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How to build an Ethereum mining rig

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This guide is going to show you how to build an Ethereum Mining rig yourself which has two main steps - choosing and sourcing your equipment and then putting it together. Depending on times its probably going to take you a week or so to get all the pieces from different suppliers and then another half day or so fiddling with configurations etc.

 

To break it down, you are simply building a custom open-frame computer, but instead of one or two graphics cards (as you would find in a gaming computer), you will be adding SIX to the build requiring riser cables and a frame as shown in the photo. You don't want components sitting on top of each other as there is a fire hazard potentially. You can leave the whole system open air or even build your own case to give it that personalised touch. You can buy off the shelf rigs from a couple of local providers or you can send the dimensions to a woodshop and let them make it for you.

 

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Power Supply – The Gold Rated 1200 watt Power Supply is most ideal, however for this rig we will be runing two very different experiments by undervolting the one and overclocking the other. Therefor we settled on the EVGA 1000 watt and the EVGA 1600 watt – The key here is to have an efficient power supply that will save you over the long run in electricity costs. You want to look for a powesupply that is gold rated (as opposed to silver or bronze). This is the industry standard for rating the efficiency of a PSU.

 

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Motherboard/CPU Combination – What is the best motherboard for mining Ethereum? Finding a Motherboard/CPU combination that is compatible with building a 6 GPU mining rig, can be a challenge of note. There is only a handful of motherboards that works and of that small hand only a few are priced in such a manner that the ROI is viable. In these two rigs we used the Biostar TB250 with an Intel CPU. With that said Biostar has launched a new motherboard for AMD Ryzen processors which is aimed at cryptocurrency miners. The Biostar TB350-BTC is the first professional cryptocurrency mining motherboard designed for Ryzen processors.

 

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6x Graphics Cards (GPUs) - there is a few fan favourites like the Radeon Rx 580, This card can mine at 29mh using only 135 watts of electricity – It is one of the best cards to mine Ethereum with currently. However we have opted for a much more powerful card. The EVGA GTX 1070. The Nvidia GTX 1070 can produce 28mh using only 90 watts of electricity or over 30mh if you have industrial power rates and can run the card optimally. The initial purchase price is a lot, but long term will produce the best ROI. Also make sure your GPU have enough memory to hold and access the DAG efficiently if you are going to mine ethereum directly.

 

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RAM (System Memory) – Depending on your board you can either use 4GB DDR3 1600Mhz RAM (Make sure it matches your Motherboard's speed ratings.) or 4GB DDR4 like in our case – You don’t need a lot of system memory to mine ethereum effectively. 4GB is about as small as a stick of RAM comes these days so just use one of them. A bonus would be to look for RAM with heat spreaders, especially if you think you may overclock the RAM.

 

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Powered GPU Riser and Cables – You need a 6 pack of PCI Express 1X to 16X Powered Riser Cables per rig – These are to connect the 6 graphics cards to the motherboard and allow spacing between cards for heat dissipation. Powered risers are necessary when building a rig with this many GPU’s.

   

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Hard Drive preferably an SSD – You need a hard drive to store your operating system and your software for mining. A standard SSD drive will do (an SSD hard drive is just a storage device and is called solid state as there aren't moving bits which can break). The size will depend on what you are planning to do when mining. If you are planning to download the entire blockchain - then you will need to take into account how big the blockchain will become and need to spend a little more. If you are just going to mine ethereum as part of a pool then you don't need to store the blockchain and can get a smaller SSD drive. In our case we will be using the Samsung EVO SSD drives, but could only get stock of the Western Digital 500GB 2.5 inch Harddrives. The SSD drives that we will be switching too should consume less power as a bonus.

 

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Networking - If you are only going to build one rig then this isnt much of an issue. However in our case we are running a mining farm and keeping all these machines connected is as important as a reliable power source. Your rig does not make you any money if it is not able to connect to the internet. We use a couple of the TP-Link 48-Port Gigabit switches (Spefically TL-SG1048). The auto features of this gigabit switch makes installation plug and play and hassle-free. No configuring is required. Auto MDI/MDI-X crossover on all ports eliminate the need for crossover cables or uplink ports. Auto-negotiation on each port senses the link speed of a network device (either 10, 100, or 1000 Mbps) and intelligently adjusts for compatibility and optimal performance. Most importantly the TL-SG1048 features a non-blocking wire-speed architecture with 96Gbps switching capacity for maximum data throughput.

