Building an Ethereum mining rig is really like growing your own money tree. The rig will run and crank away and create wealth (in digital currency) while you sit back and reap the rewards. It takes a little tech savviness but anyone can learn how to build their own rigs.
This guide will show you step-by-step instructions on how to easily build an Ethereum mining rig.
What is Mining? Why Does Ethereum Need to be Mined?
Mining is the glue that holds Eethereum’s ‘decentralized app store’ together by ensuring that it comes to consensus on each change to any of the applications (dapps) running on the network. Essentially mining helps verify and validate transactions within Ethereum’s network.
But what do miners get in return for doing all the heavy lifting? Ether reward coins. The catch is that mining tends to require more and more power over time, as more people invest in more powerful hardware. This is called mining difficulty and increases exponentially with the number of people mining and competing for their Ether reward.
So If that is the case why does everyone continue to mine? Doesn’t it become unprofitable? Yes and no.
Yes in the sense that if difficulty gets too high, the number of Ether coins you get in reward doesn’t offset the cost of electricity and/or cooling. But usually, when that happens, people tend to stop mining or move to another coin. Once that happens, difficulty drops down and Ethereum becomes profitable again to mine.
Another reason why people continue mining even when it’s unprofitable to mine Ethereum is because of their belief that Ethereum will be worth much more in the future. Even though Ethers are worth around $300-$350 now, in 5 years they might be worth $3000-$3500. So even if mining now is unprofitable, the coins will rise in value as time goes on.
How is an Ethereum Mining Rig Different From a Normal Computer?
Looks awesome right? A mining rig is made up the same components that go into normal desktop computer. But there are a few differences. In a normal desktop computer, you kind of have a good balance between CPU, RAM, GPU, and HD. With gaming computers, you have higher clocked versions of CPU, loads of RAM, one or two GPUs and SDDs.
With mining rigs, you want the lowest clocked CPU, bare minimum RAM, 5,6 or 7 GPUs and a very basic HD. Oh, and as you can see from the picture, you don’t want nor can you fit all those GPUs instead of a normal case. You can use a nice custom made case as you see above or something cheap like a milk crate.
Picking the Parts for an Ethereum Mining Rig
Graphic Cards (GPUs) for Mining
When it comes to picking GPUs, you want the select the best bang for the buck. You’re looking for something with high hash rate, low cost, and low power usage. You can start with as little as 1 GPU or as much as 7 GPUs within one rig. Normally you see 5-6 in a mining rig as 7 is incredibly hard to make stable.
The best balance is for the GPU to have a high hash rate (the speed which it can mine) with a low power consumption.
Below are the best GPUs for mining Ethereum. Listed from best to worst considering hash rate and power consumption.
- Radeon RX Vega 64 – 33 MH/s using 200 watts <- The Best GPU for Mining
- Radeon RX Vega 56 – 31 MH/s using 190 watts
- GeForce GTX 1080 TI – 32 MH/s using 200 watts
- Radeon Rx 580 – 25 MH/s using 175 watts
- Radeon Rx 480 – 24 MH/s using 170 watts
- Geforce GTX 1070 – 27 MH/s using 200 watts
- Radeon Rx 570 – 22 MH/s using 125 watts
- Radeon Rx 470 – 21 MH/s using 120watts
- Geforce GTX 1060 – 20 MH/s using 110 watts
- Radeon R9 290x – 28 MH/s using 280 watts
As I mentioned above, you can choose to build your mining rig with a nice custom built case or you can save money and use a plastic storage crate or milk crate. Both work equally as well except one won’t look nearly as good.
But if you want something cool and professional looking, you can buy mining cases such as this one.
Or this wood one.
1200W+ Gold Certified Power Supply
The standard power supply in a desktop computer can be anywhere from 300W-500W. But when your mining and you are powering up to 6/7 GPUs, you want to make sure you have enough power. 1200W+ is what you’re looking for and you want to make sure that it is Gold or better certified for efficiency. Also, modular power supplies allow you to configure your cables individually which helps greatly when building out your rig.
