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Author Topic: Which pool to join? Factors to take into account  (Read 611 times)
maxa
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August 06, 2011, 11:26:22 AM
 #1

Hi all,

I want to start mining. One of the questions I have is: which pool should I join?
Here https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Comparison_of_mining_pools is an overview of all (?) pools.

The differences between the pools seems to be:

Location  - Where is the server hosted?
Hashrate (GHash/sec) - How many GH/s a pool does.
Reward Type - PPS / SMPPS / ESMPPS / Prop. / PPLNS or Score
Transaction fees - how many percent goes to the pool operator
Audits - audits yes/no?
Protocol - Most have RPC (+LP)
Launched - when was the pool launched

I am wondering which of these properties are relevant when making a choice for a specific pool...



My initial top 3:
1. Transaction fee: the more fee goes to the pool operator, the less fee remains for miners. So a pool with a low fee is favorable.

2. Reward Type:
      - PPS (Pay Per Share) seems to be the best reward type. It is completely predictable, you know in advance how much and when(!) you get your money. You are not dependent on round-boundaries. Unfortunately there are not too many PPS-pools.
      - PPLNS (Pay Per Last N Shares). This seems to be a good second choice. You know in advance how much you get, although not when.
      - Proportional. This doesn't seem to be a good choice. You don't know how much you get, and you don't know when you get it.

3. Hashrate: when you choose for PPS, hashrate doesn't matter at all. If you choose for PPLNS or Proportional, you want to join a pool with a high hashrate. This makes that you have to wait less long for your payout (although it doesn't say anything about your expected income).



Please share your thoughts on this subject. Did I miss something? Or am I wrong?
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MintCondition
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August 06, 2011, 01:10:12 PM
 #2

Hi Maxa,
Quote
I want to start mining. One of the questions I have is: which pool should I join?

I'll go over the differences you mention and describe their implications to help you make an informed choice.

Location
 Server location matters for round-trip time of work requests and share submissions. With todays fast internet connections however, the few milliseconds of difference does not make a noticeable difference in mining performance. There may be legal issues with some locations, but I'm not an expert on that.
Hashrate
Hashrate matters only for Prop., Score and PPLNS pools. Higher hashrate means more consistent payouts. For PPS, hashrate does not matter since the payout is fixed per share; no matter how high the hashrate is.
Reward Type
For me, one of the main differences between pools is trust: how much do you trust other pool members and the pool operators to treat you fairly? The score method for example needs loads of trust (or audits) due to its intransparancy. But for PPS, the 'other members' risk is completely removed. It also depends on the amount of risk you're willing to take. More risk (Prop., Score) generally means less fees, And lower risk (PPS) means higher fees. We've just launched ABCPool which combines all the positive aspects: ABCPool is a PPS site with a low 2% fee, without any risk of other members cheating.
Audits
For those pools in which your reward depends on the efforts of others, audits seem like a must-have. This is because without audits, it is impossible to know that the shares per round are reported accurately.  For PPS pools, it's  always easy to audit the pool yourself: just compare the number of shares reported by your miner to the number of shares you got payed out for.
Protocol
LP is a must, otherwise you're throwing away money. But almost every pool has it.
Launched
Older pools imply trustworthiness. However, I think that that is not necessary. With most pools (also at ABCPool) it's possible to have balances as small as 0.2 BTC payed out to you, so your risk of not being paid is limited to that amount. The older (bigger?) pools do seem to be under attack more than newer pools.

I would recommend PPS to anyone, and ABCPool in particular. But that's obvious, since..


[Disclaimer: I am one of the operators of ABCPool.co, a Pay-per-Share pool]

Lucas
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August 06, 2011, 01:26:44 PM
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I went with SMPPS to have a predictable and steady income from the mining. In the long run, I think you'll mine an equal amount of bitcoins with any of the methods.

As for the exact pool, I joined ArsBitcoin and haven't been disappointed so far (I was with Eligius before which was also very nice until they started to get a lot of problems, but those should be solved by now I guess)
maxa
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August 06, 2011, 01:44:07 PM
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In the long run, I think you'll mine an equal amount of bitcoins with any of the methods.

Lucas, if this is the case, should one then not try to use a method that has an outcome which is highly predictable? If I understood it right, using the SMPPS method it can occur that you get less than expected in some rounds and more than expected in other rounds?

btw: how much fee does eligius have?
Lucas
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August 06, 2011, 01:58:15 PM
 #5

SMPPS pays you a fixed value for every share you submit (calculated based on the current difficulty), so it can't get more predictable than that Smiley
maxa
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August 06, 2011, 02:01:35 PM
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SMPPS pays you a fixed value for every share you submit (calculated based on the current difficulty), so it can't get more predictable than that Smiley

Are you sure you get paid a fixed value?

This is what the eligius website says:
If there are sufficient pool funds earned to pay them all in full PPS, that happens. If not, the miners are paid proportional to available funds.
Lucas
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August 06, 2011, 04:15:53 PM
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I can't speak for Eligius, but ArsBitcoin has a buffer of +/- 800 BTC, so it has never happened there weren't enough pool funds (see stats @ http://stats.nuradu.com/)
maxa
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August 06, 2011, 04:45:32 PM
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Good point! I didn't look at it from that perspective.

One more question (a little bit off-topic): one would expect a pool to have no luck (or bad luck) at all in the long term. How can Arsbitcoin then have such a large buffer?
Lucas
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August 06, 2011, 05:02:39 PM
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I guess the term is not long enough yet Smiley

You can see the full history as they only started with SMPSS last month, there were some very lucky blocks which made the buffer grow pretty quickly, and then it went up and down but stayed pretty much stable around 800
UrbanAdventurer
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August 06, 2011, 07:17:16 PM
 #10

Why would you join a pool with a buffer?  That is just unpaid shares.
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