Cryptocurrency Mining is becoming an attractive source of secondary (and passive) income for many, and one of the most popular cryptocurrencies to extract at this time is Ethereum. That’s because, in the cryptocurrency ranking, it’s easily the second best established, just behind Bitcoin. That caused its price to skyrocket during the course of 2017; it went from less than $ 20 at the beginning of the year to almost $ 1,000 at the end. Anyone who was interested in Ethereum mining in the early days made significant gains.
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And although the price is now significantly higher than it was at this time last year, that does not mean it’s a bad idea to start extracting it. In fact, even with the popularization of the currency, it is still quite profitable as long as you do not have to pay so much for electricity. Before starting, you need to build what is called a mining platform (or rig ). Basically it is a PC with many graphics cards. In this guide, we will show you the hardware you want to buy, as well as how to assemble it.
What is a mining rig?
A mining platform ( mining rig ) is a computer system used to mine cryptocurrencies. Basically it is a dedicated computer that has been acquired, assembled and operated specifically to undermine a certain cryptocurrency. It is composed of several graphics cards connected to a motherboard to increase its hash rate .
While more graphics cards are operating, the greater the hashrate of mining, this is because ethereum mining is an operation performed exclusively by the graphic processing unit or GPU of your video card. Since the mining process is an exclusive task of the graphic card, the rest of the components such as the processor or the RAM memory go into the background. The important thing here are the Gpus.
The total hashrate of our mining rig will depend on the hash power of the graphics card, as well as the number of GPUs that are operating. The current standard is configurations with six or eight video cards per motherboard. This also implies that we will need a power supply with sufficient power (usually 1200 Watts or more) to provide power to our mining platform.
- 4 or 6 NVIDIA / AMD GPUs, with a minimum of 4GB of GDDR5 graphics memory.
- An LGA 1151 or LGA 1150 socket motherboard with enough PCI-E slots to support the number of cards to be installed.
- If you use more than two GPUs, you will need PCI-E extender cables (risers) for each additional GPU.
- Power supply: You should check that your power source has enough connections to support the number of GPUs you are running and the total power enough to support the total power consumption of the system. (plus 20% extra power to avoid problems). For example, for a rig with 6 GTX 1070 GPUs a 1200W power source with 80+ PLATINUM certification is recommended.
- An Intel dual core Pentium or Celeron LGA 1151 or 1150 processor.
- 4GB (or more) of DDR4 or DDR3 RAM.
- A hard drive or SSD storage unit of 60 or 120 GB.
- Operating system: Windows 10 (x64), EthOS, or SimpleMining OS.
IMPORTANT Before starting, make sure that your motherboard, processor and RAM are compatible. For example:
- For LGA 1151 socket motherboards: use Intel 6th generation Skylake processors and DDR4 RAM.
- For the LGA 1150 motherboards: it uses 4th generation Intel Haswell processors and DDR3 RAM memory.
Read Also : How to assemble an ethereum mining rig 2017 (Part 2)
1. Power supply
EVGA SuperNOVA 1200 P2
Best price: 383 USD | EUR 372
First, let’s start with the power source. You may not know it, but getting the right energy supply for your mining platform can be critical to your sustainability as a miner. In fact, it is the power supply that will determine to a large extent the energy efficiency of your mining platform and, therefore, the amount of extracted coins that represent a real gain. There are some things you should keep in mind when buying a power source for your mining platform, but two of the most important are quality and energy efficiency. Almost any modular power supply with 80+ Platinum certification will work with your mining equipment (as long as it has enough power), but there are some that are more ideal than others. Corsair and EVGA produce the PSUs with the best quality / price ratio, and are often the favorites of the miners.
Good options of 1200 watts for your team of 6 GPUs:
- Corsair AX1200i 1200W 80 Plus Platinum (372 EUR)
- EVGA SuperNOVA 1200 P2 80+ Platinum (383 USD)
- Corsair HX1200i 1200W 80 Plus Platinum (330 USD)
- Antec HCP-1300 1300W 80 Plus Platinum (347 USD)
With 6 GPUs running at maximum speed, it is best to keep a power supply of 1200 W(or higher, but not too much). If you are going to use 4 GPUs (what many people do, despite the impact on profits), then a 1000 W power supply will probably be fine. Again, it is best to keep the sources of energy supply in the category “Platinum” to maximize your profits, if you can afford it.
