Mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be a lucrative activity, as long as you have the appropriate hardware and software. It’s rather obvious why having good hardware is important for mining efficiency, as well as how much money you may make by doing it, but what about the software? Well, in order to get the most out of your mining rig, you’ll need specialized pieces of software that aren’t generally included with standard operating systems. In fact, some of the software won’t run on any operating system other than its own.
If you’re new to crypto mining, however, you’ll probably want to start small. Because Windows has outstanding support for all current hardware and is therefore a good starting point, it’s a decent place to start. That said, because Windows consumes a lot of resources, especially the current version, you’ll have to give up some efficiency in order to feel like you’re back at home again.
Linux, on the other hand, is a much more versatile operating system that comes in a wide range of distributions. Some of these distributions are so lightweight that you can utilize them to their fullest potential while others include all of the software you’ll need to begin mining right away, which isn’t the case with Windows. With this in mind, we decided to conduct some research and testing in order to determine which Linux distros are best for crypto mining. The following are the ones that left the biggest impression on us:
Top 3 Mining OS for Crypto
- HiveOS – The most popular overall mining operating system, which is simple to use, cheap, and comes with a complimentary tier.
- RaveOS – The best operating system for easy and inexpensive cryptocurrency farming.
- PimpOS – Amazing scalability with wide hardware coverage.
Remember – We took a number of key factors into consideration when compiling this list, including price, performance, reliability, customer service, and more. And although we picked our favorites, any of the providers on the list offer great services and could be a good choice for your crypto mining farm.
HiveOS is advertised as the ideal platform for mining and managing cryptocurrencies. And its developers aren’t kidding when they claim that it’s the best platform for mining and controlling cryptocurrencies. Only a quick look at the HiveOS website reveals how cutting-edge this software is, with everything from the design to functionality looking sleek and simple. Not only does the program appear elegant and easy to use, but it also works well with companion apps that allow you to remotely manage your miners on Android devices. Linux distros specialized in cryptocurrency mining are few and far between; however, there are many of them.
HiveOS Mining UI
HiveOS is a great desktop OS for mining that can be used with most modern GPUs. It supports all Nvidia GeForce 10XX, 16XX, and 20XX graphics cards as well as AMD’s RX Polaris, Vega, and Navi series. ASIC miners are also supported. If you have more than one rig running, you’re in luck because HiveOS has a bulk installation option that allows you to set up an entire mining farm in little time. Other notable features include real-time monitoring, remote OS upgrades and restarts on the fly, on-the-fly tuning, 2FA support (two-factor authentication), multilingual support, and even built-in VPN capabilities
The cost of HiveOS is highly competitive and does not break the bank. A basic plan costs $3 per rig or $2 per ASIC miner every month. You may also get better rates by joining Hive’s mining pool, which is a paid membership program. If you’re not ready to make a decision right away, don’t worry because you can use HiveOS for free as long as you want. Naturally, there are limitations, such as the fact that you can only have four workers who mine specific types of currencies.
RaveOS is a cryptocurrency operating system that appears to be quite comparable to HiveOS. RaveOS, like its competitor, is attempting to bring crypto mining into the mainstream and has thus far done an excellent job at it. Another similarity is the companion mobile app, which performs many of the same functions as its rivals’ software, such as remote monitoring, overclocking, rebooting, and more.
RaveOS comes pre-installed on a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. The standard installation image for RaveOS only takes up around 1 GB, so you should be able to get a normal rig up and running in no time. There’s also a separate client for installing the software on numerous devices at once, as well as a third firmware built especially for ASIC miners. Read more about each client on the official website so you don’t make the mistake of installing the wrong one. RaveOS is also similar to HiveOS, with the exception of a few minor features. Outside of that, everything else about RaveOS is straightforward and there are a lot of comparable functions offered by HiveOS, such as wallet management, detailed statistics, auto-reboot, all-in-one dashboard, support for most AMD and Nvidia GPUs, and more.
