My Litecoin Adventure: Part One

By now, most tech-savvy people know about the emerging crypto-currency known as Bitcoin. It’s also a popular hobby/business to mine for Bitcoin using a PC’s CPU or GPU . Last night, I found out about Litecoin, an interesting derivative of Bitcoin. Touted as ‘Silver to Bitcoin’s Gold,’ it promised easier mining and more profitability than Bitcoin. So I decided to try my hand at mining Litecoin.

Setup

I used the guide I found at http://blog.nwoolls.com/2013/05/01/litecoin-mining-on-mac-os-x-cpu-mining/ to try my hand at CPU mining. On there is also very handy GPU mining guide.The mining pool I used is http://www.wemineltc.com/ since they had no fees.

Since this is a more bleeding-edge technology compared to Bitcoin, I found the documentation available on the web to be a bit lacking. I tried the various mining programs with three PCs to assess their various mining capabilities. Today, we’ll look at the first machine I tested.

Macbook Pro 2013

2.6 GHz Intel Core i7 – 8GB 1600 MHz DDR3 – NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1024MB

This was, by far, the easiest machine to setup for mining. Since I had Homebrew installed already, it installed all the dependencies to use the miner programs I chose, CG Miner for GPU mining and MinerD for CPU mining.

Results:

CPU Mining: 45.40 khash/s

Not great.
Not great.

GPU Mining: 11.93 khash/s

Spoiler: it's damn slow.
Spoiler: it’s damn slow.

Using the Litecoin Profit Calculator I found here, I would make approximately $0.16 per day/$1.15 per week/$59.76 per year running both the CPU and GPU miners simultaneously.  Excluding the cost of electricity.

Why is my GPU performing worse than my CPU in terms of khash/s?

NVIDIA cards are notoriously bad for these kinds of mining operations. ATI and ASIC cards handle calculations differently, and are better suited for mining.

To be fair, if I spent time tuning the settings for these programs, I could most likely expect to squeak out up to 20% more performance out of my hardware.

 

In Summary…

Mining Litecoin on a 2013 Macbook Pro is not profitable. Many users also report that the strain the mining programs cause to the laptop can cause it to overheat. It’s an interesting proof-of-concept, but is not suited to this kind of endeavor.

Next time, I’ll be talking about running Litecoin miners on a PC!