How to mine Litecoin – GPU mining
Crypto-currency price has skyrocketed lately and Litecoin seems to have appreciated even more than Bitcoin with a 400% increase in value over the span of last month. If you are not familiar with Litecoin yet, it is a decentralized digital peer-to-peer currency used over internet based off the concepts of the popular Bitcoin. Litecoin runs on the network of users that employ it. Compared to Bitcoin where transaction confirmations takes 10 minutes, Litecoin has a faster confirmation time of 2.5 minutes. The number of Litecoins will reach its limit when 84 million is produced as opposed to Bitcoin’s limit of 21 million, and it’s projected that it won’t occur until 2040.
Litecoin uses a scrypt based algorithm, unlike Bitcoin’s SHA-256.The scrypt algorithm is more reliant on memory, not processing efficiency. That is the reason those specialized hardwares developed for Bitcoin mining will not work with Litecoin and making GPU mining more effective. At the moment, the most efficient card to mine Litecoin is AMD Radeon 7950 with the best hash per watt ratio.
Litecoin mining guide – GPU mining
Not all graphics cards support mining, but medium range and above graphics card which is bought within the last 3 years should be able to mine. Before starting, make sure that your graphics card drivers are up to date. ATI and AMD cards will need the AMD-APP-SDK that can be downloaded here.
Step 1 : Create a wallet
To start mining crypto-coins, you will need a wallet to store the digital currency. The client could be downloaded from the official Litecoin site. Choose and download the Litecoin client for your operating system then proceed to install it. The client will synchronize with the network to download the blockchain which contains all transactions ever performed. Remember it runs on the network of its users? It will take fairly long, so let it run while we move on.
I highly recommend that you take some measures to secure your wallet. The Litecoin client has a built in encryption which can be activated by going to Settings > Encrypt wallet. Enter the pass phrase and write it down to be kept somewhere safe. Losing your pass phrase will render the wallet useless as no one will be able to open it ever again. You can also learn more about securing your wallet from the tutorial on How to create a secure wallet.
Step 2 : Join a pool
We should look for a pool where multiple users work together to mine Litecoin and share the rewards based on work completed as it is not viable for solo mining anymore. I will be using coinotron for this tutorial. Register for an account at coinotron.com. After that, log in with the newly created account, select My Account and add a worker. Insert worker name and password. Also, remember to change Coin to LTC.
After added, you should see a screen similar to this:
Step 3 : Install a mining software
CGMiner and GUIMiner are both popular choices within the mining community. I find the GUIMiner-scrypt to be very unstable so I would recommend CGMiner for this tutorial. It is a command based software which is a challenge to setup for first time users. But we will guide you through step by step and you will be mining in no time.
Download the mining software :
Extract the downloaded files to C:\ for easier setup later.
Step 4 : Start mining
To start mining you have to run the following command at cmd.exe :
c:\cgminer-2.11.3-win32\cgminer –scrypt -o http://coinotron.com:3334 -u <login> -p <password> –thread-concurrency 24000 -I 10 -g 1 -w 256
- <login> is your username.worker which we have created at coinotron.com, for instance my login is ltcminer.worker1.
- <password> is the password for your worker, for instance my password is set as pass.
- -I is intensity, which can be set from 0 to 18. For me, the optimum settings is 16 where i can get a good hashrate. At 18, your computer will become unusable and will sometimes freeze.
- -g is GPU threads.
- -w is worksize.
- –thread-concurrency can be tweaked but must be in multiple of 64. The concurrency settings is different with each card, so make sure that it fits your card model. For instance the concurrency for 7xxx cards is 64 * (bus width of card in bits). So, for a 7950, that would be 64 * 384 = 24576 and the ideal values are 21712 or 24000. You can look for your bus width here.
57xx cards: 2368-4096 (3200)
58xx cards: 4096-8192 (5600, 7168, and 8000)
5970 card: 4096-8192 (5632 or 8000)
67xx cards: 2368-4096 (3200)
68xx cards: 3008-6720 (4800)
69xx cards: 4096-8192 (5600, 7168, and 8000)
6990 card: 4096-8192 (5632 or 8000)
- –temp-cutoff sets the temperature limit before it will cutoff. The default value is 95 which should be fine for most cards.
You will see the output similar to this.
Note that the hashrate is rather low when intensity is set to 10. I find 16 intensity is the optimum setting for me. You will have to see what works best for you.
To simplify things, so you do not need to memorize all the commands each time you start mining, you can create a shortcut on the desktop. Go to desktop, then right click on desktop and select New > Shortcut. Paste the command in to it and create the shortcut.
Now you can start mining easily with the shortcut on your desktop.
If you are interested to find out about CPU mining, here’s the tutorial : How to mine Litecoin – CPU mining.
Compare the different types of miners and GPU settings here, https://litecoin.info/Mining_Hardware_Comparison.