After the tour of my mining rig I had a lot of comments asking to do a build a video of a mining rig. So today we’re building a mining rig! I’ll walk us through some of the changes from the original mining rig and why I made them. None of the changes are really what I would consider good or bad changes, just different.
Watch the Mining PC Build Video
Building a Mining Rig
Let’s go step my step through building a mining rig. I won’t cover everything in this build article, since I have covered many of these topics in other articles and videos. So rather than rehash things I will link to those other articles as appropriate.
Building the MinerCase
May people in my last video commented that either 1) you don’t need a case, or 2) you can just build this case from MakerBeam (even though I said as much in the video). This is true. The MinerCase V3is nothing but off the shelf components you could buy yourself off of several sites online. However, they’ve taken the time to do all of the work measuring and figuring out the right dimensions and then drilling and tapping all of the necessary holes for you. In my opinion the MinerCase V3 is worth every penny you pay for it and more. It saves a lot of time and its super awesome when finished.
The only real complain I have with the case is that the instructions kind of suck, but to be honest I didn’t even use them. It’s pretty obvious what goes where.
Installing the Power Supply
In the original tour video of my first mining pc build a couple of people flat out called me a moron because I didn’t use the power supply bracket to attach the Corsair HX1000i power supply to the case. This is because I needed the power cord to exit on the side of the case rather than the back due to where I was putting it. So for the purposes of the video I am showing it the right way, and will change it later.
I chose the Corsair HX1000i for two reasons. I knew I would need more power for my choice of video cards (see below), and I love the LINK feature which connects the power supply to the motherboard via USB and allows us to monitor the power consumption of the devices connected to it. This is a really handy feature when building a mining rig.
Installing the CPU, CPU Cooler, and Memory
Installing the CPU, CPU cooler, and memory for a mining PC build is just like any other computer so I am not going to go into that here. For the true novice you should check out my Gaming PC Buildvideo for help. It gives all the specifics.
In my first mining rig build I used the BioStar TB250-BTC motherboard specifically designed for use in mining PCs. I paid something like $89 for the board. It’s since climbed its way up to over $350 due to price gougers buying them all up and reselling them. The only real difference between this board and other boards is that they guarantee it to work with risers and it has a few BIOS settings specifically to help with efficiency. Not that big of a deal really.
In this build I chose to go with the ASUS EX-B250-V7. It’s just a standard Intel B250 board with six PCIe slots. They did include the mining features in the BIOS, but its not specifically designed around miners. This board works perfect. The only thing I never could figure out was how to reenable the on-board video after installing the GPUs. It’s almost like they forgot to add that to the BIOS. It works well enough without that though. I just RDP/VNC to the machine to manage it anyway.
For the CPU, I just bought the cheapest Core processor I could find, in this case the Intel Core i3-7230. It’s a 7th generation core processor with integrated video. You don’t need a great CPU for mining. Even a Celeron would be fine.
The one big thing I highly recommend is that you toss the Intel stock cooler into the garbage. It’s the loudest fan I’ve ever heard. It is quite literally louder than all six of the mining GPUs running together. Toss in the in the garbage and get the Noctua L95 silent cooler. I have an article on selecting the quietest CPU cooler you can buy.
For the hard drive I just used a laptop drive I had laying around in a drawer. It’s slow as molasses, but it doesn’t matter. You don’t need a fast drive for mining.
I bought this cheap Corsair LPX 8GB kit and only used one stick, saving the second stick for another miner down the road.
Installing the Operating System
For the operating system I went with Windows 10. Let the holy wars begin! The truth is, the video drivers are far more stable in Windows than they are in Linux. Go ahead and tell me you’ve never had a problem in the comments, but I know better. These companies spend far more time on 99% of the market than they do the 1% of the market.
Linux does work well enough and with some tweaks you can get the same or close to the same performance as within Windows. But I always come back to what my time is worth. Every minute I spend dicking around with drivers and config files is time I am not spending making videos or hanging out with my family. Again, let the holy wars begin in the comments.