There are three different pricing plans to choose from. The Enthusiast plan is completely free and allows you access to all features, but it can only support up to 3 devices. Meanwhile, the Pro package costs $2 per rig per month and offers enhanced customer service. The Corporate package is the third and highest tier of service. Price varies according on the number of miners used and is intended for businesses with at least 300 computing devices.
3. PiMP OS
I know what you’re thinking, but PiMP is an acronym that stands for Portable Instant Mining Platform. As the name implies, PiMP OS is a specialized Linux distribution built especially for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining. The platform is based on Debian, which has a reputation as one of the greatest distros for developers and coders. Although Debian itself may be used to mine, using a derivative like PiMP
PiMP OS Desktop
Even though your graphics card is part of the same computer, the Portable Instant Mining Platform supports AMD and Nvidia GPUs. The operating system comes pre-installed with all of the tools and software you’ll need to start farming, as well as rigs of any size. Although the installation image is rather large at almost 4.5GB, you don’t have to install it locally since the operating system supports live booting. However, according to the developers, using a generic USB stick to run PiMP is not advised.
Buying a PiMP OS license will set you back $35, which is rather inexpensive when compared to not having to pay for the license on a monthly basis. The distro, on the other hand, gets pricey if you intend to install it on many rigs because each key only supports one machine. The good news is that buying keys in bulk saves you money. If you buy at least 50 keys, each one costs $32; orders of more than 150 get you a discount down to $30 per key.
4. Mining OS (by Minerstat)
Minerstat’s Mining OS is a simple Linux distribution. The firm developed a kind of all-in-one monitoring and management software particularly for cryptocurrency miners, with Mining OS as the major attraction. Depending on your hardware, you can choose from a few different versions of the operating system. Check out the official website to see which GPU models are compatible with each version of the operating system.
Minerstat Dashboard (MsOS)
More than 50 different types of Nvidia and AMD GPUs are supported by NiceHash, which also includes tools for monitoring FPGAs and ASICs. Currently, you may utilize a total of 39 mining clients in conjunction with the distro, giving you access to a variety of currencies. The setup procedure is incredibly simple since the OS can be booted off a USB drive or SSD and just needs to be updated with a few values in the config.js file. There are several exciting amenities available, such as remote access, profit switching, control room, ClockTune, and more.
If you’re searching for a low-cost, scalable Linux distro for cryptocurrency mining, then congratulations: that’s precisely what you’ll get. Mining OS has a free plan with certain limitations, but it may be used indefinitely. You can use the free plan indefinitely if you just need extra power; however, if you want to scale up your operation, you may move to the paid tier where you have complete control over how many workers are used at €1.69 per worker every month. Paying for a 3-month, 6-month, or yearly subscription saves you between 10% and 20%.
SimpleMining is all about simplicity. The distribution has a simple plug and play setup that walks you through the installation process with straightforward directions on how to get started mining. The download page also contains a step-by-step guide on how to flash SimpleMiningOS onto your computer, as well as instructions for generating a bootable USB and transferring from other Linux crypto currency mining distributions.
SimpleMining is compatible with both Windows and Mac computers, so there are no complicated system requirements. The installation file is only around 500 MB big, making it ideal for individuals on a strict data allowance. If you’re more interested in the features, however, you won’t be disappointed by what SimpleMining has to offer. Automatic updates, real-time monitoring, bulk actions applicable to numerous rigs, power off/on schedule, and more are just a few of the other features listed in enormous detail.
You can test SimpleMining for free for up to 30 days, as the software does not have a free tier like some of the other entries on this list. After the trial period has ended, you may continue to use the service for $2 per month if you have up to 50 rigs. If you’re using between 1 and 50 rigs, you’ll pay $2 per month; if you’ve got more than 50, it’ll cost you $1.8 per month. The more rigs you have, the greater the discounts become; your lowest possible rate is $1 per rig per month if you have more than 1,000 machines.
