There are various hardware choices and methods to use to mine bitcoin. Whatever hardware and method you choose, you’ll either use your CPU or GPU, an FPGA, or the new ASICs. With the current difficulty of 11,187,257.5 (as of 5/15/13), and going up every two weeks, it is getting harder and harder to mine with the first two types of hardware.
For example, a decent CPU today can get 300Khps (Kilohashes per second), while a good GPU can get 500Mhps.
An FPGA might get anywhere from 100-800Mhps and higher, and an ASIC can get 4.5Ghps up to 1.5Thps! See the Mining hardware comparison wiki page for details.
Check the Bitcoin mining profitability calculator to see if your hardware or the hardware you’re looking at getting is worth purchasing, and if the energy use will still make it profitable or not.
Since bitcoins can only be harvested when solving a block…
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