 

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Operating System – Windows 10 supports 6 GPU’s, but if you’re familiar with Linux you can of course download it for free (some folks consider Linux to be the best OS for Ethereum mining, since it keeps your overall costs down, improving your Ethereum mining ROI or return-on-investment). Keep in mind that undervolting/overclocking works better in Windows vs Linux for mining due to better drivers in the Windows world.

   

Extra Cooling - You will see some poople putting little 12 volt PC fans on the rig or even liquid cooling. Cooling is a must, but we prefered to just stick an AC into the host location and will add box fans should the need arrise. This will greatly depend on your own setup if you are running 1 or 2 rigs then adding the PC cooling makes sense, however in our case we will be running closer to a 100 rigs so we opted for a more industrial cooling solution.

 

How to build the mining rig:

 

  • Un-package everything
       
  • Build / assemble custom open air mining case
      
  • Install processor and RAM on motherboard (Remeber to apply some thermal paste to the CPU)
       
  • Plug in all riser cables
       
  • Place motherboard in custom open air mining rig case and connect motherboard PSU connector (leaving PSU unplugged from the wall of course)
       
  • Plug in SATA hard drive (or optional Linux on USB stick)
       
  • Connect all GPUs to riser cables and fasten them to custom case. You might need to experiment for optimal spacing to keep the cards cool.
       
  • Plug in all power supply connections.
       
  • Connect mouse, monitor and keyboard and an internet connection (We are using a USB WiFi adapter to when setting up each rig before it gets added to the grid.)
       
  • Check all connections once more
       
  • Fire it up! Install the OS if needed. Install Graphics card drivers. Install mining software.
      
  • Make sure fans are fully functional. Start the mining software, tweak settings for maximum hash rates and let it run!

 

Suggestions:

   

  • Reuse old parts. If you can reuse ram, hard drives, or CPU's do that. Be careful reusing your old power-supplies since they may not be powerful enough, in fact do not use old power supplies.
     
  • Price shop. Don't be too committed to one store. Shop around. The idea here to increase the ROI rate. buy as cheap as possible.
       
  • Don't be too cheap. Cut costs where you can but try to get quality hardware. A R700 difference in your PSU can be the difference between your miner running smoothly for the next 10 years and frying your computer and burning out your GPU.
     
  • Map out your build before you start.

 

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Congratulations! You are now the proud operator of your very own custom built 6 GPU ethereum mining rig.

 

If you’ve read this far and the technical aspects of building a mining rig scared you off, you can simply purchase Ethereum or Bitcoin directly and hold them as part of your investment portfolio. Read more here in The Bitcoin Thread

 

If there are any questions on how to get your rig up and running - or any part of the process - Join the forum and share your thoughts - our resident mining guru @androux123 will help you out along with others. You can also post in our Cryptocurrency Forum and one of our community members should be able to help you out! Also if we've spot something wrong or it can be explained better let us know!

 

We will update this thread with our new builds and configurations on a regular basis. Feel free to share your own builds as well.

 

This will be the official thread for GPU mining in South Africa and GPU mining rigs.

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Nice going, think I might need find someone that can make frames for cheap :P

 

My shoe orginiser frame needs more space for the cards.

 

I also need sort out this bios flashing rx470 cards, just won't work for me.

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Very nice, seeing as we are getting to winter now you could probably divert some of that heat created throughout a home and save on power.

 

Do you have any shops you can recommend for some of these items?

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This is a great post thanks.

Did I read correctly you will be running close to 100 rigs? That is a serious investment. So for mining it is go big or go home!

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This is a great post thanks.

Did I read correctly you will be running close to 100 rigs? That is a serious investment. So for mining it is go big or go home!

 

I can comment on the second bit of your post. The profitability aspect.

 

You can make money with just one rig as well. Each rig must pay for itself. So if you buy one rig, depending on graphics cards will cost you between R29K and R59k. Assuming you go Radeon 470/580s (the more affordable cards) the 29K - 39K rig, you should still net at least 2K in profit after costs and paying off the rig (Assuming you leverage the bank.).

 

The rig should pay itself within 7 months so after that clean profit and if you keep the bulk in the crypto currency you will net that growth as well.

