Bitcoin Mining Hardware
Bitcoin mining hardware has evolved drastically since the genesis of bitcoin mining when CPUs (Central Processing Units) were the major hardware used. CPUs did not have the power or capacity to handle the load necessary for efficient bitcoin mining.
The process required the excessive use of power and computer resources which made it unsustainable.
This led to the use of GPUs (Graphical Processing Units) which were able to hash data up to 100 times faster than CPUs and GPUs were also much more energy efficient than CPUs.
Modern Bitcoin Miners
Over time, this led to field programmable gate array (FPGA) processors which were even more efficient than GPUs and these were used specifically for bitcoin mining. Nowadays, the most popular bitcoin miners are Application-specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners.
ASIC miners are known for their ability to mine bitcoins at unprecedented speeds while using less power than previous types of miners. There are many different types of ASIC miners, differing in terms of price per hash as well in electrical efficiency.
Some of the more popular ASIC miners include the Halong Mining Dragonmint T1, the Antminer S7, the Antminer S9, Antminer U3, ASICMiner BE Tube, ASICMiner BE Prisma, Avalon 2, Avalon 3 and the Avalon 6. These differ in terms of capacity, power efficiency, weight, and price.
As the price of bitcoin rises, so does the price of ASIC bitcoin mining hardware. As this happens, the process of solving bitcoin blocks becomes more and more difficult which in turn makes it increasingly difficult for anyone to profitably compete without using ASIC mining hardware and technology.
When deciding on which ASIC bitcoin mining hardware to purchase, avoid choosing solely based on price. You should choose your hardware based on which one will give you the best value for money. In other words, you should try to choose the most efficient bitcoin mining hardware.
Determining the Profitability of Mining Hardware
The most important factor to consider when considering the profitability of mining hardware is the cost of electricity. Many persons neglect electricity costs when trying to determine the profitability of the hardware and end up overestimating the actual profitability of that particular mining hardware.
Considerable amounts of electricity are used also in calculating the potential profitability of mining hardware. This cost must be accounted for if the computations are to be reliable. Excessive electricity costs can quickly eat into any potential profits from bitcoin mining using bitcoin mining hardware.
Bitcoin mining hardware requires quite a sizeable investment starting from around $1,000 up to as much as $5000 in some cases. The more powerful processors usually cost more. ASIC processors therefore tend to cost more than GPUs.
Mining fees provide a source of income for bitcoin miners. Fees are paid as an incentive for mining and once a miner mines 21 million bitcoins, mining fees become the main revenue source for miners. As a miner, you will be expected to cover transaction costs which are edging up as the bitcoin network grows.