Current Price of Bitcoins is currently A$122 each
You can follow Bitcoin price based on MtGox Exchange in $USD here
The Bitcoin system is not owned by anyone.
The Bitcoin system has no centralised control.
What is Bitcoin?
The best way to think of them is the result of a
That result is "locked" to the "Wallet" of the owner, and can only be moved with more complex mathematical equations that everyone has to agree happened, before it is allowed to occur.
To a certain extent, you can carry around the number that represents a bitcoin, and some people have even printed these numbers on coins as an allegory to a "gold coin" and they are similar.. but not completetly... the most likely way you will use them is as part of a transaction from your computer or a phone app.
You can buy a cup of coffee with them.
You can Purchase a house with them... even in Australia
Someone right now is attempting to live their life using entirely only bitcoins.
So what is"mining Bitcoins"?
To enable the distributed nature of the Bitcoin system, to empart each Bitcoin with some semi intrinsic value, and to make available the computing infrastructure to allow the whole system to work, new Bitcoins are created in blocks that are used to simultaneously process all bitcoin transactions..
There is a new block every 10 minutes, and each of those blocks generates 25 brand new bitcoins which are given to the "miner" who "discovers" the correct "hash" of that "block".
Finding the hash of a block is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The person who finds needle wins the bitcoins. The more processing power you have, the more likely you are to find the hash.
Its ONLY about the GPUs (Video Cards)
At this point in time its more or less pointless to use the CPUs since the power you use will probably cost you more than the amount of Bitcoins you mint. At the moment, nVidia Graphics cards have nowhere near the return on power as the ATI/AMD cards...by a factor of at least 2 and sometimes 5.
Mainly due to OpenCL, but the difference is so big, there are probably other factors also.
There are custom chips called "FPGAs" (Feild Programmable Gate Arrays) and even faster ones called "ASICs" (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) which do a far better job of the whole thing and use far less power.. they are beyond the scope of this article... except to say that within about a year or two (it is May 2013 now), they will be the only "cash positive" way of mining for bitcoins..
Green Power - Zero emmissions.
All my power is 100% Green Power from Origin Energy.
It is guaranteed to be zero emmission. I believe minting bitcoins from CO2 producing electricity would be unethical. But then, using any CO2 producing energy when you have the option not to is unethical... but thats just my opinion.
I pay an extra 2.4 cents per Kilowatt hour for green power.. and I was doing so 6 years ago. I think its a great service.
If the upshot of this whole deal was that I convinced even one other person to change to green power, then it would be worth it and I would not even care if I lost money on it.\
Disclosure: I used to work for Origin Energy.. that has nothing to do with any of this.
Its all about Efficiency
The ultimate idea would be to have as many graphics cards plugged into one machine as possible.
Ultimately this is an act of efficiency.... create the most Mega Hashes per Second (MH/s) for the least amount of power (Watts)
When I first got everything going basic I was getting 1210 MegaHashes per second
1210 MH/s from 688watts yeilding an efficiency of 1.83 (MHs/W).
Once you start getting serious, the amount of work your system produces will generally be referred to in GigaHashes.
In this case, I'm producing total work of 1210 MH/s
which is referred to as 1.21 GigaHashes
Not to be confused with 1.21 GigaWatts.
There is not much profit in it..
With a cost of about A$0.27 per KiloWatt hour and using the Bitclockers Mining Calculator this yeilds about 0.055 bitcoin (A$6.73) per day at a cost of $4.46 returning a daily profit of $2.28
Not particularly interesting.. barely worth it if I was just in it for the money.. time to start tuning
In July 2010 - such power (1.2 GH/s) would have produced over $120 per day profit... but that was a loong time ago.
PC 1 LGA1156 15 650 @2.4(?) 16GB RAM, Vertex 3 60GB C:, too many various extra drives to care.
Processor MegaHash/s Watts MH/s/W degreesC
HD7850 301 75 4.01 66
HD7770 185 55 3.36 63
PC 1(Base 103W) 485 233 2.08
PC 2 1155 i7 2600K 24GB RAM, Vertex 3
Processor MegaHash/s Watts MH/s/ degreesC
HD7970 572 210 2.72 75
HD6770 170 48 3.54 71
PC 1(Base 108W) 742 405 1.81