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This is a great post thanks.

Did I read correctly you will be running close to 100 rigs? That is a serious investment. So for mining it is go big or go home!

 

This is what one rig does (This is the rig in the tutorial). So you can start small and still make money.

 

2017-05-12_10-23-21.jpg.0bb3e3abaa780daf3fcac41d114d1948.jpg

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This is eye opener.. I don't know much about the bitcoin business. But if you guys are willing to invest that kind of moolas there must be money to be made.

Whenever I bring bitcoins up in conversation people shrug there shoulders or move away... Maybe I should get new Friends

 

Sent from my SM-N910F using the Platinum Wealth app

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Wow that is R6k per month don't what operating costs are but pay back will be quick. So my thoughts of trying mining on an old Pentium laptop will be a waste!

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Wow that is R6k per month don't what operating costs are but pay back will be quick. So my thoughts of trying mining on an old Pentium laptop will be a waste!

 

I tried mining with nicehash on my i7 laptop over the weekend. I couldn't get to use the gpu (M540). It just used the CPU. But I don't think one would get any reasonable gains with 1 gpu.

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I tried mining with nicehash on my i7 laptop over the weekend. I couldn't get to use the gpu (M540). It just used the CPU. But I don't think one would get any reasonable gains with 1 gpu.

 

Yea you need 6 GPUs to make it worth your while. That said a 4 GPU rig is also plausible. Assuming you go with AMD RX 470s or 4 x GTX 1070s

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@Ranger

How is this going?

How long does it take to assemble a rig and setup all the software and networking?

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Nice article, though it would be good to hear more about input costs such as insurance. What is the monthly cost for insurance? What is your electricity cost per kWh? What about adding a battery and solar power supply?

Not sure where you live, but at the coast we have nocturnal geckos that will no doubt ruin a rig if it's not sealed somehow. It would need to be connected to an aircon via a duct and be closed (possibly perspex).

 

Anyone have suggestions for suppliers?

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What does your rig look like hardware wise?  What do you mine / where?

 

Afaik it's the 1070 rig in the first post, mining ETH I assume.

 

His rig count is growing daily.

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I am curious as to how good of an investment this is with Casper/Proof of Stake coming up.

 

You obviously must have done your research, have you got an idea?

 

I am basing this off what I read here-

 

https://ethereum.stackexchange.com/questions/3523/how-do-miners-profit-post-pos-if-at-all-how-will-new-miners-get-their-start-a/3531#3531

 

That is the million dollar q.

The next q is should I be looking at Nvidia and not AMD cards if Ether mining doesn't last a year... does it actually matter? Also - should I be buying 4Gb or 8Gb cards?

 

So right now nobody has stock of motherboards and there are a few RX 580s out there which makes me wonder how anyone is going to honour a 3 year warranty. As for pricing, it's looking more like R35-45k minimum spend.

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That is the million dollar q.

The next q is should I be looking at Nvidia and not AMD cards if Ether mining doesn't last a year... does it actually matter?  Also - should I be buying 4Gb or 8Gb cards?

 

So right now nobody has stock of motherboards and there are a few RX 580s out there which makes me wonder how anyone is going to honour a 3 year warranty.  As for pricing, it's looking more like R35-45k minimum spend.

 

http://gtxgaming.co.za/index.php?route=product/product&path=75&product_id=228

 

I have motherboard stock now, just arrived at the supplier.

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That is the million dollar q.

The next q is should I be looking at Nvidia and not AMD cards if Ether mining doesn't last a year... does it actually matter?  Also - should I be buying 4Gb or 8Gb cards?

 

So right now nobody has stock of motherboards and there are a few RX 580s out there which makes me wonder how anyone is going to honour a 3 year warranty.  As for pricing, it's looking more like R35-45k minimum spend.

 

 

Indeed. I spoke to another guy who estimated R35k for R9-12K return per month.

 

Then again, this is all speculation. 

 

I would love to jump in on this but without a guarantee, I can't really afford R35K on a mining rig.

 

Mathematically, it would take anything from 4-8 months to break even.

 

You're probably better off buying ETH with that and letting it appreciate.

 

Thoughts?

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@Spreadsheet

 

How is the rig going?

 

I myself am looking at building a 4x1070 rig to start off with on a budget of 40k.

 

BTW, great post. Thanks.

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