- Seasonic Power supply Power Supply SSR-1200G
- SilverStone Technology Strider 1200W 80 Plus Platinum
- Silverstone Tek 1500W 80 PLUS Gold
- Silverstone Tek 1350W
- EVGA SuperNOVA 1600 T2 80+ TITANIUM
- Thermaltake 1200-Watt 80 Plus Gold
- Thermaltake Toughpower DPS G RGB 1250W Digital 80+ Titanium
- Thermaltake Tough Power Series ATX 12V 1200
- Corsair CP-9020140-NA HX1200 1200W
Or another option is to use dual power supplies and use an adapter cable like this Thermaltake Cable.
- EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2, 80+ GOLD 750W
- Corsair RMx Series, RM750x, 750W, Fully Modular
- Corsair HXi Series, HX750i, 750 Watt (750W), Fully Modular
- Thermaltake TOUGHPOWER 750W 80 PLUS GOLD Semi Modular
Motherboard + CPU Combination
For mining, you want to maximize the number of GPUs your motherboard will support. Most motherboards inside computers can handle 1 or 2 GPUs, you want to use ones that support up to 6 or 7.
These are usually hard to find in stores so getting them online will be your best bet. As for CPU, you just want something basic such as the Celerons.
LGA 1151 Motherboard/CPU Setup
- Biostar TB250-BTC
- Asus Prime Z270-P Motherboard – Use the AMD 16.12.2 Driver for 6 GPU stability
- Asus Prime Z270-A Motherboard – Use the AMD 16.12.2 Driver for 6 GPU stability
- Intel Celeron G3930
- Intel Pentium G4400
LGA 1150 Motherboard/CPU Setup
- Biostar TB85 Motherboard
- Asrock H81 Pro BTC Motherboard
- ASRock ATX H97 Anniversary Edition Motherboard
- ASRock ATX Z97 Anniversary Edition Motherboard
- MSI Z170A TOMAHAWK Motherboard
- Intel Celeron G1840 Processor
- Intel Celeron G3260 Processor
Single 4GB DDR3 1600Mhz RAM is all you need. Nothing more.
Powered Riser Cables
In order to mount the GPUs within the crate or case, you’ll need riser PCI cables to extend the PCI-e connection from the motherboard. Get as many PCI Express 1X to 16X Powered Riser Cables as you can to match up with the number of GPUs you have. There are many different variants, like this one or this or this.
SSD Hard Drive
You’ll need at least one box fan per rig to make sure the GPUs do not overheat.
If you’re into Linux, Eth OS is a 64-bit Linux OS that mines Ethereum, Zcash, Monero, and other GPU-minable coins. If you’re a windows guy, here is Windows 10. If you’re going to be using Windows, you’ll need mining software. Take a look at this Ethereum Mining on a Windows PC guide.
Build an Ethereum Mining Rig Step-by-Step
Ok so now that you have all the parts, how do you put it all together? If you’ve built your own desktop computer before, this will be easy. If not then take a look at this awesome video on YouTube that shows you step by step on how to put it all together. The video shows them using Eth OS.
You’ll need an Ethereum Wallet
The screens also provide extra security by verifying and displaying important wallet details. The hardware wallet also supports a wide support of coins (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Zcash, Dash, Stratis) and most importantly an attractive price tag. HOW TO SETUP AND CONFIGURE A LEDGER NANO S
Optional: Mining Pool
Mining solo, while sometimes more profitable, it’s usually not the right choice for most miners. When mining solo, you are doing all the work alone which means that you’ll receive the entire block reward, the problem is that mining is also based on a luck factor, which means that if your hashpower isn’t high enough, you may never see a reward come your way. With pool mining, however, this variance is eliminated and you receive payments that correspond to the portion of the work that you have done.
MinerGate is an established smart-mining multipool that allows users to mine the most profitable cryptocurrency at the time.
MinerGate allows users to mine coins through a smart-mining option (auto switches to most profitable coin) or choosing your favorite cryptocurrency manually. Merged-mining is available for FCN and MCN, allowing you to mine two currencies at once without the loss of hashrate for the main coin.
If you didn’t want to use a smart-mining pool and wanted something more basic, then check out Ethpool.
What Kind Of Miner Are You?
Now that you have all the information you need to start mining Ethereum, the sky is the limit on what type and how many rigs you have. Do you want to stick being a beginner or do you want to become a farmer? 🙂 Building mining rigs are computer nerd’s version of building a car. It is extremely satisfying and as we know rewarding. Make sure wherever you plan on running the mining rig to have enough air flow. GPUs running at 100% 24/7 generate a ton of heat!