Building an Ethereum Mining Rig
If you’ve decided you want to start mining Ethereum, you’ll need to do two things – get all the necessary equipment for a mining rig and setting up said equipment. Getting all your equipment usually takes about five to seven days, and then figure another day or so to set up your rig. For the most part, building a mining rig is like building a computer. Here’s everything you need to know to build a rig.
Selecting Your Equipment
There are several components necessary for an Ethereum mining rig, and we’ll cover all of them.
This is essentially your rig’s brain, making it the most instrumental part of the rig. For motherboards, what is most important is how many GPU slots are available. Motherboards with more GPU slots can accommodate more graphics cards, and more graphics cards means more hashing power. Motherboards typically use PCI Express slots, and each PCI Express slot allows you to add one Radeon HD 7950 that has a 20 MH/s hashrate.
The Graphics Card
Next up, you need graphics cards for each of your motherboard’s GPU slots. When it comes to graphic cards, you tend to get what you pay for. Higher priced graphics cards will have higher hashrates, although they will also require more power. You can check the efficiency of any graphics card you plan to buy, though. Prices are better on used graphics cards, but make sure you choose a reliable marketplace to avoid buying one with issues.
If you end up with a graphics card that doesn’t fit your motherboard very well, don’t worry. There are GPU risers that basically function as extension cables, allowing you to fit the graphics card.
The Hard Drive
Your operating system (OS) and mining software go on your hard drive, and you’ll be fine with a solid state (SSD) drive. How big should your hard drive be? That depends on your mining plans. If you’ll be downloading a whole blockchain when you mine, then you need a hard drive that has more than enough space. If you’ll be a member of a mining pool, then a smaller drive is sufficient, as you won’t be storing entire blockchains.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
Your computer uses RAM for the information it needs to recall right away. More RAM is always better, but 4 GB will be sufficient.
The Power Supply Unit (PSU)
You’ll need to do some math here. Add the power consumption for all the mining rig components you’re choosing. You now know how much power you need. Make sure the PSU you purchase can supply at least that much power.
For example, if your components require 650 Watts to run, then a 750-Watt PSU would work well. For mining rigs that require substantial amounts of power, you may get a better deal by buying two PSUs to use instead of one larger PSU. Let’s say you need 1,500 Watts to power your rig. Oftentimes it will be cheaper to buy two 750-Watt PSUs instead of one 1,500-Watt PSU.
The case you choose will depend on your rig’s setup, but it’s important to have one. Hot components stacked one right on top of another puts you at a big fire risk. Keep in mind that you can also build your own case instead of buying one.
Assembling Your Ethereum Mining Rig
Once you’ve gotten all the equipment, putting it together isn’t too difficult. Get everything connected securely and make sure all the components are in stable positions. The graphics cards are what you should pay special attention to. These can heat up quite a bit when overclocked (which you’ll want to do to get the best results), and that means your rig should be somewhere with plenty of air flow to prevent overheating. Look for any potential fire hazards, as your rig can’t mine for you if it’s in flames.
Installing the Software
Your rig needs an OS, and the two most popular choices are Microsoft Windows and Linux Ubuntu. Windows will be much easier since you can automate driver installation, but Ubuntu is good because it provides a wider array of options.
For your mining software, EthOs is intended for mining Ethereum, making it an excellent choice.
After you get the OS and the mining software installed, there are two options available as far as mining is concerned.
The first is solo mining. As you’d expect, this means you’re going at it alone. The benefit here is that you earn the reward for a block when you get the correct hash. But you’ll need a bigger hard drive to download the entire blockchain, and those wins are going to be few and far between with a typical mining rig that does 60 MH/s and has 1.2 GH worth of network hashing power.
The second option is pool mining. Here, you’re working with a pool of Ethereum miners. You can get away with a much smaller hard drive for this, because you can mine without downloading a whole blockchain. Your returns will be much less volatile, as well, as everyone in the pool shares their rewards. Unless you have a mega rig with considerable processing power, you’ll likely get a better return with pool mining.
That’s all you need to know to purchase components for an Ethereum mining rig, hook everything up, install your software and start mining. If you have any questions regarding Ethereum mining rigs or the actual mining, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll help you out as best we can.