This guide is to help people with little to no experience build an Ethereum mining rig. I’ve personally built several rigs, and the most frustrating part was figuring out what were the best parts to purchase. My goal for this post is to give you the most up to date, highest quality information regarding the equipment needed to create your first mining rig.
Also, I really encourage you guys to ask me questions if you need any help. This is an exciting time for cryptocurrency and I’m really passionate about getting people onboard!
Disclaimer: The amount of money that this rig will generate is based on the price of cryptocurrency and the mining difficulty which is continually rising. Ethereum is eventually going to enable a new system called Proof of Stake that will make mining less profitable. This setup will still be able to mine other profitable coins. This guide is intended to help people, but this setup might not be best for people with high electricity costs, or people who are looking for a quick return on investment. Just like any investment, building a mining rig can be risky, and you are not guaranteed to make all of your money back. Please don’t invest any money that you aren’t willing to lose.
1. Purchasing Mining Equipment
The mining equipment is going to consist of a variety of computer parts. Just like a normal computer, you are going to need a motherboard, cpu, ram, power supply, and most importantly video cards. Video cards, also known as GPUs, are the key component to mining. We are going to use the power of the GPUs to solve the algorithmns that the cryptocurrencies are using to process transactions.
- 6 x Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080 TIs
- 1 x MSI Pro Solution Intel Z170A LGA 1151 DDR4 USB 3.1 ATX Motherboard (Z170A SLI Plus)
- 1 x Intel Celeron G3900 Dual-core (2 Core) 2.80 GHz Processor
- 1 x Crucial 4GB Single DDR4
- 1 x Kingston Digital 60GB SSDNow V300 SATA 3 2.5 (7mm height) Solid State Drive
- 3 x EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2, 80+ GOLD 750W
- 1 x MintCell 6-Pack PCIe VER 006 PCI-E 16x to 1x Powered Riser Adapter Card w/ 60cm USB 3.0 Extension Cable & MOLEX to SATA Power Cable – GPU Riser Adapter
- 1 x Open Air Case Mining Frame
Essentially, you are going to have to choose between two different types of GPUs. That would be AMD and NVIDIA. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages.
At one time, AMD GPUs were the best choice for mining. This is because they produced quite a bit of hash power for a relatively low price. The only issue is that now that mining has become so popular, they are constantly sold out or overpriced. That’s why I chose NVIDIA 1080 Ti’s for my rig.
We are going to use NVIDIA 1080 TIs for a multitude of reasons:
- They are in stock.
- They will have a high resale value since there aren’t many people using them for mining.
- They don’t cost much more than the 1070s. The 1070s are $600++ now that people have realized that they are good for mining.
- They have a higher hashing power.
- They can mine coins other than Ethereum at a high hashing power.
One thing to consider is that the resale value of the NVIDA 1080 Ti’s is going to be $400-600. That means that each card has to make around $200-400 to pay itself off. At the moment, these cards are making around $120 a month. Even if we consider the rising mining difficulty, these cards should be able to pay themselves off relatively quickly.
Another important thing to consider is that these cards have a high hash power for many other coins besides Ethereum. This means that these cards will remain profitable even if Ethereum Mining becomes too competitive. I purchased these cards because I know that I plan on mining for a long time, and that buying the right equipment would make it more profitable.
The motherboard that we care going to use is the MSI Pro Solution Intel Z170A. To use more than 4 GPUs on this motherboard, you are going to have to flash the bios and change a few settings. Here is a post that I found that will allow you to install 7 GPUs on this motherboard.
Mining doesn’t typically require that much ram. I’d recommend getting two 4GB sticks of ram just to be safe. They aren’t that expensive so it doesn’t hurt to get more. You’ll need a lot of ram if you plan on maximizing profits by Hosting for the SIA platform along with mining. There are usually two different types of ram. The motherboard that we are using requires DDR4 Ram.
Mining rigs don’t require a lot of cpu power since the GPUs are doing all of the work. You can get away with purchasing the cheapest CPU, which should usually run you between $50-100. For our motherboard, we are going to use a Intel Celeron G3900 Dual-core.
Power Supply (PSU)
The power supply is an important component in your rig. It has to be able to supply enough watts to power all of your video cards. The NVIDIA 1080 TIs will typically require 250 watts each. After you under clock the them, the power consumption should drop to 150 watts. To be safe, I still recommend purchasing more power supplies than necessary for three reasons.
- It’s not a good idea to run the maximum load on one power supply,
- Two VGA power cables will be needed for each card (Each power supply has 4 VGA Power Ports)
- You might want to add more video cards to your setup.
For my rigs, I purchased three EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2, 80+ GOLD 750W PSUs.
Risers are cables that will allow you to place your video card a few feet away from your motherboard. This is an essential component. Without it, you won’t be able to fit all of your video cards on your motherboard. Even if you could fit them, you still want extra space, so that they have ventilation. Risers are constantly selling out, so I’d make sure to some extra in case you have any dead ones.