Installing the GPUs
Installing the GPUs in a mining PC build is the one thing I’ve seen over and over that frustrates new builders.
The Choice of the AMD RX 580
I already have a complete article on the best GPUs for mining PC builds. So I won’t spend a lot of time here. Suffice it to say I picked the EVGA GTX 1060 as the best card for mining. That card can be purchased for $249 and gets an awesome 22 to 24 MH/s in Claymore while using only ~90 watts. From a pure ROI perspective you just can’t beat the numbers. Of course, if you’re not worried purely about ROI then there are lots of great choices.
In this build I chose the AMD RX580 ARMOR 8GB. The main reason is that I got a smoking deal on these cards. Unfortunately, that sale is long over. The second reason is because since my tour video the GTX 1060 prices have risen (yes, I should have bought more before I released the video!) because all of your guys went out and bought them. These two factors made the AMD RX 580 the next best ROI calculation.
The AMD RX 580 will get about 30 MH/s when properly configured and overclocked. But it does so at the cost of a lot more energy consumption.
Install Just One Card in the Beginning
It is important, regardless of operating system that you get your mining PC running and all of the drivers installed before you install the GPUs. Then install just one GPU and get it working before you install the rest of them. Trust me, this will save you a lot of headache. I’ve been asked at least 100 times in the comments “Why is my mining PC not recognizing all of my GPUs?” This is because you put everything together and then installed your OS. It just freaks them out for some reason. Remove all but one card and then reinstall the drivers. Then add the rest of the cards.
Use Mining Drivers
Some cards offer mining drivers. No matter your brand choice, when building a mining rig, look for mining drivers. In the case of the AMD RX 580 used in this build AMD offers specific drivers for mining. Use those. I saw as much as 2MH/s per card performance increases mining Ethereum. The drivers look and install identically in most cases, so be sure to search google for your cards mining drivers.
The PCIe Risers
My choice of PCI risers is the Victony PCIe USB 3 risers. They work flawlessly and come in a discounted six pack for mining rigs. If you’re interested in learning more I have an article on why miners use PCIe risers. When building a mining rig, risers are pretty much essential and you need to to be very reliable. Don’t cheap out on these.
Installing the Software
When building a mining rig there are some software choices to make. I’ll briefly cover what has worked well for me.
I love the Claymore Miner. It’s super easy to setup and use and it performs far better than the stock Ethereum mining software. The downside to Claymore is that the author put in a “fee”. This means that 1% fo the time Claymore is mining for the author rather than for you. Funny enough you can disable this fee, but Claymore reacts by slowing itself down the the same speed as the stock mining software. Claymore easily has an 5 to 10 percent advantage, so I am more than willing to give 1% to get that advantage. Besides, its only fair the author gets paid for their work! For more info check out my article on how to mine Ethereum.
If you want to overclock your GPUs (and you do) then MSI Afterburner is hands down the best tool to do so. You don’t need MSI branded hardware either. Afterburner will work with any brand hardware. Afterburner allows you to overclock all of the GPUs in your build at the same time, or tweak each card individually.
When building a mining rig, its nice to have something to manage it remotely since it likely won’t always be connected to a monitor and keyboard. I use Awesome Miner. It’s fantastic for controlling, configuring, and monitoring multiple mining rigs from a single desktop. It can control both GPU miners and ASIC miners. Additionally, it monitors and reports on your miners earnings by measuring your hashrate against the current market prices. They has a free version that allows you to control up to two miners, but at $35 the paid version is a steal.
Overclocking The RX580 with a Mining BIOS
One last thing you may want to consider is overclocking the RX580 with a mining BIOS. This will almost definitely void the cards warranty, but will get you significantly better hashrates. 4-5 MH/s in Ethereum for example.
The Complete Parts List
If you’d like to build this mining pc, here is the complete parts list with links to the exact components I used. If you build this rig, drop me a comment below with your experience. I love hearing build stories (good or bad)! Building a mining rig should be fun!!