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2 Parts to this.

1st - What is a typical winning block (I get coins) generation time when running on testnet.

Ive done numbers with calculators and all that but given I cant work out accurately what the 'normal' difficulty for testnet is, I dont know where in the range of numbers I've seen is right to consider normal.

2nd - How can I be sure that I'm actually mining, not that I'm just computing useless hash after useless hash thats getting sent to a black hole somewhere?

So far, using 2 machines CPU mining on testnet (and even trying unsuccessfuly for an hour to get GPU mining to work as well, figuring that if it worked, i can just stop this after a few minutes and get on with my work) to generate a bunch of coins for testing some bitcoin related transaction handling software.

I have managed to generate zero bitcoins.

1Mhash/s and 500Khash/s for over an hour each. Plus the hour trying various gpu mining things on and off. And no coins. I'm confused & wondering how to debug this. Since I can send and receive bitcoins without issue.

I gave up trying to testnet mine since I was able to use a generous faucet to borrow some for testing. But the geek in me is very very irritated at not having worked out what was broken and fixing it. And now I'm in the situation where I'd like to put my own machines horsepower back to work mining on the testnet in order to speed up the transaction confirmation times, even if its not by much, so im stumped.

Edit -- More specific hashing figures. I lowballed my numbers a fair bit.

  • Laptop [ Macbook Air ]
    • CPU [ 2Ghz i7 ] Using:
      • bitcoin-qt internal miner ~1.5Mhash/s over ~4hrs
  • Desktop [ Custom ]
    • CPU [i5-2500K@3.3Ghz] Using:
      • bitcoin-qt internal miner between ~4.2Mhash/s and 2.3Mhash/s over ~2hrs
      • GUIminer/poclbm OpenCL ~1Mhash/s over ~2hrs
    • GPU [ AMD 6900 Series GPU-Core@830Mhz Mem@1300Mhz ] Using:
      • poclbm OpenCL ~325Mhash/s over ~30min
      • DiabloMiner ~325Mhash/s over ~30min
      • cgminer wouldnt run, kept crashing on start, debug log didnt have any clear cause, the log actually looked like it died half way through trying to say something. The last entry was something like 'Tha'

So, yeah all that and no coins.

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What is a typical winning block (I get coins) generation time when running on testnet.

I plugged your rig statistics into this calculator, and I find that you should be getting 60 blocks a day at difficulty 1. Seems to be oscillating between 1 and 42 at the moment. Maybe you should try running for longer.

How can I be sure that I'm actually mining, not that I'm just computing useless hash after useless hash thats getting sent to a black hole somewhere?

The standard client is pretty good about not even trying to generate when it's not connected. Perhaps you could join a testnet pool? :)

  • Ive updated the question with more accurate info on how much time i spent mining. >>> What difficulty did you use for that calculator btw, as i saw the following difficulty levels reported by bitcoin-qt while trying to mine: 1 -> (sometimes) 22 -> (twice) 42 -> (most of the time) >>> And if you have information on testnet mining pools Id be grateful, I did have a look but may have not searched exhaustively enough through some of the forums out there. – Techdragon Apr 22 '13 at 5:12
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    What difficulty did you use for that calculator btw I used a difficulty of 0.5, since block explorer was reporting a difficulty of 1 at the moment. And if you have information on testnet mining pools Id be grateful I don't think anyone has bothered. – Nick ODell Apr 22 '13 at 5:34
  • Yeah thats what has me most confused. I rarely saw the client report it was working against difficulty 0.5/1. I usually saw higher. And since the documentation on testnet was so simple "Run './bitcoin-qt --testnet -gen' and you should see blocks appear within a few minutes, p.s. play nice" its been very hard to find anything to explain my situation. – Techdragon Apr 22 '13 at 6:24
  • @Techdragon Not sure what's going on. If you had 300 Mhash/s aimed at it for an hour, you ought to have found a block. Are you sure you're mining the testnet on your graphics card? – Nick ODell Apr 22 '13 at 7:13
  • Fairly sure. Bitcoin-qt clearly showed connected to the testnet, and had been configured to act as the RPC server for the GPU mining software. A few typos encountered along the way makes me even more sure that it was looking for my specific bitcoin-qt provided JSON RPC server instance. – Techdragon Apr 22 '13 at 7:39

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