Amazon Prime Day Deals

It’s Amazon Prime Day, and that means some pretty nice deals for the next ~24 hours.

I’ll try to keep this post updated below with any mining-related deals that I spot. Note that you’ll need an Amazon Prime membership to access the deals, but you can get a free 30-day trial if you don’t already have one.

Deals:

TPLink HS100 Smart Plug: $19.99 (I wrote a review of the HS110 recently)

TP-Link’s HS110 Smart Plug: the mining rig accessory you didn’t know you needed

Last weekend, I took a few days to visit with family in another state. Shortly after arriving, I noticed that I had an alert from nanopool.org indicating that my mining rig was offline. I didn’t pay much attention to it, as I’ve received a few false positives before, and my rig hadn’t crashed in nearly 90 days.

When I had time later that evening, I checked on my miner and found that it indeed hadn’t submitted any work in hours. I grabbed my laptop, logged into my miner remotely via SSH, and found that one of the GPUs had crashed—causing Claymore to hang (my guess is that my switch to dual-mining the previous week was enough to introduce some instability). No problem, a quick “sudo reboot now” at the prompt should be enough to get it running again, and I could troubleshoot the cause when I returned home in a few days.

Except my miner never came back online. Since I’d be away for three additional days, the missed mining time would cost me about $80. I needed a reliable way to remotely power cycle my rig in the event that something like this happened again in the future.

Enter the TP-Link HS110 Smart Plug. This simple device is exactly what I was looking for: a remotely-accessible power switch for my rig that I can control with my phone from anywhere. Read on for my mini review!

Dual mining with Claymore

Mine SC, DCR, LBRY, or Pascal alongside ETH with Claymore's miner!If you’ve followed my Ethereum mining guide and successfully set up your own rig, you may have noticed that the Claymore mining software we’re using supports a dual-mining mode. The premise of dual-mining sounds great: mine another altcoin alongside ETH, ostensibly for free. Sounds like an easy way to increase profitability without any downside, so shouldn’t we all take advantage?

Read on for the pros and cons of dual-mining with Claymore, and instructions to guide you through enabling it.

Global shortage of AMD GPUs due to cryptocurrency mining

If you’re looking to get your hands on an AMD RX 570/580 GPU, you’re probably out of luck—at least for the foreseeable future. News outlets (even mainstream media!) are reporting that AMD GPUs are basically sold out globally due to tremendous demand from cryptocurrency miners. If you’re able to find an AMD RX 470/480/570/580 GPU at all these days, it’ll probably be on the secondary market—where you can expect to pay double or triple retail price.

I initially recommended AMD GPUs in my mining guide because they were much cheaper than nVidia alternatives. But given current market conditions, consider nVidia GPUs if you’re building a mining rig today. A GTX 1070 GPU will roughly match the ETH mining performance of a RX 570/580, and they’re still available to buy at most retailers. Just remember that if you opt for an nVidia GPU and plan to follow my mining guide, you’ll need to install nVidia GPU drivers instead of the AMD ones that I’ve linked!

PSA: don’t store your cryptocurrency in online exchanges!

I just read this sobering tale about a guy who lost $8,000+ worth of cryptocurrency after being hacked. I’ve said it before, but this bears repeating: don’t trust anyone to hold your cryptocurrency for you. Online exchanges aren’t banks, and leaving your digital currency under somebody else’s control leaves you vulnerable to hacks like this one.

I wrote a wallet security guide a few years ago, and the basic principles are the same today: keep your coins in wallet addresses that you control, back up your wallet keys, and store multiple copies offline. If you don’t want to deal with manually securing your keys, you may want to invest in a hardware wallet (like the Trezor or Ledger Nano S—both support BTC, LTC, ETH, and other coins).

The author of the story that prompted this post offers some additional pieces of good advice, such as not making it obvious that you hold cryptocurrency on social media, and using a separate secret email address when dealing with exchanges.

My Litecoin story, or the build vs buy question

“I have some money to invest—should I use it to build a mining rig, or should I simply buy [insert cryptocurrency of choice] directly?” That’s probably the most common question I hear from people looking to get into digital currency.

