Litecoin Wallet: You’ll need somewhere safe to store your Litecoins, so download the official Litecoin wallet atwww.Litecoin.org. This allows you to deposit Litecoins as well as transfer them out to exchanges like BTC-e or to other users. Don’t forget that your wallet isn’t secured until you’ve encrypted it (Settings > Encrypt Wallet). And be diligent in constantly backing it up (File > Backup Wallet). If your hard drive crashes, you lose your Litecoins along with your data.
Pooled Mining Account: I’m a member ofWeMineLTC.com, and I recommend it. You’ll see references in some guides to Burnside’s (ltc.kattare.com); please avoid it. During my research the site was down for four consecutive days. I’ve chosen WeMineLTC simply for its reliable uptime in my experience.
Stratum Proxy: Don’t stress the technical jargon here. Stratum is just a more efficient method of mining, and this lightweight EXE file auto-connects you to the WeMineLTC pool. You’ll need it regardless of the mining client you choose.
Reaper: This command-line executable is my Litecoin miner of choice, if only because I’m intimately familiar with it. It’s a good balance between the simple but less configurable GUIMiner and the robust but more complicated CGminer.
GUIMiner-Scrypt: This is a user-friendly version of CGminer with a graphical front-end and an alternative to Reaper. It features a dropdown menu for pre-defined graphics card settings, though it doesn’t yet have auto-configurations for AMD’s Hawaii GPU (Radeon 290/290x). You can download it here, though this guide doesn’t cover its usage.
Bundled Software: For your convenience — and in case any of the download locations are offline — I’ve uploaded the Stratum Proxy, Reaper software, and GUIMiner into a handy zip folder. Download it here via Mega.
Secure Router: Never plug any PC directly into your broadband modem, and never use a router without enabling a firewall. The nature of cryptocurrency means that hackers abound, so keep your mining operations safe from intruders.
Configuring Your Mining Client
Now for the tricky part, because this is the exact opposite of plug-and-play. One of my readers likened cryptocurrency mining to alchemy. Indeed, there is no “right way” just yet. That’s because every piece of hardware requires a different configuration to extract the best hashrate (your processing power). Even if I gave you the configuration file for my Sapphire 280x GPU, yourSapphire 280x GPU would still require tweaking, and that’s because even identical graphics card models have some variance in performance.
Step 1: Create workers at WeMineLTC.com/accountworkers. Assuming you’ve already registered, the next step is creating one “worker” per mining machine. Workers help identify your rig with the pool, and the added bonus is that WeMineLTC will send you an instant notification should one of your workers go offline. Don’t sweat creating a secure password for your worker (just don’t make it the same as your account login!) — after all, you won’t mind someone else mining on your behalf, right?
Step 2: Configure your Reaper client. Unzip the Reader download to your location of choice. Inside the folder there are two text configuration files you’ll need to edit, “Reaper.conf” and “Litecoin.conf.” First, let’s open the Reaper file with Notepad. (Windows may not have an a program associated with opening a configuration file yet. If that’s the case, right click Reaper.conf and select “open” then “select a program from list of installed programs” and select Notepad.)
By default, Reaper.conf will look like this:
kernel reaper.cl save_binaries yes enable_graceful_shutdown no long_polling yes
mine bitcoin mine litecoin mine solidcoin
Go ahead and remove the mine bitcoin and mine solidcoin lines, and adddevice 0. That device line tells Reaper to only use your graphics card. If you have two graphics cards (or a card with dual GPUs like the Radeon 7990), you’ll add device 0 and device 1 underneath it. Your resulting file should look like this:
kernel reaper.cl save_binaries yes enable_graceful_shutdown no long_polling yes device 0
Next, let’s get Litecoin.conf set up. Cozy up close, because you’ll be tweaking this configuration file constantly until you achieve the highest hashrate possible without any GPU errors in Reaper. Out of the gate, here’s how Litecoin.conf will look:
The first four lines tell Reaper how to connect to your mining pool, in our case WeMineLTC. But remember that we’re using a proxy to increase efficiency and auto-connect for us. Therefore, let’s instruct Reaper to talk to our proxy:
host 127.0.0.1 port 8332 user worker.name (enter your WeMineLTC worker here) pass password (replace “password” with your worker’s password)
The next lines of code are passed directly to your graphics card, instructing it how to mine and how hard to work at it. This is where the learning curve shoots skyward. I recommend leaving worksize at 256, and beginning with anaggression of 13. threads_per_gpu will be either 1 or 2, sharethreads should rest at 14, and lookup_gap we’ll leave at 2. gpu_thread_concurrency is determined by knowing your graphic card’s memory bandwidth and trying multiples of 64. As an example, AMD’s Radeon 290x has a 512-bit memory bus, and I’ve found this configuration to be the sweet spot for me:
Aggression and GPU Thread Concurrency are the most important variables. Ideally you want to see the highest hashrate possible without any GPU errors, because they significantly decrease your efficiency and your share output. To get a general idea of your card’s ideal hashrate, browse this Mining Hardware Comparison.
Putting it all together, here’s what your Litecoin.conf file should look like structurally, even if your configuration settings are different:
host 127.0.0.1 port 8332 user worker.name pass password
Step 3: Launch your Stratum Proxy, then launch Reaper. If successful, you’ll see code similar to this:
A general rule of thumb is that if your PC becomes completely unresponsive, lower the aggression rate. Start with 13 and increase it until you’ve struck a balance between hashrate and usability, no higher than 20. If you’ve built a dedicated mining rig — a system devoted to nothing but mining — don’t worry about the system being unresponsive, as long as Reaper is still functional.
Above all else, don’t give up. Litecoin mining is a sensitive operation, but you’ll find that success comes with a hearty level of satisfaction.
I acknowledge that this guide is only scratching the surface. We haven’t touched on overclocking and undervolting your graphics card, measuring your power consumption with a Kill-A-Watt, etc. Therefore, I’m happy to make myself available via Twitter (@killyourfm) and email (email@example.com) if you need any assistance. Please consider this an evolving guide, and if you have suggestions for improving it, don’t hesitate to sound off in the comments section below.
Finally, here are some additional resources to take advantage of :