- Corsair HX1000i 1000W 80+ Platinum (229 USD)
- Corsair HX1000 1000W 80+ Platinum (194 EUR)
Or, if you’re going to be left with 3 or fewer GPUs, an 850W power supply will probably do the job:
- Corsair HX850 850W 80 Plus Platinum (154 EUR)
- Corsair HX850i 850W 80+ Platinum Certified (205 USD)
Read Also : How to build a Ethereum mining rig of 6 GPU 2018
Best price: 139 USD | EUR 191
There are many feasible combinations of motherboard and processor that will work to build a Ethereum mining platform, but finding one in stock can be a headache. Some sites sell preconfigured motherboard + CPU products, but if you want to save some money, it may be worth examining Amazon and eBay to find a good combination that works for you.
Needless to say, you’re going to want a motherboard with the same number (or more) of PCI slots you’ll need for your graphics cards. If you are willing to settle for using less than 6 GPUs on your platform (and, therefore, get less profit), there are a lot of options to choose from. But if you want to stay true to the plan, maximize your winnings and run 6 GPUs, you’ll have to look a little more.
The following are direct links to Amazon, but if you can not find one on Amazon, it’s also worth checking out sites like eBay and Newegg for better deals.
Two of the most popular plates based on the LGA 1151 socket , and therefore the best for online support, are:
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- Gigabyte H110-D3A (139 USD)
- ASUS PRIME Z270-A (158 EUR)
Other options that will work equally well:
- MSI H270-A PRO Mining (124 USD)
- MSI Z270-A PRO (101 EUR)
- ASUS ROG STRIX Z270E GAMING (203 EUR)
- Gigabyte GA-Z270P-D3 (149 USD)
If you have a processor with LGA 1150 socket :
- ASRock H81 PRO BTC R2.0 (153 USD)
Finally, if you want a motherboard that has a greater number of PCIe ports, the best options available are:
- ASRock H110 BTC Pro + LGA 1151 (309 USD)
- Biostar TB250-BTC PRO (219 USD)
Intel Pentium G4560
Best price: 73 USD | EUR 61
Basically, any dual-core processor that is compatible with the slot on your motherboard will do the trick. If you are going to obtain one of the previous motherboards, you will probably need an Intel CPU for slot LGA 1151 (for chipsets H110, Z170 and Z270) or LGA 1150 (for chipsets H61, Z97, B85 and H81). Unless you plan to use your platform for something other than mining, you should get a low-budget processor such as the Intel Pentium G4400 or the Intel Celeron G3900 . Look for a processor that allows you to keep your assembly costs low.
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- Intel Pentium G4560 processor – LGA 1151 (73 USD)
- Intel Pentium G4600 processor – LGA 1151 (72 EUR)
- Intel Pentium G4400 Processor – LGA 1151 (46 EUR)
- Intel Celeron G3930 processor – LGA 1151 (34 EUR)
- Intel Celeron G3920 processor – LGA 1151 (46 USD)
- Intel Celeron G1840 processor – LGA 1150 (159 USD)
4. RAM memory
Ballistix Sport LT 4GB Single DDR4
Best price: 52 USD | EUR 48
To go with your motherboard and processor, you’re going to need some RAM for your platform. The most economical purchase is likely to be a single 4GB DDR4 RAM drive (compatible with LGA 1151 motherboards). If you want to run other applications on your platform for one reason or another, then it would be best to go for an 8 GB drive. Anyway, you do not need much RAM to mine . Keep in mind that, depending on the motherboard you buy, you may need to get DDR3 RAM instead (motherboards with LGA 1150 socket).
- Ballistix Sport LT 8GB Single DDR4 2666 MT / s (88 USD)
- Ballistix Sport LT 4GB Single DDR4 2400 (48 EUR)
- Kingston HyperX FURY 4GB DDR4 2400MHz (50 USD)
- Kingston HyperX FURY 4GB DDR3 1600MHz (39 USD)
5. Graphic cards
ASUS Dual GeForce GTX 1070 8GB OC
Best price: 779 USD | EUR 519
What is the best GPU to mine Ethereum? Due to the high demand, the options available are so limited that almost anything is better than nothing, but there are still a few selected Nvidia and AMD cards that you should probably hang on to.
