Let’s assume you’ve always dreamed of becoming a miner. In recent years, traditional mining with a pickaxe isn’t as popular as it used to be a century or two ago, so you decided to mine cryptocurrencies instead. Unlucky for you budding miners, as of yet, no cryptocurrency is mineable with a pickaxe, but don’t worry, we will go over everything you will need to start your future as a crypto miner.
ICOholder has a handy infographic for learning about crypto and blockchain. If you still don’t know what blockchain and crypto are, or lack knowledge in some particular aspects of the two, you should check it out. After all, your crypto spelunking career will come to a quick end if you don’t understand what you are mining.
A mining rig is a computer system made up of the same type of parts that your desktop computer has but with different power levels, and the amount of, some components. So what are the components that you will need to build your mining rig?
Mining requires a great deal of processing power. In order to mine efficiently, you will need multiple GPUs (graphics processing units). The most important aspect of the GPU for mining is the hash rate. Essentially, the hash rate is the number of calculations your GPU can handle every second.
You will want to make a return on investment with your mining rig, so there are two other important numbers to look at. Multiple GPUs running 24/7 will consume a lot of power and, besides maintenance, this will be your biggest long-term cost. Obviously, the price of the GPU is also a number you will want to consider when building a mining rig.
Picking up the best mining GPU will depend on your local electricity prices. If your electricity is expensive, opting for a slightly lower hash rate at a significantly lower power consumption will be more profitable in the long run and vice versa.
Speaking of power, you will need a 1,200W-1,800W output on your PSUs (power supply units), depending on which model and how many GPUs you use. Once again, picking the right PSUs will depend on electricity costs in your area.
It’s worth taking a looking at a voluntary certification program intended to promote efficient energy use in PSUs: 80 Plus. Certified PSUs are divided into six tiers based on energy efficiency at different loads. Basically, different PSUs will pull a varying amount of wattage from the wall. For example, for powering 1,000 watts worth of GPUs, a PSU with 80% efficiency will actually use 1,200 watts. So you will want to pick 80 Plus Gold certified PSU or better (unless the electricity where you live is really cheap).
You have to plug in all other components somewhere, and that somewhere is a motherboard. You need a motherboard that can support multiple GPUs; six is a minimum for efficient mining and many gaming motherboards support 6-8 GPUs.
If you intend to build a real monster of a mining rig you should consider one of the motherboards specialized for mining. Besides supporting a bigger number of GPUs, another benefit of specialized mining motherboards is the mining mode. It essentially means that you won’t have to tweak your motherboard in BIOS to use it for mining.
Other hardware isn’t very important when it comes to mining. You will anything that will keep the system running. Any modern multicore CPU, 8 GB RAM, and an 80GB SSD are more than enough to keep your mining rig running.
Actually, there is one more important part: cooling. You will want to keep your mining rig from overheating and you will need multiple fans to achieve that.
A frame is just a structure that will keep all your parts together. You can order a prebuilt one, but it is a lot cheaper to build one from simple parts that you can buy in any hardware store. An important thing to keep in mind is that your frame should be open in order to provide better cooling. Another good thing about an open design for a frame is that all your parts are easily accessible for maintenance.
After you build your mining rig, you will need software to run it and to be able to mine crypto. Like any other computer system, your mining rig will need an OS (operating system). Besides this, you will need GPU drivers, mining software and a coin wallet.
When it comes to the OS, the real question here is how comfortable you are with Linux. Both Linux and Windows can reach the same hash rates if the hardware you use is the same.
Windows 10 is easier to set up and tweak, but they’re pretty much the only benefits of using Windows. Linux, on the other hand, offers better stability and can keep running 24/7 without crashing, as long as you set it up correctly.
Mining Software and Wallets
Finally, you will need a mining application to mine crypto and a wallet to store it in. Which mining software you use is up to your preferences, but most of the crypto discussions claim that CGMiner is the best due to being highly customizable.
There are also multiple coin wallets out there and you should experiment with them and see which one you like the most. The only real suggestion I can give you in choosing the wallet is to set up an offline wallet, if you intend to do any serious mining.
Good luck with the mining!