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I'm very new to the concept of Bitcoin (having only just read the wikipedia entry and visited bitcoin.org)

My question is this: why is the mining platform limited to PC/ traditional computing devices? It seems that gaming platforms would also work quite well, having better performance specs than the general user would reasonably have on his/her home PC and they have networking capabilities.

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When CPU mining was common gaming consoles did provide comparable performance. There was some development work for xbox360 and PS3. However roughly a year ago GPU mining hit bitcoin network rendering CPU miners obsolete almost overnight. Using unified shaders in modern GPUs and OpenCL programming language GPU miners could operate in parallel working on many hashes simultaneously. Even the earliest crudest implementations vastly outperformed any CPU in terms of raw hashing power, hashing power per dollar, and hashing power per watt. Since then refinement of OpenCL kernels have only widened that performance differential. Currently there is no economic value in using CPU for mining Bitcoins.

Due to the emergence of GPU mining there are a couple issues that make mining with current gaming consoles futile.

  1. Marketing aside gaming consoles are not that powerful. Today a $69 AMD graphic card has more computing power than either the Xbox 360 or PS3. Moore's law is a powerful force and gaming consoles which were start of the art in 2005 are pitifully weak compared to hardware available today.
  2. As already discussed CPU mining is futile and unprofitable
  3. The GPU in both consoles while powerful at one time are rather lackluster by todays standards. They could provide low end hashing power except they lack unified shaders which makes programming them to do hashing impossible.

Consoles are not upgradable and that is both a benefit and detriment. Right now we are at the tail end of ther current consoles lifecycle and it works against using consoles for computing power. Since they can't be upgraded they are essentially $600 computers based on hardware available in 2005. However at the begining of a console life cycle the hardware is rather powerful for the price point and they are routinely subsidized. At launch a $400 xbox 360 contained about $500 worth of hardware.

So to answer your question there is no benefit to mining on current gen consoles, however it may be possible that "next-gen" console would be viable hasing platforms at least for the first couple years (before their static hardware fall behind due to the continually effect of Moore's law).

However there are some requirements for a future console to be a viable hashing platform:

  1. The Console has a GPU with unified shaders and good integer performance.
  2. The ability to access those shader either through API (Microsoft XNA) or hacking/rooting console.
  3. Powerful GPU relative to retail cost of the machine.

It remains to be seen if future consoles could be used for hashing but using current generation consoles for hashing is simply not economical.

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    It would be awesome if you could update this answer for current consoles. It's probably way too early but can't even find any speculations on XBOX One and PS4 mining. Steam console probably has the most potential? – Vian Esterhuizen Nov 28 '13 at 19:04
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For now the platform is limited to whatever platform someone can run a miner on. For now, it is mostly PCs, but some people also mine on an FPGA board. Although some people looked at the specs of xbox, and they are pretty weak, similarly to PS3. Equivalent hardware was listed in the same topic, and you can see how they perform on the extensive wiki list of mining hardware.

So, whereas it is possible to mine on anything that can perform some basic computations, some machines are better than others. And with the profitability of mining being quite low, you wouldn't break even.

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I was told about Bitcoin a year ago by my friend, who is also a tech, but didn't know you could mine them. I also thought it could be illegal, so I steered clear.

What I fear about using the consoles as a mining operation, is that the intellectual property rights are owned by the console manufacturers. Want to run Linux to show that you can? That's for fun and games. If you make MONEY off of using your machine 'against the EULA (End User License Agreement), I imagine they could sue you or confiscate your Bitcoins. This is just my opinion.

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PS4 Pro Mines Neoscrypt at 1.4-1.6Mh/s . somewhere between 1080 and 1080 ti . though I wouldn't recommend it as Sony will send a firmware patch to brick your system.

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Just so all you testers know. I finally got my PS3's to mine crypto besides litecoin and bitcoin. Unfortunately the hashrate through put isn't impressive like we all already knew. But I am confirming that I get an average of 80 H/S or so per system for Monero. Just in case any one was wondering since compiling any damn thing for the PS3 is usually obsolete these days. Especially alt-coins. So here is a work around.

How I did this: One must load NFS and SSH on the clusters nodes of PS3's with Fedora 9. Then one must have a linux capable laptop or desktop as their Master Node to compile and run OpenMPI. Which is open source cluster software. The PS3 can not compile alt-coin miners but will mine through OpenMPI and one's master node as a node on a cluster. So IT IS still possible to mine with them but the hash rate isn't remarkable. Any ways good night. I hope this will help some body and good luck! Can any one run a bench mark of Monero on their PS4 for me in the mean time? I would like to see if it is worth it to mine on the PS4 concerning alt-coins. Please and thank you.

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Rob

When or even if a cryptocurrency mining app appears on game system like Play Station, Xbox and others, the company who made the game console has allowed such activity and some companies will even encourage it. Besides that Xbox one CAN mine crypto coins, the apps though have to be installed and running for XB1 to mine.

HOWEVER if the crypto mining app was forced onto the game system / game console by JTAG or other methods of homebrew / hardware or software hacking, you can get your game console somewhat unusable to fire bricked and your mined crypto coins lost forever due to being "confiscated", stolen or destroyed. Also when or if illegal activities happen such as, buying anything from the underground black market with your crypto coins, then you will surely lose your cryptoc coins and devices from the investigation of that activity.

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