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Author Topic: The dollar cost of bitmining energy  (Read 6856 times)
Ground Loop
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July 16, 2010, 05:42:14 AM
 #1

I run my computers off solar-generated electricity, so I keep pretty tight tabs on how much power they consume.

I have one headless Ubuntu server that is always-on, usually with the disk array spun down, as it has some central network management roles.  It's an Intel Core2Duo E6300 @ 1.86 GHz, and mines at about 950 khash/s.

I was curious to see the impact bitcoind generation would have on it.  Here is what it looks like:



The lowest level on the left is idle, and the noise after it is bitcoind inhaling the block history.  The step up is the bitminer threads.
In short, hashing raised the idle floor from about 120W to 160W, or +40W.

This draws 29 kilowatt-hours a month from my generation, which means I net some $3.80 less for power ($0.13/kwh marginal power rate)

If I generate an average of 13 blocks a month at the current difficulty, BTC 650, that puts my cost at about US$0.005/BTC.

In short, I'm better off buying BTC from the exchange than generating them on this particular machine.  Food for thought.

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knightmb
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July 16, 2010, 06:10:06 AM
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It's like they always say, "To make a billion dollars, you have to start with 4 billion dollars first"  Cheesy

Bitcoiner
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July 16, 2010, 01:54:33 PM
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In short, I'm better off buying BTC from the exchange than generating them on this particular machine.  Food for thought.

Don't forget to amortize your fixed costs. Those parts don't last forever and eventually need replacing.

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satoshi
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July 16, 2010, 05:58:44 PM
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Neat chart.

Difficulty just increased by 4 times, so now your cost is US$0.02/BTC.
Ground Loop
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July 16, 2010, 06:02:10 PM
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Normally, I would include the cost of hardware, but in this case the hardware is already necessary and sunk.  It's just a software addition, so the only incremental cost is the electric power.

If I was building dedicated miner hardware, then I'd calculate that as well.

Mostly I was trying to decide whether to leave generation on, or off, even in the event I had a real need for BTC.
In this case, OFF was the obvious answer.  It's currently cheaper to buy BTC than generate them on this class of hardware.  I'm curious to see if the market values adjust with the difficulty, or even the arrival of the power bill.

I suspect many of the big-number BTC miners are using someone else's compute farm (work, school, etc) and externalizing the cost of the power.

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July 16, 2010, 06:12:20 PM
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Normally, I would include the cost of hardware, but in this case the hardware is already necessary and sunk.  It's just a software addition, so the only incremental cost is the electric power.

If I was building dedicated miner hardware, then I'd calculate that as well.

Mostly I was trying to decide whether to leave generation on, or off, even in the event I had a real need for BTC.
In this case, OFF was the obvious answer.  It's currently cheaper to buy BTC than generate them on this class of hardware.  I'm curious to see if the market values adjust with the difficulty, or even the arrival of the power bill.

I suspect many of the big-number BTC miners are using someone else's compute farm (work, school, etc) and externalizing the cost of the power.


Electricity is included in my rent, and electricity is cheap where I live anyways; far below market prices.

Uh oh...

Step 1: Government subsidizes electricity.
Step 2: Bitcoin miners move in.
Step 3: Government seizes Bitcoin miner's assets.

Rinse and repeat...

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knightmb
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July 16, 2010, 07:07:12 PM
 #7

LOL, I can see the frontpage with the FBI hauling out high power voltage lines rigged to a server farm with the guy yelling "Don't unplug them, I still need 20 more confirmations for the last 50 that was generated!!"

bdonlan
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July 16, 2010, 07:10:37 PM
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LOL, I can see the frontpage with the FBI hauling out high power voltage lines rigged to a server farm with the guy yelling "Don't unplug them, I still need 20 more confirmations for the last 50 that was generated!!"
Don't worry, your machine doesn't need to be online to get confirmations, as long as you managed to announce the block once before you were unplugged :)
Stone Man
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July 16, 2010, 07:28:19 PM
 #9

...
If I generate an average of 13 blocks a month at the current difficulty, BTC 650, that puts my cost at about US$0.005/BTC.

In short, I'm better off buying BTC from the exchange than generating them on this particular machine.  Food for thought.

I like the graph too. I have been wondering just how much our processors use and this looks like the closest estimate.

Also, I am a bit confused. Last I checked the market rate was about $0.08 so it would be a lot cheaper to generate your own than buy them even now with an increased difficulty at $0.02/BTC it is still 4 times cheaper than the exchange.

I am going to have to recheck my numbers because I thought I was spending about $0.072 to generate mine.

Thanks,
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