What Is A Crypto Mining Rig And How Can I Build it?

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What Is A Crypto Mining Rig And How Can I Build it?

A crypto mining rig is a computer system that can be used to mine Bitcoins and Altcoins such as Komodo. Whilst the rig may be specifically built to be a miner, it is common to find home computers that are adapted to this new purpose. It is also possible to have a mining rig which only mines crypto part-time and is used as a gaming or design computer for the rest of the day.

Before you start using a rig you need to understand the fundamentals of crypto mining. Next, if your goal is to make money or be profitable, you need to ascertain yourself that the coin you will mine can give you the rewards you seek. Remember also to get a crypto wallet and open an account with an exchange, such as Coinbase or CEX to sell your newly minted coins.

What is a Crypto Mining Rig?

crypto mining rig

A crypto mining rig, oftentimes referred to as just a “rig”, is a customised computer. It features all the main components you would expect to find in a computer, including a CPU and motherboard. Where a rig stands out from a typical computer is in its graphics cards or GPU. In fact, when it comes to crypto mining, it is the GPU that is doing all the heavy lifting, rather than the CPU.

Most earlier crypto mining rigs started life as a normal home or office PC and were eventually upgraded. However, today, the computation power required to mine top cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, is so great, that this arrangement simply won’t do anymore. Instead, a successful crypto mining rig today must be able to tap into several high-performance GPUs at once. This also means that the other PC components need to be able to support a higher than normal number of GPUs.

How Much is a Crypto Mining Rig?

In order to start mining cryptocurrency quickly, you can buy or build a mining rig. Several manufacturers of rigs are available online, with prices ranging on average between $3,000 and $10,000. Prices vary considerably depending on the components being used and the country where the rig is manufactured.

How to Build Your Own Mining Rig

The best mining rig hardware consists of ASIC chips, however, these are virtually impossible to be built at home. In fact, professional manufacturers are struggling to build them fast enough for their consumers, so that can give you an idea of how complex the manufacturing process is. Instead, this guide will help you build a simpler, GPU-based mining rig.

Step 1 – Get a Rig Frame

Your rig will hold the miner and needs to be made out of solid material, ideally aluminium. Whilst wood might provide a low-cost option, the material is highly flammable, which can be a risk considering how hot the hardware can get. Rig frames must also be able to accommodate all your components and provide the necessary space to allow air cooling.

A suitable rig frame to mine cryptocurrency is the Akyga AKM061. This powder-coated steel frame is durable and can support up to six graphic cards of 360mm in length. Included in this frame is a riser shelf together with an integrated fan module. It also has a universal, 2.5” hard drive holder and space to house up to two power supplies

Step 2 – Pick a Motherboard

The motherboard you choose needs to have a capacity of at least 4 to 8 video cards, meaning at least 4 PCI-E ports. A low-cost, but effective motherboard is the Z270 which has a Gigabyte GA-Z270P-D3 chipset and can power up to 6 GPUs at once.

If you’re looking for something much more powerful, Asus offers the B250 Mining Expert. This motherboard is capable of handling up to 19 graphics cards in a specific 

Step 3 – Identify the Processor

Based on the Z270 motherboard above, an ideal processor would be the Celeron G3900 and Core 2 Duo E7300 CPU. Ensure that the processor you opt for works well with the motherboard. If you are looking to mine coins based on the Cryptonight algorithm, for example, Monero, then Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 should work fine.

In reality, the CPU is one of the least important components of your crypto mining rig. Whilst you certainly need one, and it’s a good idea not to go for the cheapest option, you should not overspend either. 

Step 4 – Get Yourself some RAM

Ensure that you have at least 4GB, but no more than 8GB of RAM in your rig. DDR3 is a great option since it has a low-cost price and is easily available. Always make sure that the motherboard accepts the RAM you choose. Just like the CPU, your RAM is not very important, so be careful not to overspend. If you’ve got some extra cash available, it’s best to spend it on enhancing your GPUs.

Step 5 – The Right Space

The hard disk for your crypto mining rig depends mostly on your personal preference. If you’re operating using Windows 10, then practically any SSD or HDD drive will work fine. Nowadays, you can buy a 120GB SSD drive for about $30 – $40, making older hard drive options obsolete.

If you happen to be building a crypto mining rig for Linux, you should consider a 16GB USB flash drive or go directly for an SSD drive.

Step 6 – Focus on GPUs

Crypto Mining Rig GPU

Your rig’s ultimate performance ultimately depends on the GPU which you install. Whilst Nvidia cards have the advantage of being less prone to heating damage, AMDs use less energy.

When choosing your GPU, you need to consider several factors, including purchase price, electricity consumption, and potential profit generation. Without this information, it can be very difficult to choose correctly. Normally, you would want to buy a GPU that offers the fastest return on investment (ROI). Once you have recovered the cost of the GPU, all the money generated from crypto mining, with the exception of electricity costs, is pure profit.

To help you calculate the potential ROI of your GPU investment you can use a free calculator.

The GPU that you purchase must be able to integrate with the rest of your components. We found that the overall best GPU is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 is a close second. If you’re budget-conscious, then you might want to consider the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER.

Step 7 – Power Up

Your rig won’t work without power, to ensure that you have an 80 Plus certified unit to get maximum efficiency. Electricity can easily become your most expensive overhead, so investing in a better supply can pay you dividends later. 

To decide which power supply to buy, you need to calculate the total power draw (TPD) of your GPU. Add around 100W extra to cover the power used by your other components, and then multiple that by a safety factor of 1.2x.

Are Crypto Mining Rigs Worth It?

Crypto Mining Rigs Worth It?
Source: Whattomine

Generally speaking, mining rigs are worth it, and this is evidence by their continual growth in numbers. However, it is very easy to lose money if you purchase incorrect equipment or mine the wrong coin. Very often, it makes sense to join a mining pool, especially for highly competitive coins, such as Bitcoin. For more on that, please visit our guide on Bitcoin mining.

The volatility of the cryptocurrency industry may mean that a coin that is profitable to mine today might not be so tomorrow. However, the price might rise again the next day. This is why you should seek to purchase good quality components but not overspend. It also helps if you are able to get cheap electricity, such as from renewable sources or by mining overnight.

To read more about mining altcoins, please visit our Komodo (KMD) and Tron (TRX) mining guides.

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