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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070: The highly efficient Nvidia GTX 1070 can produce a hash rate of 30Mh / s with only 100 watts of electricity and is the best GPU for mining in 2018. It is much more efficient than most AMD cards available in the market. Our favorite model of this GPU is the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Windforce OC (model # GV-N1070WF2OC-8GD). It has a double fan design and seems to work better than some of the other GTX 1070 models we have tested, so we put this card on all the platforms we currently recommend. If that specific model is not available, any of the Gigabyte or EVGA twin-fan cards will work out of the box wonderfully. We have also used and tested this GPU in its variantsASUS and MSI with excellent results. Amazon sometimes limits the amount of GPUs you can buy, so you can also check out sites like eBay or find other mining GPUs recommended in our guide to best graphic cards for mining .
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Windforce OC
- EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC GAMING ACX 3.0 Black Edition
- ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1070 Mini 8GB
- ASUS Dual GEFORCE GTX 1070 8GB OC
- MSI GTX 1070 ARMOR 8G (493 EUR)
- MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1070 8GB
A second, closer option for a GPU if the Nvidia is hard to find or if the stock was depleted, would be the AMD Rx 580 and AMD Rx 570 . The Rx 580 produces 29Mh / s and the Rx 570 about 27Mh / s. All the construction requirements of the mining platform are the same for the 1070 or the Rx 580/570. The main reason why we like the GTX 1070 is the lower power consumption (100w versus 135w per GPU) when mining. If you want to give your power supply a little more room to run the Rx 580, it is recommended that you upgrade to a 1300-watt power supply.
AMD Radeon RX 580/480: An RX 580 or RX 480 will probably bring you closer to the threshold of 29 Mh / s. It is a great card to extract Ethereum, as long as there is stock available. This card usually gets better results after modifying the VBIOS and adjusting the clock speed. Use approximately 150 watts.
- MSI VGA Graphic Cards RX 580 ARMOR 8G OC (Pack of 6)
- Sapphire 11265-01-20G Radeon NITRO + RX 580 8GB
- XFX GTS XXX Edition RX 580 8GB OC +
- MSI GAMING Radeon RX 480 GDDR5 4GB
AMD Radeon Rx 570/470: Basically it is the “cropped” version of the RX 580/480 series. The RX 570 and 470 are widely considered as the best options available for your investment in Ethereum mining due to its performance / price, as long as you can find it. After modifying the VBIOS, you will get around 27 Mh / s. It consumes around 140 watts.
- ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 570 O4G Gaming OC Edition (Pack of 6)
- Sapphire 11266-14-20G Radeon NITRO + RX 570 4GB
- MSI GAMING Radeon RX 570 8GB
- ASUS Mining RX 470 4G Graphics Card
6. PCI-E Risers
MintCell 6-Pin PCI-E Powered Riser
Best price: 46 USD | EUR 42
In my experience (and I have asked a few professional miners about this), it is better to use Ver. 006 (4-pin Molex connector) or Ver. 006C (6-pin PCIe connector) that you can find on Amazon and other retailers. Do not buy the cheapest: make sure you get some good quality risers. This is an area of your platform that will probably fail at some point, and if that happens, you do not want to lose a card or a faulty cable burns in flames.
- MintCell 6-Pin 006C Powered Riser (46 USD)
- MintCell 4-Pin 006 Powered Riser (45 USD)
- Powered Riser 6-pin PCI-E to SATA VER 007 (42 EUR)
7. Solid state drive (SSD)
Read Also : How to mine Monero in Windows (2018)
Silicon Power 120GB SSD 3D NAND
Best price: 44 USD | EUR 59
You probably want to get a solid state drive. An SSD is basically a storage unit with no moving parts, which is usually much faster than a conventional hard drive. When choosing an SSD, you will save energy, and it will be a possible failure to consider for a platform that will operate almost continuously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A 120GB SSD disk of any recognized brand will work perfectly.
- Kingston Digital A400 120GB (49 USD)
- Silicon Power SSD S55 60GB (32 USD)
- Silicon Power 128GB SSD 3D NAND (43 USD)
- Kingston SSD Now UV400 120GB (54 EUR)
8. Case mining
Veddha 6 GPU Mining Case Rig
Best price: 174 USD | 189 EUR
You will need an open structure to keep all the hardware components in place. If you do not have the skill or materials to build your own frame (many DIY enthusiasts have built some extravagant cases from a variety of materials), you probably want to get a pre-assembled unit. This model on Amazon would work perfectly with 6 GPUs.
