The Casual Miner



There is a reality that must be accepted within the world of the PC Gamer. Mining is here to stay. As Gamers, we all want it to go away. We want to see those battles for the mid-range pricing of GPUs and see supply be easy for gamers to access so we can enjoy our PC games, the way GPUs were intended to be used. However, we need to accept the reality that those days are not totally coming back. The Crypto Miner is now a real part of the GPU eco system.

With mining here to stay, the question needs to be raised: Should the PC Gaming world at least partially embrace mining? We have for years freely gave our spare computing power to programs like SETI and various Protein Folding initiatives as well as even used it to help track near earth asteroids.

I have been an advocate for some time of the formation of companies that would buy our spare computing power and use it to combine and sell supercomputer level access to places that could not afford to buy and install a supercomputer system. After all, why just give away the computing power we paid good money for?

I am left to sadly admit, mining can offer a way for a PC Gamer to use some of that hardware in their home to maybe make a few extra bucks down the road. Many think Mining is complicated to setup, however, it can be EXTREMELY easy. Let us talk about two services I have been looking at that can make it simple to do some causal mining in your spare time.

My goal was to find a simple way to set up a miner as I did not want to go through finding pools and setting up specific mining types. I wanted to just flip a switch and my PC would do some mining, bank me a little coin and then flip a switch to turn it off when I wanted to do some gaming. No need to learn Linux or delve deep into the cores of optimized BIOS or specialty mining algorithms.

To this end, I found two different services that offer similar approaches - NiceHash and Cudominer. Both services make the process super easy. You create an account on the site, download their application and start mining.

The application benchmarks the hardware you have and then determines which mining algorithm your system will run best and is off to the races, or mines as it were.  Each will allow you to pause the mining at any time. The hash rate you mine is applied to your account and you receive a payout for the work your computer does.


In Cudominer, you can choose how this is paid out by receiving it in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero or Ravencoin. This payout is placed in your wallet and can be used by transferring it into a coin exchange such as Coinbase, where you can turn this into real currency or use it as Crypto currency.


Nicehash works similarly, however, the payout is always in Bitcoin. Again, your work is paid into your wallet and then you can move the gains to Coinbase and cash out if you like.

The interfaces for the two are a bit different, with Cudominer having a more robust dashboard in the app. Data includes an estimated power draw, which is just chip power, and the temp of the GPU.

Nicehash has a more minimalistic interface that basically just shows it is running. A full featured dashboard is available through the website. Some features are not implemented on AMD based cards at this time.


In usage, both offer similar experiences. Nicehash seems to set up optimization a bit faster so you get to mining faster. Cudominer has more variety in payout options, giving you choices, which is always a good thing.

Both systems allow you to also make use of your CPU for mining, however, in my experience the gains from CPU mining are marginal at best so I usually just turn it off.

At the end of the day the choice of which to use is a coin flip (pun intended) as both offer the ability to easily mine when you want to, or turn it off when you want to game instead.

As we started this article with, mining is not something gamers like, and I know to many this may feel like selling out. I want you to consider however, that the reality we live in has mining in it and there are ways that gamers can maybe earn a little extra for their hobby with their current equipment and not a lot of time invested.

Personally, I would rather use my GPU to be playing some Cyberpunk, but when I am sleeping or gone for the day, why not let my PC do a little mining and earn me some extra cash on the side for that next upgrade or latest game?

The articles content, opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in SAPPHIRE NATION are the authors’ own and do not necessarily represent official policy or position of SAPPHIRE Technology.


Edward Crisler
Edward is the definition of an “old school” gamer, playing computer games as far back at 1977. He hosted a tech talk show for 20 years and is now the North America PR Representative for SAPPHIRE as well as SAPPHIRE’s unofficial gaming evangelist. You can follow him on Twitter @EdCrisler.