
Cloud Mining sites or related Deposit Investment/HYIP programs.
Here are some good reasons to mine Ethereum:
- Mining can be a great way to subsidize the purchase of a
new, high end GPU (or two or three…).
- As Ethereum is easily traded for bitcoins (BTC), it’s a
cheap way to slowly build up a hodling position in Bitcoin.
Many influential people are very bullish on Bitcoin’s
prospects for 2016 and later.
- BTC can be easily sold for cash so, indirectly, mining ETH
can be a good way to fill up your bank account or earn cash.
ETH can also be sold directly on several major exchanges, such
as Bitfinex, BTC-e, Kraken, Gemini and Coinbase.
- Mining can be a cheap entry ticket to the Ethereum markets,
loved by traders for their high volatility. If you’re a good
and / or lucky trader, you can maximize your profits.
- Building a large ETH position now, in the
Proof of Work mining phase, will enable you to
earn interest on your holdings if / when Ethereum switches to
a Proof of Stake
- If you believe in the Ethereum concept (despite the failure
of the DAO and doubts regarding the viability
of Ethereum’s approach), you can support and gain voice in the
Ethereum network through mining.
Some of the above terms in bold probably require further
clarification for cryptocurrency newcomers. Let’s start with
the Ethereum blockchain; the distributed digital ledger which
you actually mine.
Ethereum Blockchain Basics
All transactions in Ethereum (and other cryptocurrencies) are
encapsulated within discrete blocks. These blocks are
comparable to the batches of transactions which banks send to
each other, except in Ethereum they occur every 15 seconds (on
average). Blocks are identified by their “height,” starting
from 0 and incrementing sequentially until the current block.
Here’s how the mining process serves to create, verify and
- Miners listen for transactions over the network and amass
all they consider valid (in terms of fees, code and the
accounting history of who controls which coins) into blocks.
- Miners expend electricity hashing that block with
the processing power of their GPU(s). A successful hash result
produces produce a unique Proof of Work (PoW)
proving that the miner worked on that block.
- If the rest of the network accepts the hashed block as
valid, the block becomes part of the permanent consensus on
valid transactions, known as the blockchain.
- The miner receives 5 ETH plus all transaction and
code-processing fees (aka gas) contained in their
block, plus a possible bonus for any uncles
How Ethereum’s Blockchain Differs from
Ethereum uses a different hashing algorithm to Bitcoin, which
makes it incompatible with the special hashing hardware
for Bitcoin mining. Ethereum’s algorithm is known as
Ethash. It’s a memory-hard algorithm; meaning
it’s designed to resist the development of Ethereum-mining
ASICs. Instead, Ethash is deliberately best-suited to
Hashrate, Difficulty and Price
Total network hashrate has been climbing rapidly since Q2 2016.
A dip occurred on news of the DAO crisis but hashrate has since
recovered. Things were relatively quiet until
around Q2 2017 where everything Crypto related absolutely
boomed, especially Ethereum as it facilitated a wave of new
projects and ICO activity. This
chart from Etherscan tells
So if the amount of hardware dedicated to Ethereum mining is
rising, why aren’t blocks being mined ever more rapidly, such
that the average 15 second block time has decreased?
The answer is Difficulty. By automatically
adjusting the computational difficulty of solving a block, the
Ethereum blockchain is able to maintain ~15 second intervals.
You’ll notice Difficulty
closely tracks hashrate and it too has seen exponential
growth this year:
The next obvious question is why hashrate and difficulty have
been rising in the first place? There’s a simple economic
Daily chart of Ethereum’s US Dollar value, courtesy of
The takeaway here is that hashrate has followed (with some
appreciable lag) the ETH price explosion, which began in late
January 2016, saw some downturn in late 2016, but
then exploded again in Q2 2017. What an amazing bull run!
Up to almost $400 USD from just $10 USD in a few short
Calculating Ether Mining Profitability
With a clearer understanding of the Ethereum blockchain and
important concepts like Difficulty, it’s time to perform some
First, head over to Etherscan’s Mining
Calculator, which provides up-to-date figures for the
current price, block time and network hashrate (as measured in
Gigahash per second aka
GH/s; denoting billions of
calculations per second):
Second, copy these figures into the Cryptowizzard Mining
Calculator, a more sophisticated calculator which allows
you to set your electricity costs, which are critical
to determining profitability. Unfortunately, this calculator
doesn’t automatically retrieve the current price, hashrate and
block time. So, we copy those over:
Third, select the Graphics card you intend to
use for mining. The calculator automatically enters the correct
hashrate and power consumption. If your card isn’t listed or
you’ve modified its performance, select the
Custom option and enter the relevant figures
manually. Note that GPU hashrates are entered in
(Megahash per second aka
MH/s; denoting millions of
calculations per second).
