Can your old computer mine bitcoin? Developer makes the test

Deepak Gupta January 18, 2022
Updated 2022/01/18 at 12:15 PM

The Bitcoin network has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. The coins of the same name, which the network uses as a means of payment, are currently by far the strongest cryptocurrency on the market. So it seems only logical that more and more people want to get their share of the cake and connect to the global network. However, getting started is only worthwhile in the rarest of cases. Do you want mine bitcoin You actually need hardware with considerable computing power. But what if you only have an old computer available?

Bitcoin mining – with a PC veteran

Of course, even an outdated device can mine Bitcoin, as long as it has a minimum of computing power. The question that comes with this is how long the process will take. After all, you are not the only member of the network and you have to assert yourself against entire mining farms. These use so much electricity that they are now even banned in some countries. At the turn of the year, the government of Kosovo passed a law against crypto mining.

Even with a modern gaming PC, it is not easy to get a reasonable return on the Bitcoin network. But developer Dmitrii Eliuseev goes one step further. He plugged in with his Toshiba T3200SX, a laptop from 1989. Eliuseev wanted to find out how long it takes to mine Bitcoin with this veteran of PC history – and whether it is even possible. With its 16 megahertz processor, the device from Toshiba had the most modern technology of its time.

84 million years for one US dollar

In his post on the Dev Genius blog, the developer describes his approach. Since there was no mining software for the MS-DOS operating system released in 1981, Eliuseev quickly wrote his own program in C++. To compile the software for the old system, he used the publicly available Open Watcom compiler. Instead of connecting the Toshiba laptop to the Bitcoin network using a network card, he used the simulation mode of his software. It was based on an already calculated block of the blockchain.

The Python and IoT developer found, unsurprisingly, that it would hardly be worth mining Bitcoin with such an old computer. After all, the arithmetic operations led to a power consumption of almost 39 watts with an output of just 15 hashes per second (H/s). At such a rate, it would take a good 584 million years to mine just $1 worth of Bitcoin, according to Eliuseev.

That means: You can do it as a little gimmick. But if you really want to mine Bitcoin, you need far more computing power. For example, they supply five graphics cards for mining.

Source: Dev Genius

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