I mentioned it briefly in my Gigabyte R9 380 Review, and have since grown to like and have used the new Ethermine pool quite a bit. Ethermine.org is run by the same people who operate the Ethpool mining pool. The biggest difference between the two is that the original Ethpool runs a pseudo-solo type pool payout system, while Ethermine has a more standard approach using a PPLNS payout system.
With the increase in network hash rate, and thus difficulty, the solo style payment method used by Ethpool is not as attractive as it once was to smaller miners. With payout on a respectable 60 Mhash/s mining rig dropping to around 1 ETH per day, it can take up to 5 days to mine a block making payouts using the solo method far and few between.
Because it is based upon the Ethpool foundation, Ethermine provides the same level of mining efficiency and reliability as Ethpool, but pays out in the more traditional PPLNS. The pool supports Stratum mode via one of two options: Stratum Proxy v0.0.5 by dwarfpool and Stratum mode using QtMiner, as well as supporting the Getwork protocol when using ethminer.
Ethermine is an anonymous pool requiring no formal registration, just a wallet address into which you will mine to. One you have a miner setup and pointing to the pool (discussed below), you can enter your wallet address in the box at the upper right of the Ethermine home page and click on “Check Status”. This will take you to your “account” page for your wallet address. Here you can view your miner hash-rate, statistical graphs, and balance information.
Payouts are queued regularly and by default you will receive your payment once your account balance reaches the minimum threshold of 1 ETH. A great feature is that the payment threshold is configurable under the Account Setting tab (found about halfway down your account page). From here you can set an optional email address if you wish to receive notifications when a miner goes down.
The Account Settings tab is also where you can set your automatic payment threshold, with the available current range from 0.1 Ether to a maximum of 10 Ether. The pool does note that for automatic payouts that are set to less than 1 Ether there will be a 0.005 Ether fee applied.
These settings are verified by providing the public IP address of one of your miners, thus avoiding the need to register to make and change account settings. You can use many different sites, such as Whatismyip.com, or simply type
My IP into Google if you do not know your public facing IP.
To get started, Ethermine provides a detailed FAQ page accessed by clicking on the FAQ menu item found at the top of every page. This page gives examples of each of the three connection options, Dwarfpool Statum Proxy, QTMiner, and Getwork, as well as a list of the more commonly asked questions at the bottom of the page.
Below I have provided an example of a batch file configured for QTMiner to get started mining on Ethermine.
setx GPU_FORCE_64BIT_PTR 0 setx GPU_MAX_HEAP_SIZE 100 setx GPU_USE_SYNC_OBJECTS 1 setx GPU_MAX_ALLOC_PERCENT 100 setx GPU_SINGLE_ALLOC_PERCENT 100 qtminer.exe -s us2.ethermine.org:4444 -u 0x2e211cBb49cF051Cc427Daa107AD0076B29E6902.Miner08 -G --cl-global-work 16384 --cl-local-work 256 pause
This example includes setting the Environmental Variables for your system that are commonly found useful for mining Ethereum, as well as the actual launch string. Be sure to put your wallet address in Hex format (0x prefix) after the -u in the string. You can specify an rig ID (in this case Miner08) by specifying it right after the wallet address separated by a (.) period. The Global and Local work variables are optional, but give a slight performance boost to most modern AMD cards, such as the R7 and R9 series.
Sometimes, depending upon the setup, QTMiner may complain about not finding a GPU to mine with using the above batch file configuration. In that case I have found setting an additional variable of
--opencl-platform 1 to be useful.
This can sometimes occur for various reasons, one of which is if your on-board video is still enabled in the BIOS. Making this change (only if needed) would update the batch file to look like the one in the image below:
Once your miner is up and running, after several minutes you should begin to see your Ethermine account (wallet) page begin to update with statistics. This can take some time so you may not see anything for up to 10 minutes after starting your client when beginning to mine at the pool for the first time. The pool also mentions that hash-rate statistics may take up to 2 hours to reflect your true hash-rate, and the payout estimates may take up to 24 hours to reflect your actual earning estimates.
You can see some example statistics below which were taken about an hour after starting to mine for the first time at the pool:
Detailed individual worker statistics can be seen in the “Workers” tab. In this case only one miner appears, but if you were pointing multiple miners to the same address they would all show up here, each with individual statistics. This of course assumes you specified each worker separately in your launch configuration, with .workername after the wallet address.
In the example below I specified Miner08.
Over time you will start to see information in the other tabs begin to populate with statistics. In the “Rounds” tab you can see each block that you earned credit and the amount. The paid column indicates if the round has been paid to you yet, or if it is still confirming.
Below are examples of the Rounds and Payouts tabs after a day or two of mining at the pool.
Payouts are of course the amount of Ethereum sent to your wallet. On Ethermine.org, the minimum payout amount is configurable under the account settings tab as shown earlier.
That sums up the look at Ethermine.org. So far I have found it reliable and stable and it looks like my hash-rates correlate closely with what I expect. As mentioned earlier, the hash-rates displayed at the pool may be a bit below what you can see on other pools, but this is due to Ethermine.org sending a higher worker difficulty. Basically you may submit a few less shares, but since they are worth more it evens out in the end.