If you missed the boat with Bitcoin and want to have a play with mining, you might want to have a look at Primecoin. While similar to Bitcoin, Primecoin’s proof-of-work system searches for chains of prime numbers.
Primecoin is gear towards mining on CPU’s, so pretty much any computer will do. Now, of course, the more powerful your CPU the better, and for solo mining it is all the more important. You can find the official project site here
The first thing you will need to do is download the High Performance Mining Client, which can be found here. Chose the latest version (unless you have good reason not to) and the right file format for your operating system.
Next extract the files. Once complete, run primecoin-qt. This will open the wallet and start downloading the block-chain.
This will usually take a few hours, but it all depends on your connection speed. Note that it will only happen the first time you open it up. After that it will simply catch up, which completes much faster.
Once everything is in sync and you see the green tick in the bottom right hand corner you are ready to start solo mining. First click on the Help menu then select Debug. Once the Debug window opens, select the Console tab.
Once the Console tab is open (see picture below), type in setgenerate true -1 . This tells the wallet to mine using all the available cores of your processor. You can change the ‘-1′ to be the number of cores you want to use. This is useful if you want to mine while doing other work.
Now you will want to know what it is doing, because there is no visual feedback unless you request it. To do that, wait a couple of minutes and then type getmininginfo . This will display a list of feedback. We are looking to see that the primespersec are higher than zero. If they are, and there are no reported errors, it means we are now solo mining!
Solo mining is a bit of a lottery, so you might get lucky, you might not. If risk isn’t your thing you might be better off with Pool Mining.
If you found this useful and want to send a small donation using Primecoin, please use this address - ASuXN5m5RdGcLYLoMcXHvbWGKYYjtJrWrW