Tails is a Linux distribution that we’ve previously mentioned. Based on our testing, this is one of the most secure Linux distributions available. Even famous whistleblower Edward Snowden recommended Tails on several occasions throughout the years, owing to its exceptional security measures and other unique capabilities that allow users to remain hidden at all times. Tails takes advantage of the Tor network’s strength to improve its security features while also including many additional functionalities that allow users to stay under the radar at all times.
Why is this significant for cryptocurrency mining, then? For many individuals, it isn’t, but there are a number of nations that have banned virtual currencies, such as Bolivia, Iran, India, and others. While the governments of these countries are primarily focused on stopping people from using cryptocurrencies, mining them can also land you in hot water. Tails is a privacy-focused distribution that can assist with this; despite the fact that mining in a nation where cryptos are forbidden is still dangerous to say the least
Tails also includes a bitcoin wallet right out of the box, in addition to other useful tools. The creators of the distribution followed tradition and selected Electrum since it is one of the most secure wallets currently available, keeping with the project’s overall theme. This isn’t like most similar wallets that download the blockchain locally, which saves you lots of space and keeps everything online and anonymous. Tails is entirely free, so there’s no reason not to give it a try. If you want to learn more about Tails before reading our review, go here.
Lubuntu isn’t a cryptocurrency-specific distribution; however, it can do the job as well as any other entrant on this list. The OS’s most significant features are its speed and minimalism. Lubuntu is also one of the most beginner-friendly Linux distributions we’ve ever used. This makes it ideal for both novice crypto miners and those unfamiliar with Linux in general.
Lubuntu is a tiny version of Ubuntu based on the lightweight XFCE distribution. Despite its small size, Lubuntu has a comparable amount of flexibility as other versions of Ubuntu. Although Lubuntu was made to be used on a daily basis, it may also be effortlessly modified to function as a dedicated mining rig. nDespite the fact that it may still carry out its primary purpose if required. If you’re intending to run your mining rig with Luntu, make sure you have the live edition installed. You’ll be able to run the OS off a CD or USB stick, which will save system resources in the process.
Lubuntu is a free, Open Source distribution that is similar to the BSD family of operating systems. Unlike some of the other distros on our list, Lubuntu is free to use and distribute as many times as you want on as many computers as you want. The disadvantage is that in order to make it into an effective crypto mining management platform, you’ll need to customize everything yourself. On the bright side, Lubuntu offers fantastic hardware support, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting started. At least for the most part. Issues may occasionally occur with particular configurations, but this is the case with many non-mining operating systems.
Another simple mining distribution that you may use without having to worry about difficult configuration procedures is SMOS. Installing a rig with SMOS simply requires a few steps, which most users should be able to figure out on their own. But if you’re unsure where to begin or encounter problems along the way, you can always go to the step-by-step guide on the official website that will walk you through every stage of the process.
The most popular functions of SMOS include a remote control fiction, software that is automatically updated, the capacity to modify BIOS settings with ease, and a unique control center that is both user-friendly and easy to use. Advanced overclocking features such as those are also available for tech-savvy users who want to get the most out of their rigs. That includes the option to overclock numerous GPUs at once. For the record, though, this is a delicate operation that can wreak havoc on your hardware if you aren’t cautious; therefore, it’s probably best to avoid overclocking unless you’re well-versed with this process.
SMOS is free right now and will always be. If you’re only running a single rig, you’ll never have to worry about paying. There appears to be no way to pay for the service using credit cards or other payment systems like PayPal. Instead, you’ll need to use one of four supported cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Zcash) to pay for it.
Ubuntu is without a doubt one of the most well-known Linux distributions. This is the distribution that started the Linux movement in the first place and remains one of the most popular distros today. If you want to learn more about Ubuntu’s contributions and rise to fame, check out our detailed Linux facts and statistics article. But suffice it to say that for a cause, the operating system became famous.
Ubuntu is more comparable to traditional computer operating systems than most of the other distros on this list while yet providing comparable hardware support. Ubuntu, unlike Windows or MacOS, gives you a lot more control over and customization options. The fact that this isn’t a dedicated Linux distro for cryptocurrency mining means it isn’t necessarily the best option for large-scale operations. Ubuntu’s simplicity makes it excellent for learning how crypto mining works in familiar surroundings.
