In my previous post on How to mine Bitcoin on your Mac I recommended MacMiner as my Bitcoin miner of choice. Like Bitcoin itself, the mining hardware and software space moves at the speed of light and shortly after I posted my mining piece I switched to a new OS X mining client called Asteroid.
Although the screenshots below show Bitcoin (BTC) mining, Asteroid is also a capable Litecoin (LTC) miner, which, as I blogged over the weekend, is a better choice if you're just getting into mining crypto-currencies. The BTC difficulty rate is far too high to make any ROI mining with the GPU in your Mac and BTC mining requires dedicated hardware (ASIC) that's both expensive and constrained.
Here are some features in the first release of Asteroid:
- Easy install, clean UI, with full retina graphics
- Monitor from your smartphone, thanks to support for MobileMiner
- Pre-configured with settings for the 30 most popular BTC/LTC pools
- Crowdsourced Scrypt settings, so you get the best Litecoin hash rates as found by other asteroid users
- Uses keychain to keep your passwords organized and secure
- Temperature monitoring with alerts and automatic cool downs
- Monitor a coin balance from within the app to watch your pool payouts
- Hash rate in dock icon, as well as device stats in dock menu
- In-app feedback
- Automatic software updates
- Open-source and uses the unofficial cgminer for OS X binaries
- Ultra-transparent asteroid is written in an interpreted programming language (applescriptobjc), so you can read the exact same code that runs it (instead of trusting a pre-compiled binary)
- cgminer 3.7.2 on the backend
Here are some Asteroid screenshots:
Besides liking the name, there are other benefits to mining with Asteroid. I prefer its clean and concise UI, Keychain support and remote monitoring and control from my iPhone via MobileMiner. Pictured above is the main Asteroid window which is small, but information dense. At a glance you can grok your total mining output (the large green bar) and the individual performance of each of miners separately.
Astroid displays your hashing performance in a badge on the dock icon.
The Asteroid Pool configuration which is pre-configured with settings for the 30 most popular Bitcoin and Litecoin pools
Asteroid's general preferences allow you to (optionally) make a small donation to the developer, which I highly recommend to help fund development and keep Asteroid free.
Asteroid's Litecoin preferences allow you to adjust its thread-concurrency and work size. Asteroid uses crowd-sourced data to find the best settings for scrypt (Litecoin) on its internal cgminer mining engine. These settings are specific to each graphics card and can involve a lot of time to tweak. Asteroid will automatically check this database and if it finds settings that would get you better speeds for your GPU, it will let you know.
One of Asteroid's best features is its MobileMiner integration. The MobileMiner apps (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) allow you to remotely monitor and control your Bitcoin, Litecoin, and other Cryptocoin mining rigs from your iPhone. Setup is simple and there are no firewall changes or port-forwarding required. A $3.99 in-app purchase enables push and email notifications for when your rig goes offline and you can start, stop and restart your miners remotely.
If you're interested in mining crypto-currencies on your Mac I recommend downloading Asteroid and starting with Litecoin. Here's how you do it:
- Download and install Litecoin-QT for Mac, then leave it running to download the blockchain
- Encrypt your wallet and store printed copies of your private key in a safe location in your home, office and offsite backup locations. Do not store your private key on your computer.
- Create an account at a Litecoin mining pool. If you're in the U.S. I recommend WeMineLTC.com, a powerful stratum-powered Litecoin mining pool that pays out after only 20 confirms.
- Enter your pool credentials in the Asteroid application and mine away.
Don't forget to check the box for "upload my settings" and to donate a few minutes of your mining time to the developer.