I was facing this same question when I decided to jump into Litecoin in early 2013. I’d done some casual single-GPU Bitcoin mining in prior years, but I wanted to make a more substantial investment into cryptocurrency this time around. I waffled a bit between building my own rig or simply buying LTC directly before eventually settling on mining. Read on for my reasoning, how things turned out for me, and how they would have been different had I taken the “buy” path.

ASRock to offer motherboard with support for 13 GPUs

ASRock is demoing a new mining-focused motherboard at this year’s Computex show in Taiwan (tomorrow through June 3rd). The new board is designated the H110 Pro BTC+ and features an incredible 13 PCIe slots (!). Click the image to the left for a preview.

ASRock has long been a favorite in the cryptocurrency mining community. Their 970 Extreme4 was a top pick for LTC mining a few years ago, and more recently their H81 Pro BTC is a favorite for ETH mining (if you can find one—they’re more or less sold out).

No word on when to expect retail availability other than “soon”.

Is this another cryptocurrency bubble?

No doubt most of you have been following the explosive increase in cryptocurrency valuations over the past month. The price of one ether has risen about 400% in the past 30 days. The value of Bitcoin has doubled over the same period, with a single coin trading at an all-time high of nearly $2,500. Litecoin has similarly more than doubled in value.

In short, it’s starting to feel like late 2013 again. For those of you that weren’t around the last time this happened, this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen runaway valuations on cryptocurrency. In the span of 30 days between late October and November of 2013, Bitcoin saw its value increase roughly 500% to a then-high of over $1,000. Over that same one-month period in 2013, Litecoin saw a meteoric ~2500% (!) rise from about $2 to nearly $50.

If you were in the cryptocurrency game back then, you may remember that I urged caution to potential investors as digital currency prices continued to set new price records daily. Less than a month after I published my 2013 correction prediction, prices started to decline, and a few months later they were back to roughly pre-bubble levels. Lots of folks that bought BTC or LTC during the insane price run-up decided to panic sell on the way down, and some people lost a considerable amount of money.

I write this simply to remind everyone to stay sane when it comes to investing in cryptocurrency, especially if you’re thinking about committing money that you really can’t afford to lose. Price increases like the ones that we’re currently witnessing aren’t normal, and are mostly being driven by speculative greed—not new developments or adoption (and for evidence of this claim, look no further than the recent ~1000% price increase on Dogecoin, an essentially joke currency that’s been dormant for three years). When prices eventually reach a level that can’t be sustained (and admittedly, there might be quite a bit of additional increase before that!), expect a sell-off to follow.

Somewhat related: this is why I like mining. If I’m investing $1,500 today and use it to buy ETH directly, then I’ll be really disappointed if the price drops to zero tomorrow, as I’ve lost 100% of my investment. If I build a $1,500 mining rig with the expectation that I’m going to mine ETH and eventually turn a profit, then I’ll certainly be disappointed if the ETH price drops to zero tomorrow—but I’ll still have $1,500 worth of computer hardware that I can re-purpose or sell.

Build your own Ethereum Mining Rig, part 5: FAQ

In this fifth and final installment of our Ethereum mining rig guide, I answer some common questions about setting up your own rig, profit expectations, and mining in general. If you’ve read the rest of the guide and still have some unanswered questions, you might find what you’re looking for here.

Hit the “read more” button for the FAQ!

Deal: EVGA 850 watt PSU for $91

Amazon has EVGA SuperNOVA G2 850 watt gold-rated power supplies on sale right now for $91. These are very highly-rated efficient units, and a good choice if you’re looking to build a mining rig composed of 3-4 RX 470 GPUs (PSUs are most efficient when delivering roughly half of their rated maximum power, which puts this unit in the sweet spot for a 3-4 GPU rig).

While this unit is technically capable of powering 6x undervolted RX 470 cards, you’ll be running it near its maximum capacity, which will hurt its effective efficiency quite a bit. I still strongly recommend a 1200+ watt PSU for 6 GPU rigs.