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Author Topic: Bitcoin mining on old Windows 98 machines  (Read 5473 times)
minebitcoin
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June 17, 2011, 03:47:59 AM
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Is there any point to bitcoin mining on old Windows 98 machines?!?  I have so many just lying around.  I've been unable to get guiminer to run on Windows 98.  I've tried successfully to run Puppy Linux on those machines, but don't know how to bitcoin mine from Puppy Linux.  Any braindead noob pointers most appreciated!
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rethaw
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June 17, 2011, 03:56:57 AM
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Sounds fun but a complete waste of electricity. You could install some linux variant and get minerd running on it.

I'd be surprised if you got more than 100 KHash/s.

muc
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June 17, 2011, 04:22:02 AM
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Is there any point to bitcoin mining on old Windows 98 machines?!?  I have so many just lying around.  I've been unable to get guiminer to run on Windows 98.  I've tried successfully to run Puppy Linux on those machines, but don't know how to bitcoin mine from Puppy Linux.  Any braindead noob pointers most appreciated!

From what I have seen on YouTube about Bitcoin mining, the CPU doesn't have to be all that powerful, but it helps to have a dedicated CPU for each GPU that you're running.

On YouTube, some miner was running three GPUs on a single board. Not sure how many CPUs it had.

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rethaw
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June 17, 2011, 04:28:16 AM
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The CPU is orders of magnitude less efficient at mining. For example an 8-core Xeon server will be about 50 times slower than a $300 GPU.

minebitcoin
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June 17, 2011, 04:35:11 AM
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Of course, everyone is always talking about high-end hardware; but, what about helping us noobs to understand the dynamics of the still all too common low-end hardware?!?
rethaw
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June 17, 2011, 04:46:00 AM
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Well, you could find a more detailed explanation elsewhere but I will give it a try.

Mining bitcoins is a very repetitive process that involves a series of operations that must be completed in a certain order. These operations together make up a hashing algorithm and the effectiveness of your hardware is how many hashes your mining rig can perform per second.

CPU's, the central processing unit of your computer (generally either Intel or AMD), historically have followed a trend of increasing clock speeds. Over time it became evident that the performance boost from a few hundred MHz would not be evident for normal usage so multiple cores were introduced. However, CPUs are designed to do the heavy lifting of your computer and even with many cores they are not designed for the most simple repetitive tasks. They will perform any operation you throw at them but not always in the most efficient way.

GPU's, on the other hand, are massively parallel and have what amount to hundreds or more little processors on board. These processors, while clocked lower than your CPU, can each handle separate tasks very well and lend themselves to the repetitive hashing of bitcoin mining. Some GPU's have more than 1000 stream processors and these are what are utilized by the various mining applications to increase your hashrate.

Unfortunately, most old hardware has similar energy consumption characteristics to newer hardware. Even if a Windows 98 era computer used half of the energy of a high end video card you would be getting 100x or less hashes/second. Today I tried CPU mining on a Pentium 4 CPU and got about 300Khash/s, while a $200 video card will get 300000 Khash/s.

scottk
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June 17, 2011, 05:45:04 AM
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Here's the best way to put it:
I bought a small form factor ATi card (Radeon HD 5570) for about $60. (I've got a server that already runs 24/7, and I figured it might as well mine all day too, and it's SFF so I had to get an SFF card for it.)
GPU mining on it gets me about 60 Mhash/s.
CPU mining on it with a dual core AMD Athlon 64 5200+ (2.6GHz per core) gets me about 1.2 Mhash/s.

I just checked Google Shopping, and this CPU still costs $150+ new it seems.
So you pay double and get about 1/50 the speed.

Basically... the CPUs will work and will chug away on the calculations. However, you're far more likely to generate an electricity bill than a Bitcoin. Even in a pool, because most likely your CPU won't submit any work before the end of the round.

Try it for fun if you want. Just be prepared for a letdown. My processor is from the Vista 64 era, and it often doesn't get its work done before the end of the round. Since yours is Win98 era, I'm guessing it's about 1/8 the clockspeed (300-400 MHz range) and is only single core (so in all reality you'll get about 1/16 the speed, meaning it's 16 times more likely that the rounds will complete before your CPU is done).

Also - remember, the value of Bitcoin seems to be hovering between $15-20 these days. A new GPU might be able to pay for itself before too long. 10 BTC will pay for a new GPU.
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June 17, 2011, 06:34:57 AM
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Part of the reason GPUs work so well for this is that each of the little mini-"threads" doing the hashing can be run completely independent of the others, due to the random nature of hashing.  If all the threads needed to communication with each other, they would be much less efficient.
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June 17, 2011, 06:52:13 AM
 #9

I have a centrino-based laptop which only gets about 500KHash/s but, since i also use it for research, I'm not in a position to sell it.

Since you are still using Win98, I assume those systems are pretty ancient and may not even get 150KHash/s.

My suggestion is that, if you no longer require the Win98 systems, then consider selling them for upgrades to your primary system.

That's at least what I would do.  Cool

http://bitcoogle.com/ (http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=27354.0)
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rethaw
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June 17, 2011, 07:11:50 AM
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Only problem, who is going to buy a computer that old? You can't even donate them to a school, they won't take them.

Skeenz
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June 17, 2011, 07:30:32 AM
 #11

Like the saying goes, "One man's junk is another man's treasure".

There is always someone who will buy it, the trick is locating that person.

Anyways, @minebitcoin is not gonna get rich off the old hardware, but at least the spare cash can be put towards something he can use.

http://bitcoogle.com/ (http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=27354.0)
http://payb.tc/skeenz == 18n8CsbiseiXytzjJJSZwMJPWda6uh7qFP
Gdecelia
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June 17, 2011, 08:10:01 AM
 #12

Lol... u might as well mine on windows 95 ...
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