Mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can go from straightforward to incredibly complex. If you’re just starting out with mining, it’s possible to use your existing computer to mine. However, if you want to make crypto mining a significant source of income, you’ll need to step up your game with your PC hardware.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to profitably mine bitcoin with a PC. For bitcoin mining, you’ll need dedicated hardware like an Antminer, which are currently in short supply. If you do get your hands on an Antminer, then you have to figure out how to power it with 220v, which can be complex and expensive to add-on to your home (or impossible in an apartment). That said, you can use your PC to mine other cryptocurrencies and either trade them for bitcoin or receive direct payout in bitcoin using mining platforms like NiceHash.
There are a few ways to mine cryptocurrencies with your PC. You can use the processor, hard drive or GPU (aka graphics card). For the purposes of this post, we’ll cover only GPU mining, which is currently the most popular and most profitable.
The Easiest Way to Start Mining
If you have a compatible GPU in your computer, you can use a straightforward miner like NiceHash or MinerGate. These sites almost automate the process and offer the most handholding for the beginning miner. Additionally, if you are just going to mine with your PC part-time, this is the least-intrusive way to go.
Just go to NiceHash.com and look for the “Sell” window and then click the Download button to get the latest version of the NiceHash Mining software. (Note that if you have AMD GPUs, you’ll need to use the NiceHash legacy miner since the latest version only supports Nvidia cards.)
Next, unzip the folder and open the application, simply called NiceHashMiner. At that point, the app will download the miners and then follow the prompts to benchmark your system’s GPUs. Once benchmarked, you’ll need to put your own BTC wallet address so you can get your payouts. (You can use CoinBase but it’s really best to get a dedicated wallet and not keep your money on exchange unless you are actively trading with it.)
Now, you can just click “start” to begin mining with your PC. Depending on your GPU, your earnings will vary but NiceHash will pay you in bitcoin even though they will be using your GPU to mine other cryptocurrencies.
Other Mining Options for Windows
Another easy mining software to use is MinerGate. The software and setup is similar to NiceHash and it may even be a little more user-friendly. However, the reports from those who have used MinerGate along with other platforms suggest that MinerGate doesn’t provide as much hashing power (and, in turn, profitability) as NiceHash provides. Your mileage may vary but you can check it out here at MinerGate.com.
If you don’t mind a little more work to get up and running, you can dig into using Claymore, which requires you to pay a little more attention to detail but it’s not overly complicated. The easiest way to get going with Claymore is to use the instructions on this Reddit wiki page for simply mining Ethereum.
There are many different approaches and applications to use for mining cryptocurrencies; however, NiceHash, MinerGate and Claymore offer the lowest barrier of entry. Starting out with an existing PC that you already own is a great way to dip your feet into the mining waters before you jump into mining with a multi-GPU rig.