These figures will change based on when you run this
analysis, but for purposes of the example
here we would net 109 ETH annually. If sold
at the current price, $1537 will be earned from which we
subtract the electricity cost of $493. This nets a respectable
profit of $1045.
From that $1045, several subtractions may be required:
costs, which generally run around 1% plus a 1 ETH payout
- the purchase price of the example Radeon HD 7990, which is
- depending on your intended setup, it may be necessary to
buy a new Power Supply Unit (PSU) to run your hardware. An
electrically-efficient PSU costs more but saves on power costs
over the long term.
Difficulty is likely to continue its established rising trend
(and could spike on the release of more efficient GPUs) and
price is extremely unpredictable (and may crash if the market
dislikes Ethereum’s solution to its on-going DAO crisis).
Further, Ethereum is scheduled to switch to a
Proof of Stake model at some unspecified date, meaning it
will no longer be mineable.
Before any serious outlay of capital, further research into
Ethereum’s prospects is warranted. While GPUs may be set to
mining other coins and their costs partially recouped through
resale, GPUs depreciate rapidly. This is especially true of
cards put to the constant, intensive work of mining.
Choosing your GPU
Experimentation with various GPU selections in the calculator
will reveal a card with the best price to performance
to power consumption combination (expressed as MH/s
per Currency Unit). Keep in mind that AMD cards
outperform NVidia for cryptocurrency mining purposes.
The card should have at least 3 gigs of RAM or it won’t be
able to properly mine Ethereum. This is due to the growing
DAG file (directed acyclic graph) used in the Ethereum Proof of
Work hashing process.
Pro-tips: check out the following GPU’s: AMD Rx
470/480 Rx 570/580, AMD R9 range, HD 7990 / 7950 (if used cards
are available, try to get them from a gamer instead of a miner,
with a warranty if possible). For Nvidia, look at the
1060 / 1070 / 1080 series cards. As with everything, do
your own due diligence to evaluate GPU’s based on their
hashrate, power requirements, availability and
For a solid budget card, the Rx 470
with 4 gigs of RAM is recommended (when in
stock and not at ridiculous over-inflated prices due to the
card shortage like we’re seeing right now in the summer of
AMD RX Series: The Game Changer.
AMD introduced their
nanometer (nm) RX
series card at a hard-to-resist $200
price in 2016 and crypto currency
mining became much more profitable as the smaller
14nm fabrication process gives this card impressive performance
and low power consumption.
It has become the new standard
in Ethereum mining and with the huge price
explosion the demand for these cards have far outpaced supply
and created an extreme GPU shortage, resulting in much higher
GPU prices. That said, if you shop carefully, set up
auto-notifications/alerts and have a little luck you can get
some of the AMD RX series cards.
Check out r/AMD for the
latest info and rumours!
Mining Ethereum on your PC (Windows) – the text guide
If you’re reading a newbie’s guide to Ethereum mining and have
a GPU powerful enough to make it worthwhile, we’re going to
assume you’re running Windows so we’ll focus on mining Ethereum
on that platform.
1. Get Your Video Card Drivers Installed
AMD GPU’s: Head over to amd.com to download
your GPU drivers. Go to amd.com then choose “Support
& Drivers” – enter in your GPU information and click
You can click the Download button for the current driver
or choose “Download Previous Drivers & Software” on the
right hand side which will allow you to choose older versions
that are known as great drivers for mining based on your cards
R9 and older – use 15.12
RX 4XX Series – use 16.9.2 or 16.10.3
RX 5XX Series – as these are newer I’d recommend going with
current driver for now
Nvidia GPU’s: To get the latest Nvidia
GeForce drivers go to https://www.geforce.com/drivers
and then enter in your card info and click “Start Search”
and then download the current version from the results.
Install your GPU Drivers like you normally would (Next,
next, Ok, etc.) and reboot. Afterward, you know your
GPU’s are recognized correctly if you go into Device Manager
(search in Windows search bar) and you don’t see any warning
marks on your GPU’s and it shows them correctly like this:
Troubleshooting tip: Some miners have
had success installing all GPU’s at once and then installing
the drivers. Others prefer to install only one card,
install the drivers, shut down the system and then install the
rest of the GPU’s and then just let them all be recognized by
Windows (you’ll feel the system lagging, some flickers, or
brief black screens while each card is detected by Windows).
I’ve had success both ways and so if you run into an
issue with one method delete the drivers and try the other
method. And if you do need to remove your drivers use the
DDU (Display Driver Uninstaller) program from
Guru3d.com to remove everything
cleanly and then start over.
