All About BTC, LTC, ETH mining as well as other alternative crypto currencies
A lot of people that are not into Linux and are not familiar with it try to stay away form it, but when we are talking about Litecoin and other scrypt crypto mining you might want to reconsider if you are building a mining rig. Linux has some advantages other than being free when you compare it to Windows, and the best thing is that there are special distributions already available that might make it very easy for you to use them for scrypt mining rigs that you are building. One of the advantage is that Linux has no trouble using multiple video cards like 6 on a single motherboard, something that can bring you a real headache with some Windows versions. Also using a specialized mining Linux distribution means that you don’t need to have a lot of free space, actually you don’t need to even use a hard drive to install it on, you can directly boot it from a flash drive. And the specialized mining distributions you only need to setup the mining pool, your username and pass for the worker and they are ready to be used and you can remotely monitor them – no need of advanced Linux knowledge at all.
Now, it all may seem like a dream, however there is one important thing that you should be well aware of – the pretty much only more significant disadvantage of using a Linux Litecoin mining distribution. You are most likely not going to be able to control the GPU voltage from these distributions on all video cards (from within AMDOverdriveCtrl), some may work, others may not, but most likely you will have trouble with most of the cards. On Windows you have multiple options like Sapphire Trixx, MSI Afterbutner and other manufacturers specialized overclocking software for a specific video card. On Linux mining distributions you do have a tool that may show you the voltages, but you will probably not be able to change them, though you cans till control the clock settings for the video memory and the graphics processor. This is important, because normally you can lower the voltage below the standard set value and overclock the video card and it can still mine cryptos stable. This is being done in order for the cards to use less power and emit less heat, thus staying cooler and more silent. If the cooling and the noise is not a problem and you have ensured low operating temperatures, then there is no problem not to lower the voltage of the cards.
After this short introduction we are going to point your attention to two specialized Litecoin mining distributions based on Linux that you might want to check out and try on your mining rigs. These are the Litecoin-BAMT and SMOS Linux with them being very similar to each other. They both come in the form of an image file that you can write directly on a USB flash drive and then boot the operating system from that drive. After the first start you have to edit the cgminer config file ( /etc/bamt/cgminer.conf ) with your mining pool settings and you are ready to start mining. You can then monitor the performance of the mining rig and control it either trough a remote console login, or through a web based interface, so there is no need for physical access anymore.
While GPU mining still does work better on AMD-based graphics processors using OpenCL, the latest versions of the CUDAminer software intended for use on Nvidia-based graphics cards has gone through a good performance optimization and it makes mining with CUDA a good option if you have some spare and unused Nvidia GPUs. The fact tha there are still shortages of the Radeon R9 280X graphics cards on the market – the all-round best performer for Scrypt GPU mining makes the alternative to mine coins with Nvidia GPU a decent alternative. Of course the price/performance ratio of an Nvidia GPU versus and AMD GPU for mining is still in favor of AMD graphics. You can expect to get about 550-560 KH/s from a stock (non overclocked) Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti graphics card, while the same performance is easily achievable with a much cheaper stock AMD Radeon R9 280X card. If you however have a watercooled 780 Ti and overclock it well, you might be able to reach hashrate close to about 900 kHash/s according to the author of the software. Regardless, if you already have a CUDA-capable graphics processor why not put it to some mining work to get some extra crypto coins, it also makes for a good option to try out new pools or alternative cryptos…
One of the best things about the CUDAminer software is that it automatically detects the best settings for your graphics card, so that after yo run it the software can squeeze out the maximum mining performance automatically for you. This takes the guesswork and a lot of time spent for testing different settings, though you can still do that if you wish to fine tune things. One of the still missing important features from this miner is the failover pool switching to backup pools in case of a problem with the current mining pool. CUDAminer already has support for scrypt mining with N=1024 (LiteCoin and many, many other scrypt clones like DOGE for example), scrypt-jane mining (Yacoin and several clones), scrypt mining with larger N (VertCoin) and the recently released MaxCoin mining (SHA-3 i.e. Keccak256). So you will be up to speed even with the latest alternative crypto currencies such as VertCoin and MaxCoin that have generated quite some buzz in the last few days. Below you can download the latest binary for windows of CudaMiner or you can compile it yourself from the (source.
If you are mining Scrypt crypto currencies such as Litecoin or maybe DOGE, then you are most likely using cgminer as a mining software or something that relies on cgminer as a backend. The author of cgminer (Con Kolivas) however seems to have decided to continue support of cgminer only for ASIC mining for SHA-256 cryptos such as Bitcoin and version 3.7.2 is the last one for cgminer to support GPU mining for scrypt crypto coins. Furthermore the windows version of the last cgminer to support GPU mining has been removed from the official download location, you can however download cgminer 3.7.2 with GPU support for windows here.
More importantly, there are already some alternatives that are based around the original source code of cgminer 3.7.2, but add extra features and offer improvements that are not found in the original software. One such version based on cgminer 3.7.2 is Martin “Kalroth” Danielsen’s cgminer 3.7.2 that he calls cgminer 3.7.3 in order for the users to be able to differentiate between the original and his version. In cgminer 3.7.2 kalroth (cgminer 3.7.3) he has made changes to the visual interface to make it more user friendly and functionality that can help you squeeze a bit more performance out of your GPU mining hardware. Some of the notable differences include support for multiple pool load balancing, implementation for idle state for GPUs when there’s no work, two additional modes for controlling intensity – xintensity and rawintensity for additional performance, faster failover pool switching back delay and interface improvements such as uptime status or percentage of rejected shares and so on. Definitely something to try and see if you like this version of cgminer better than the original 3.7.2.