For many Bitcoin miners the biggest up hill battle has been what pool to mine in. The pool you mine in has lots of effect on your mining profit. Some of the affects are how much local work in the area, and how many times a day your pool wins a block.
The biggest confusion between miners is the difference between PPLNS and PPS. The difference is that PPLNS take longer to payout after a block is won. Where PPS it shows up almost instantly after winning a block. The reason why is because PPLNS take longer to go from unconfirmed to confirmed.
Seeking my own answers on what pool had the best results I tested half a Tero Hash on three popular pools. In the tests, the results emphasized was the amount of the payouts, and how many times a pool won a block. The elapsed time mined on each pool was one weeks time.
The first pool I tested was Bitminters. The Bitminters pool is payed out based on PPLNS. Bitminters mining income tax is four percent. The first day of testing on Bitminters, what I found out is that when you first connect your machine to Bitminters pool it throttles your hashing power for the first twelve hours. After the throttle period was over, my payout per block was a little over 0.01 btc. During the one week testing period Bitminters won four blocks. The total Bitcoin made was 0.04 btc.
The second pool I tested was BtcGuild. The BtcGuilds pool is payed out based on PPLNS. BtcGuilds mining income tax is four percent. BtcGuild also throttled my machines for the first twelve hours. After the throttle period was over, my payout per bock was 0.0009 per block. During the one week testing period BtcGuild won one hundred and fifty four blocks. The total Bitcoin made was 0.13 btc.
The third and final pool I tested was Ghash.IO. The Ghash.IO pool is payed out based on PPS. Ghash.IO has no mining income tax. One thing that is unique about Ghash.IO is that their pool mines Btc, IXC, and DevCoin at the same time. Ghash.IO also did not have a throttle period. My payout per block was 0.0012 per block. During the one week testing period Ghash.IO won two hundred and thirty eight blocks. The total Bitcoin made was 0.2856 btc.
The conclusion of this Pool mining test, was surprising. The three pools compared side by side it appears that Ghash.IO had the better results. However BtcGuild still had better performances than Bitminters.