Hardware

Project: Cryptomining Rig

cold-storage-coins-1087055-unsplash.jpgOne of my planned builds is assembling a rig to mine cryptocurrency. For those who live under a rock, cryptocurrency’s popularity and value have been skyrocketing as of late, and while the market is volatile, it is never too late to start the journey.

Cryptomining is defined as the process of solving complicated problems to verify digital transactions, using computer hardware such as graphics cards. By using a cryptomining rig, users can both create a cryptocurrency or just get paid for their processing power in a cryptocurrency.

While many have advanced and expensive cryptomining rigs, I wanted to create a budget build to just get a taste of what I could expect with future, enhanced builds. So, here is my current plan.

First, I wanted to talk about NiceHash, the largest cryptomining marketplace. Buyers on the site make offers in bitcoin for the processing power/hashing power of the seller’s graphics cards. The great thing about this site is that it will automatically switch the seller’s hashing power to mine for the buyer with the highest offer. I plan on using this to get things started.

Building a machine capable of mining cryptocurrency is actually not that complicated, and many companies make pre-built options, such as the Shark Mini. However, merely purchasing something that I can build goes against what I stand for, and for this reason, I will do it myself (it’s always the best way to learn). While you can mine on a single GPU gaming computer, I prefer not to put a rig designed solely for personal use under the stress of mining.

I will be building a rig with 6 graphics cards, as Windows works well with that number and motherboards with 6 slots are not that expensive. Using more than 6, such as 13, can be done, however, is much more costly and will probably have to use Linux to operate. Although, I will be using ethOS most likely.

This build is using some older parts, thus ensuring that I stay in my budget range.

  • For the motherboard, I plan on using a GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming. At $219.99, this board should meet all of my requirements.
  • For the 6 graphics cards, the ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 will work well. At around $223.99 each, I should have all of the processing power I need, as well as having 2 fans on each GPU to help facilitate cooling. Due to cryptomining’s popularity, the graphics card market has taken a turn for the worse, raising prices and reducing availability. So, finding 6 of these might take some magic.
  • For the processor, an Intel BX80677G3950 7th Gen Celeron Desktop Processor will do the trick, at around $60.
  • For RAM, a $50 Corsair 4GB DDR4 will be sufficient.
  • For powering this budget-beast, a $129.99 Corsair HX850 (850W) will do. This PSU runs at lower temperatures, doesn’t require much power to run, and has a massive 135mm fan for cooling.
  • For connecting and powering the GPUs, a $37.95 MintCell 6-Pack will be perfect for the task.
  • For an OS, I have researched and found that ethOS will meet all of my needs. This OS can mine multiple types of cryptocurrency and comes preloaded with mining software. I will be running it off of a USB flash drive most likely.
  • To hold all of these parts, a frame is needed. Or in this case of a true budget build, a wire shelving rack (and some trusty zip ties). Something like the $30 AmazonBasics 3-Shelf Shelving Unit will work. While there are better solutions to store everything, I wanted to use more of the budget on the GPUs.
  • A power switch will also be required. The Electop 2 Pack 2 Pin SW PC Power Cable on/Off Push Button ATX Computer Switch Wire will be fine, only costing around $4.
  • Finally, an Ethernet cable, HDMI monitor, keyboard, mouse, some 8-pin/8-6+2 Y, and SATA cables will be needed. I have these items laying around the house already.

For under $2000, this rig will help me take my first baby-steps into cryptomining.

While this is just my first build plans, I am sure the design and parts will change as I perform more research. Factors such as cooling will be further developed, as well as the rack. As I am a newbie with crytocurrencies, I hope my insight and experiences with this project help others do the same.

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