2. Get an Ethereum Wallet Address – Install
Ethereum (or jump to Step 5 and use
You can follow Steps 2-4 to download the official
Ethereum Wallet, but you do need to wait for the full Ethereum
blockchain to sync. To skip this and get going much
faster, jump down to Step 5 and create a wallet using
If you’re not used to the command line (aka “DOS mode,”) it’s
recommended that you download Mist, with
its friendly and familiar GUI (graphical user interface):
The Mist package contains the Ethereum wallet
which you’ll need to receive any mining profits. Mist also
includes an Ethereum browser
with various functions, such as messaging and
a social network and
tutorials. As a tip, these tutorials and the
social network are helpful learning resources. Don’t be scared
to ask the Ethereals if you’re experience difficulty with any
part of this process.
download Mist, head over to https://github.com/ethereum/mist/releases and
select the most recent release. In our case it’s 0.8.0:
1) Select the latest
release, it’ll have the highest number.
2) Scroll down to the
Downloads. You can choose
Mist or the
standalone Ethereum Wallet.
3) Choose a memorable
download folder for the “Ethereum Wallet” zip file. Extract it
with a suitable file
extraction tool, navigate to the new folder the
extractor creates and then locate and run the Ethereum
3. Get the Blockchain
The next step is to hurry up and wait, as the Ethereum
blockchain downloads and syncs. It’s over 10 gigs so this
process may take a while…
When it completes, spend a few minutes to familiarise yourself
with the Mist app; the interface is fairly self-explanatory.
The Mist app isn’t yet fully polished so expect a few bugs.
4. Setup your Wallet
Next, open the Ethereum wallet and generate a new account and
contract based wallet. This wallet will contain the payout
address at which you’ll receive mining rewards from your pool
or directly from the blockchain.
1) Add your new
account, give it a memorable mining name.
Store the password securely!
2) After generating the Account, add a
wallet and write down or copy to a text file
the unique address. This address will start
with the characters “0x”. It’s necessary for receiving
ETH mining rewards!
A Note on Geth
Mist also contains Geth, a popular command
line interface. You may choose to get only the latest Geth
app for your system, it’s able to perform all the functions
of Mist (and more) from the command line. Geth (an abbreviation
for “go-ethereum”) allows you and your miner to
interact more directly with the Ethereum network but
Geth definitely requires some programming
As you become more proficient in Ethereum mining and coding,
Geth will become more useful to you, but for now this is
not recommended as the easiest path to getting started with
5. Install a Wallet from
Head over to MyEtherWallet.com
(Note: Please beware of phishing websites. Do not enter
your key on a website you arrived at by clicking a link. Always
triple-check the domain. The real site is MyEtherWallet dot
Enter a strong password and click “Create New
Download your “Keystore File” and click the “I
understand. Continue.” button.
Save your Private Key provided. A good practice is
to open a notepad and enter in your info – password, private
key, and your Ethereum address (which you’ll get shortly), and
save that text file along with your Keystore File, in an
Encrpted file (using WinRar or similar program) and then store
a copy of that on a USB drive or cloud drive and delete the
individual files (storing only the encrypted file
Click on Save Your Address and then select the “Keystore
File” radio button and then click on “Select Wallet File”,
browse to your recently downloaded Keystore File (which starts
with “UTC…”) and select it.
You’ll then be prompted to enter your password
And then once unlocked you can scroll down and see “Your
Address” – this is your Ethereum Wallet address that we will
use for mining. Save it to a separate notepad text file
and save it on your Desktop for easy access (Note: it’s okay to
share this address as this is how people will send you Ether
and how you will receive your mining payouts, but Never share
your Private Key!).
Coins sent to this address can be sent from MyEtherWallet
to any other Ethereum address (on an Exchange for example, to
convert to Bitcoin, cash, etc.).
6. Download the Claymore Ethereum
We are going to be using the very popular Claymore Miner.
Get the current version here from Claymore’s
original Bitcointalk thread and download the
current version from the Google or Mega download links he
provides (don’t use other people’s links). The current
version as of the time of this writing is 9.6 and you’ll want
to get the Catalyst and Cuda version (not the Linux version).
Note, when downloading the Claymore Miner Windows may
provide a warning, but if you used Claymore’s download link can
you ignore this. He is a well-respected developer who has
been building crypto miners for many years.
Once downloaded, Extract the folder to your Desktop for
7. Tweak Some Windows Settings Before
Some settings should be modified in Windows to get you
ready for mining. First, you don’t want your computer
to go to Sleep as it will interrupt your mining so go into
your Power Settings and set it to “Never” turn off/sleep.
