If you have a computer that is turned on 24/7 or one that you already regularly work on, you may consider using its CPU and GPU to mine for certain cryptocurrencies.
In today’s article, we show you how you can mine Monero using your CPU. But before that, a quick overview of what you will see before you decide to go ahead.
Mining Monero with an iMac – An Overview
We have a late-2015 Retina 5K 27″ iMac that is left on 24/7 for work. The specs for this desktop are:
CPU: 3.3GHz Intel Core i5
GPU: AMD Radeon R9 M395 2GB
Memory: 32GB 1867MHz DDR3
Power Consumption: 70W (Idle) / 197W (CPU Max)
Although there are many coins that can be mined using the software below, Monero (XMR) seems to be the most profitable at time of writing. For us, profitability is not just what is valued highest at the moment (which is how most miners describe it), but also its rate of mining combined with its potential future value. In that list, Monero checks all these boxes.
The software that we are using is provided by the MinerGate, a multi-cryptocurrency mining pool created in 2014 by a group of blockchain enthusiasts. They have over 300,000 members of active miners online in their community, and paid out $20 million to miners in 2017.
The MinerGate GUI mining software features a Smart Miner page that automatically selects the most profitable cryptocurrency to mine at any given time. Simply click on Start smart mining to begin the mining process.
Settings, confirmed balance and selection of the coin to mine regardless of profitability can be accessed via the Miner page. Under the current version, you may choose to mine other cryptocurrencies such as Monero Classic (XMC), Bytecoin (BCN), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), and Zcash (ZEC).
For each of these coins, you can adjust the number of CPU cores to be deployed for mining.
On the right side, the number of good shares, bad shares and time since the last share is found is shown. It also shows the shares difficulty, unconfirmed balance of coin mined so far, and the reward method, which can be adjusted via your account dashboard accessed via a web browser.
MinerGate also features Merged Mining which allows you to mine several other cryptocurrencies at the same time without the loss of hashrate for the main coin, leading to extra profit.
For withdrawal of the confirmed balance, click on Wallet at the top left. Coins mined can be withdrawn to the Freewallet app, which can then be transferred to your private wallet.
All the information above is also shown on your account dashboard which is accessed via a web browser (see below). Other information provided includes MinerGate’s total pool hashrate and number of miners, the global hashrate, blockchain height and difficulty, and the top 5 miners in MinerGate’s pool. You can also select between Pay Per Last N Shares (PPLNS) or Pay Per Share (PPS) mining reward fee type. Each has its advantages and disadvantages which you can read up about in the FAQ after you have set up your account.
Now that we have seen an overview of the MinerGate mining software, let’s take a look at the kind of results that can be expected from running this mining software.
Monero Mining Results
The screenshot above shows the mining results using the MinerGate GUI mining software version 1.7 after 2 days running on the iMac with the specs given earlier.
On average, it appears that about 0.001 XMR could be mined after 2 days running 3 out of the 4 CPU cores. This rate would vary depending on the hashrate afforded by your CPU and the varying shares difficulty over time. Also, if you have a more powerful machine, your results should be higher than shown above.
Assuming all parameters remaining constant, you can do the math to determine the output after 20 days (0.01 XMR) and after 200 days (0.1 XMR).
Given the value of XMR of about $35 at time of writing, this may not seem like a lot. If we key in some figures in the Monero mining profitability calculator, the results we get as shown below may not seem encouraging.
However, we are hopeful that XMR will return to its highest value of $500 (7 January 2018) in the near future, or 10 times that amount in the foreseeable future. Monero is after all a privacy coin that is both secure and untraceable (unlike pseudonymous bitcoin) and was at one time (in 2017) an accepted cryptocurrency for the purchase of music albums of Mariah Carey and Dolly Parton, amongst others.
In terms of mining cost and profitability, the iMac is constantly being used for work anyway. Additional power consumption from the mining is quite marginal. So the profitability table above doesn’t really apply. We are not selling Moneros off monthly to pay for the electricity. We are mining it for the future and for its potential future value. It’s just a small ongoing expense for now.
Looking at the last row of the profitability table above, if the price of Monero were to eventually return to its all-time high value $500, then the 0.3402 XMR would be more than sufficient to cover the annual cost of electricity ($70.08).
CPU Temperature and Fan Speed
The other consideration is the temperature of the CPU as the mining is turned on.
During normal use of our iMac while mining is switched off, the temperature varies between 50 to 58oC depending on the amount of software running and browser tabs opened at any given moment. The fan runs at approximately 1,200 RPM. We used Fanny to get these readings on our iMac.
With 3 CPU cores running at an average hashrate of 800 H/s when the mining is switched on, the temperature increases to 60 to 68oC with an average fan speed of 1,800 RPM. At times it approaches 70oC with fan speed at 3,000 RPM, especially when the computer is also used for other demanding tasks. These figures are actually reasonable for the amount of workload at hand, considering that no additional cooling is deployed – natural ambient or forced.
If you’re ready, we will proceed next to set up a free account and install the MinerGate mining software.
How to Start Mining Monero
Follow the steps below to set up a free account and download the mining software to start mining:
- Go to https://www.minergate.com and register a new account with your email address. Make sure it is a valid email address as it will be used to receive confirmation emails from MinerGate.
- Fill up the blank fields and click on Sign up & start mining button.
- After logging in, you will be taken to the Downloads page. Select the version of xFast GUI Miner (on the left column) for the correct platform and OS of your computer.
- Once the download is complete, install the software. If you’re using a Mac, double-click to open the downloaded file. If you have an anti-virus software running, it may falsely detect the downloaded software as a malware or mining app. If that happens, you may want to deactivate your anti-virus software temporarily BUT verify that the item detected is not a malicious piece of code e.g. Trojan horse, virus etc.
- Drag the MinerGate app to the Applications folder as shown below.
- Launch the MinerGate app. If you’re using a Mac, at this point, if app is stopped from opening because it is a software that was downloaded from the internet, you will need to go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy and enable your computer to launch this software.
- Once the app is open, log in with the email you used to register the account in Step 1. Click on Start mining.
- If you come across the proxy settings, choose No proxy and click OK to proceed.
- The app should open on the Smart Miner page. Click on Start smart mining to begin mining based on the automatic selection by the app for the most profitable coin to mine.
- Alternatively, click on the Miner tab at the top to go to the Miner page. Here you can set the number of CPU cores to deploy for CPU mining, activate GPU mining, and start/pause the mining. To change the number of cores, you will need to pause mining first, and select a number from the dropdown list.
That’s it! Let your mining run and see how much you can accumulate in your first 24 hours. You can run it for 5 days to get the daily average for a better measure of what your mining profits will be like. To change your reward method, log in to your account on the web browser and go to Dashboard.