Ubuntu’s free-to-use nature is another major draw. Ubuntu is a freemium distribution, which means you won’t have to pay anything up front. In addition, Canonical developers are well-known for providing outstanding long-term assistance, which offers ten years of free upgrades and security maintenance. That’s 10 years of free upgrades and security updates, needless to say. Of course, it’s generous when compared to the fact that you don’t have to pay for the operating system in the first place.
The Ledger’s Myriadcoin Mining Platform OS, or MMPOS for short, is an Ubuntu-based distribution that prioritises stability. The software supports all of the common GPUs and CPUs, as well as specific hardware like field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). An FPGA is a circuit board intended to be configured by the user rather than the manufacturer. If you’re just getting started mining cryptocurrency, you’re probably not using this sort of technology, but having it available is really useful for experienced miners.
MMPOS is a distro that’s well-suited to multi-miner setups. The distro is capable of handling several miners at once, even if they have different hardware. For instance, you may have an AMD-based system, a Nvidia-based system, and even a FPGA rig running simultaneously while the software handles them all. Not only that but each rig may mine a distinct cryptocurrency. Furthermore, the operating system offers both a Linux and Windows version, as well as a single dashboard that allows you to monitor both Linux and Windows mining machines at the same time.
MMPOS is a Linux distribution designed for large-scale crypto mining. The system may easily manage mining farms with dozens or hundreds of rigs. However, it won’t do it for you for free. At the absolute least, that’s not the case. Buying extra credits if you have a significant mining operation is required. The price for 6 GPUs will be $1.50 per month, which is not bad considering that’s enough to power a month’s worth of graphics usage on six GPUs. For more information about the credit system, go to the official website.
Cryptocurrency Mining – Linux vs. Windows
In this post, we’ve discussed a lot about Linux distributions for cryptocurrency mining, but is it really worth switching to Linux if you’re currently using Windows? After all, you can mine on Windows just as well as Linux. So are there any benefits or drawbacks to selecting one operating system above the other when it comes to crypto mining? The answer is yes, although there are many more benefits than drawbacks. Let’s look at a few of them in further detail.
In terms of choice, Windows and Linux are worlds apart. You can choose from a limited number of Windows versions, but most current crypto mining software is designed for Windows 10 and some works well on Windows 7 as well. However, Linux enables you to do anything. There are gaming distros, laptops distros, mining distros, and any other sort of distro you can think of. Although Windows may be modified to meet almost any purpose because it is adaptable in nature, it isn’t nearly as flexible as Linux.
If you’ve been using Windows for a while, you’re probably aware that Microsoft’s operating system isn’t the quickest to get up and running. Things have improved since the debut of Windows 10, but you can expect to wait around 30-40 minutes on average for the installation procedure to finish. That isn’t really a big problem if you’re only working with a single mining rig, but installing the OS on numerous rigs might take some time. Unless you can install it on all of them at once, of course.
Linux, on the other hand, is quick to set up since most distributions are tiny in comparison with Windows. Because most distributions take up far less space than Windows, Linux is fast to install. Arch-based distributions, for example, are well-known for being light and allowing you to get everything else at your own pace after installing the command-Line tool. Of course, there are bigger distros available; however , few compare to the 4.6 GB download size of Windows 10.
One of the primary reasons for Windows’ tremendous popularity is that it is simple to use. Because Windows is designed for regular usage, you will only need to configure it minimally. There are a lot of settings to play with and several programs to install, but none of it is required. However, because you’re using Windows as a dedicated cryptocurrency miner, there’s a lot of configuration necessary. Constant updates must be disabled.
If you use Ubuntu, for example, you’ll have to install the mining software separately on Linux. If you go with a specialized mining distro like the majority of those we discussed in this post, however, that’s not the case. Because it’s designed for mining only and doesn’t need much setup because everything you’ll need is already configured, a distribution like that has very little configuration needed.