Next you want to modify your system page file and
manually set it to 16384 MB (this is 16GB).
To minimize the disruptions to your mining and settings
you may want to also disable Windows Updates. If you
feel more secure leaving them on, you can do so and just
understand there are very frequent updates that sometimes
reboot your system without you’re involvement and therefore
stop your mining.
If you are running Windows Defender or some other
anti-virus program, add an exception to it so that it does
not flag the Claymore mining executable “EthDcrMiner64.exe”
as a virus or try to disable/delete it.
8. Join a Mining
Pool and Configure your Mining Bat File
The next step is to setup pool mining, as solo-mining is
unlikely to make you any Ethereum unless you have a warehouse
full of GPUs. Your first step will be to choose an Ethereum
mining pool. There are plenty to choose from but we recommend
Etheremine. The home page or
help section of a mining pool site most likely contains
instructions on how to mine on their pool using the popular
Directly on the home page of Ethermine.org you’ll see a
section called “Stratum mode using Claymores Miner”.
Open your Claymore miner folder on your desktop and right
click on the text file called “Start” and choose “Edit”.
Then go to the Ethermine site and highlight and copy all
the text in the first box under “Then start your miners
Depending on your location, you want to connect to the
closest server to you and update the server string of text for
To the most appropriate stratum server for you based on
North America (East): us1.ethermine.org:4444 or us1.ethermine.org:14444 North America (West): us2.ethermine.org:4444 or us2.ethermine.org:14444 Europe (France): eu1.ethermine.org:4444 or eu1.ethermine.org:14444 Europe (Germany): eu2.ethermine.org:4444 or eu2.ethermine.org:14444 Asia: asia1.ethermine.org:4444 or asia1.ethermine.org:14444
I’ll update mine for the US East Coast, so inside your
Text file you should now have:
setx GPU_FORCE_64BIT_PTR 0
setx GPU_MAX_HEAP_SIZE 100
setx GPU_USE_SYNC_OBJECTS 1
setx GPU_MAX_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
setx GPU_SINGLE_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
EthDcrMiner64.exe -epool us1.ethermine.org:4444 -ewal
<Your_Ethereum_Address>.<RigName> -epsw x
Now replace “<Your_Ethereum_Address>” with your
Ethereum Wallet address (which starts with 0x…) so copy that
from your other text file and paste it here. Then replace
“<RigName>” with any name you would like to create for
your miner. We’ll use “MiningRig1” for our example, so
you now have:
setx GPU_FORCE_64BIT_PTR 0
setx GPU_MAX_HEAP_SIZE 100
setx GPU_USE_SYNC_OBJECTS 1
setx GPU_MAX_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
setx GPU_SINGLE_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
EthDcrMiner64.exe -epool us1.ethermine.org:4444 -ewal
Now save your file as Batch file with the bat extension.
Choose File > Save As and then in the box, choose a
name for it and then type “.bat” after the name, and in the
Save as type box, make sure you select “All Files”, and then
click Save. Congrats, you now have a batch file ready to
mine! Create a shortcut for the new Bat file and send it
to your desktop. You can then delete the text file
version of the file.
9. Start your Miner!
Double click your Bat file to start the miner. The
miner will start, run the setx commands to set those
environment variables, initialize each of your GPU’s, build the
DAG file on each of your GPU’s and start hashing away.
Let it run for about 20 seconds and then click “s” to
have it show your Hashing speed. You can use that back in
the calculator again to determine a more accurate
representation of your earnings.
To monitor your earnings on the pool, go back to
Ethermine.org and up at the top paste your wallet address into
the Address window and click the Check Status button:
We hope you find this guide useful! If you run into
any issues or have questions, please comment below and we will
try to help. Note, we are not covering more advanced
steps of mining such as overclocking and undervolting, bios
flashing, remote access and monitoring, or Dual mining.
If you want If interested in taking your mining to the
next level from here, sign up for Crypto Mining
Academy, where I go into massive depth and
detail at every step of this process in a comprehensive course.
For additional info my username is Techman34 (on the
Ethereum forum) or contact me at
I’m a former futures trader. My keen interest in matters
financial, economic and political eventually led me to
conclude that the current, debt-based fiat system is
broken. It was a natural step from there to investing in
gold and, in early 2013, Bitcoin. Although I’m not very
technical, I’ve learnt about Bitcoin through study,
asking questions, running ecommerce and marketing sites
and working as a journalist. I’ve always loved writing
and my current focus is on creating guides which inform
others about Bitcoin’s advantages.
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