Entry-Level Bitcoin Mining Gear for Mac, Windows, and Linux [Update]

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[Update 4/30/2014: Prices have fallen, and I updated the article with current pricing. Also added a link to the YellowJacket USB miner. - Bryan]

The world of Bitcoin mining can be confusing if you're new. You used to be able to mine with your CPU, and then GPUs ruled the roost for a couple of years. Today, however, you'll need to buy specialized mining gear based on ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits), but the good news is that there are several entry-level options available, and you can run them from your Mac, a Windows PC, or a Linux box.



If you need more information on Bitcoins, check out my Bitcoin Primer, my review of a Bitcoin poker site, and my list of Bitcoin faucets that actually pay.

First, Where to Buy?

The most intimidating thing about Bitcoin mining is where to buy that gear. You can buy on Ebay, but I've found two U.S. retailers—JonesGear and ZoomHash.com—that not only offer excellent customer service, they back up the gear they sell.

I've bought several times from both retailers. I got one defective (manufacturer's defect) piece of gear from each company, and they both promptly replaced it. In the Wild West world of Bitcoin mining, that's worth a lot.

Better yet, both companies set up discount codes for you, my gentle reader, to use.

JonesGear: Use coupon code "MacObserver" during the month of April to get 5 percent off your order.

ZoomHash.com: Use coupon code "MacObserver" to get 7.5 percent off your order.

Return on Investment

The question that experienced/serious miners look at is what their return on investment (ROI) will be. In other words, if you spend $1,000 on mining equipment, how long will it take to generate $1,000 worth of Bitcoins—after you also pay for electricity.

Search for Bitcoin Mining Calculator, and you'll find a ton of them. I like the Bitcoin Mining and Profitability Calculator at VNBitcoin.org the best. No calculator tells the full story, though, because you can sell your used gear on Ebay or Craigslist when it still has value to someone coming up the Bitcoin ladder. Then, of course, you'll be free to buy new equipment of your own!

Another consideration is future value. If you think Bitcoins will rise in price, determining the value of Bitcoins mined today is massively subjective. My advice is to do your research and only invest in gear at levels you are comfy with.

Let's get to the gear! I started with the least expensive and worked my way up from there:

Bitcoin Mining Gear

Entry Level Mining Gear

Next: The Antminer U2

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Q. How is a cryptocurrency different from a Ponzi scheme?
A. It’s wrapped in a shiny layer of high tech delusion.

I invent a crypto currency out of nothing and convince people to invest. Early adopters, especially me, get the low hanging fruit. Anybody buying in later on struggles to earn the remaining coins with ever increasing difficulty.

And they ultimately represent nothing but CPU cycles. You can argue over the value of the US dollar, or Apple shares, but they represent an entity that has assets and economic activity. Even over priced tulip bulbs can be planted after the bubble bursts.

Solustech XxoxX

you just need to look at latest trades and your answer is given http://bitcoin-value-live.com/


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Or just use this for your money:



I could not agree more. Bitcoins are not in fact a currency. They are a commodity that people are buying and selling at an agreed upon price. Currencies have something backing them up, even if it’s just the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve, or the Full Faith and Credit of the United States. Bitcoins have nothing behind them. They are only worth what the people wanting them are willing to pay. Sooner or later (I suspect sooner given all the recent problems Bitcoin companies have had) there will be a run on Bitcoins. Someone will try to cash out, this will spook others who will try to cash out. Soon, I suspect within a few minutes to hours, the combines weight of so many people trying to sell their Bitcoins will drive the value to near zero. It’s a pyramid scheme and those left holding when the music stops will pay the price.


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