The risers that we are going to use are probably some of the highest quality in the industry: MintCell 6-Pack PCIe VER 006 PCI-E 16x to 1x Powered Riser Adapter Card w/ 60cm USB 3.0 Extension Cable & MOLEX to SATA Power Cable – GPU Riser Adapter
The hard drive just has to be big enough to hold the installation of windows or linux. We are going to purchase a 60GB solid state drive for this rig.
2. Setting up the Mining Rig
Quick Install Guide:
- Un-package all of the components
- Install Cpu, Heatsink, and Fan onto Motherboard
- Install Ram
- Plug in Sata Hard Drive
- Hookup Power Supply to Motherboard and Hard Drive
The next section will explain onto hookup the video cards to the rig.
Connecting the Video Cards
The video cards should be sitting in something secure that has plenty of ventilation. We recommend that you purchase an Open Air Mining Frame off of Amazon.
Connecting the Risers
Connecting the risers should be self explanatory. One thing to remember is that the little 1x PCI Express cards can be placed in the 16x PCI Express Slot (the big PCI slots). If you by any chance purchases a riser with a sata to molex adapter, make sure to replace it with a direct molex connection. The sata to molex adapters have been known to set fire.
Connecting the Video Cards to the Power Supply
Depending on which video cards you have purchased, you are probably going to need to run a power cable from the power supply to the video cards.
At this point, I’m assuming that you’ve already installed Windows on your mining rig. For this article, we are going to use Windows since it’s simple to setup and maintain.
The simplest way to install the drivers is to download the Geforce Experience program from the Geforce website. This will automatically download the latest drivers, which for me, has been sufficient for mining.
Underclocking the NVIDIA 1080 TIs
An important part of making the NVIDIA 1080 TIs efficient is under clocking them so that they use less power, while still getting a high hash rate. You want to download and install MSI AfterBurner. After you have installed Afterburner, you want to drop the “Power Limit” down to 60 and then hit the check mark so that the settings are applied to cards. Here is a screenshot of my Afterburner settings:
Setting up Remote Access
If you are like me, and you don’t have physical access to your rig because they are at a different location, then you are going to need to access it remotely. To do this, you can install the program TeamViewer, and setup unattended access. Once you have unattended access setup, you can remotely connect your rig from anywhere using your pc or smartphone, even if it restarts.
There are WiFi smart outlets that can be installed so that you can remotely turn off power to your rig if it ever freezes. If you install this along with TeamViewer, you will almost never have to physically access your rig to keep it up and running.
3. Installing the Mining Programs
There are a variety of mining programs for each cryptocurrency. The mining programs have to be compatible with either AMD or NVIDIA depending on which one you are using.
To simplify this process, we are going to install a program called Awesome Miner. This program is going to download all of the popular miners, and will automatically use whichever one is compatible with your video card and the coin you are mining.
We are going to use the profit switching feature of Awesome Miner. I personally keep all of my rigs on profit switching all of the time.
When mining cryptocurrencies, it is best to mine in a pool. A pool is a group of miners who combine their hash power together so that they are more likely to earn rewards from mining. You could mine alone, but chances are you would not earn cryptocurrency consistently.
There are three different pools that utilize profit switching: ZPool, NiceHash, and MiningPoolHub. I’ve personally tried NiceHash and Mining Pool Hub. In my opinion, Mining Pool Hub is more profitable, and it gives you more control over what you mine.
NiceHash is good if you want to just put your rigs on autopilot. Plus they payout in Bitcoin, which will save you time and energy converting your coins into it if you choose to do so.
Setting up Profit Switching
For this example, we are going to use Mining Pool Hub.
- Go to their website and setup an account.
- Login to your new account and go to the “Hub Workers” page.
- Input the name of your worker on the fields to the left (This is simply a name for your rig. If you choose to have multiple rigs, this will be helpful to specify which coin each one mines.)
- Go to Awesome Miner and click on “New miner”.
- Hit next and choose “Managed Profit Miner”.
- On the next page make sure that under “Profit Switching Profile” you have selected NVIDIA.
- Click next and finish the installation.
- Now open up “Options”.
- Once you are in “Options” go to “Profit Switching”.
- You should see an option for “Mining Pool Hub”. Check this option and input your username and worker name like so: “username.workername” (the username is listed under “worker login” on the “Hub Workers” page)
- After you hit OK, you can clock on your newly setup profit miner and click “Start” at the top toolbar.
You are now in business!
The coins that you mine can be automatically converted to whatever coin that you like using the “Auto Exchange” feature on Mining Pool Hub (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Zcash, etc…)
Here is a screenshot showing the revenue that my Ethereum Mining Rig is generating as of (July 5, 2017):
Congratulations! You have taken the first step to becoming a crypto millionaire! All you have to do now is sit back and collect your coin. Occasionally you might need to fix something on your rig or restart it, but most likely it will run smoothly most of the time.
If you need any help at all, please comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to help you guys/gals with whatever you need!
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