- 6 GPU Aluminum Stackable Mining Case Rig
- 8 GPU Aluminum Stackable Mining Case Rig
Read Also : The best GPUs for cryptocurrency mining 2018
HP Pavilion 21.5-Inch IPS LED HDMI VGA Monitor
Best price: 89 USD | 109 EUR
Of course, you will need a cheap mouse and keyboard to configure everything, but most likely if you are looking to build a platform, you already have some of these components somewhere. Also, do not forget to buy an economical power button for your device so you can turn it off and turn it on easily. Also do not forget to find a monitor.
- HP Pavilion 21.5-Inch IPS LED HDMI VGA Monitor
- Desktop Computer Case Power Supply Reset HDD Button Switch
- Power Switch + Reset + LED + USB
- AmazonBasics Wired Keyboard and Wired Mouse Bundle Pack
10. Operating system / Mining client
You have some options when it comes to the operating system. Personally, I opted for Windows 10 + Claymore Dual Miner for my platform (most mining software will work well with Windows, and I already had a key placed on an old computer). If you are looking for a better alternative, or prefer something that runs on Linux, EthOS and SimpleMining are possibly the two best options available right now.
- Claymore Dual Miner (Windows 10 x64)
- EthOS (Linux-based OS)
- SimpleMining (Linux-based OS)
How to assemble the equipment
After you have achieved all these pieces, you must embark on the actual process of building your platform. If you’ve assembled a computer before, you should not have a lot of trouble assembling the system.
Here is a brief summary of the steps to follow to assemble your mining platform:
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- Unpack all components
- Assemble the mining case (Open Air Case)
- Install the processor and RAM on the motherboard
- Plug all the vertical cables (risers) into the motherboard
- Place the motherboard in the mining case and connect the cable from the PSU to the motherboard (leaving the PSU unplugged from the wall, of course)
- Plug the hard drive or solid state drive into the SATA port
- Connect all the GPUs to the risers and attach them to the top of the mining case. If your case does not have fixed spaces for each GPU, you may have to experiment to achieve optimal spacing between the cards to keep them cool.
- Plug all the remaining connections of the power supply (on the motherboard and on each graphics card)
- Connect the mouse, monitor and keyboard, and an Internet connection (if possible, use a LAN connection)
- Verify all connections once more
- Turn on the system and install the operating system and mining software
- Make sure the fans on each GPU are fully functional. Next, start the mining software, and let it run.
Configuration of the rig
It is usual to find in the current base plates some configuration options that facilitate the mining of cryptocurrencies. In this example, we are going to use a MSI Z170A Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard and a Gigabyte Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics card:
1. Update the motherboard to the latest BIOS using a USB memory. Here you can find the latest BIOS for the MSI Z170A motherboard.
2. Configure the BIOS of the motherboard with the following configuration changes:
- Configuration> Advanced> PCI subsystem configuration: PEG 0 and PEG 1 set in Gen1 (“Settings> Advanced> PCI subsystem Setting> PEG 0 & PEG 1: Gen1”)
- Above 4G Decoding ( cryptocurrency mining) must be set to Enabled (“Above 4G Decoding: Enabled”)
- Operating system configuration: disable Windows 7, enable Windows 10
- Save and restart
3. Configuration of the operating system, drivers and mining client
- Install Windows 10 from a USB drive (you can buy it pre-loaded or create your own on the Microsoft website).
- Install Windows 10 Pro x64
- Install the latest Nvidia drivers
- Install MSI Afterburner and set the memory clock to 600, and the power to 70. This will give you 30Mh / s for each GTX 1070 GPU
- Install system drivers that were not installed automatically (check device manager)
- Change the name of the PC to the name of the mining worker. Something like Minion001, Minion002, etc.
- Install Claymore Dual Miner , edit the configuration file with your Ethereum address and the name of the miner. Place a shortcut to the .exe file of the data mining software in the system startup folder if you want to automatically start the extraction when Windows starts. You can find the system startup folder in Windows 10 by going to: Start> Run and entering ‘shell: startup’.
- Disables automatic Windows update.
- Set the power profile to ‘always on’
- Install your favorite remote access software, especially if you plan to have more than one platform to manage.
- Start the mining platform and start mining those cryptocurrencies!
Congratulations! Now you are the proud operator of your own Ethereum mining platform of 6 GPUs. Be sure to also check our reviews of the best Ethereum mining hardware and Bitcoin mining ASIC hardware .
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