So You Think You Want To Build a GPU Miner?
- December 3, 2020
Written By: Pete Richison, Owner – Miners Warehouse
GPU Mining is one of the more financially accessible ways to get into mining and can be perfect for home mining. But where do you start? How does it work? What all do you need? In this article I cover the ground level basics of building a GPU miner.
Hopefully you have tinkered a bit with mining on a gaming PC that you already have access to. This is a great way to learn some of the software options and nuances. If not just be prepared to spend a little extra time learning the different software and experimenting with the different options out there. There are way too many options to count so I will just cover basics here. But generally it would be very beneficial to you to start learning the basics of Linux and/or CMD line operations in Windows. Don’t try to learn it all at once, and when you run into a roadblock, Google it, that works almost every time.
Where Do You Start?
The first step in actually building a rig is gathering the hardware. Of course you need to decide which GPU’s you want to mine on (and which ones you can afford). There are a huge variety of cards out there. The primary differences are that some hash different coin algorithms better than others and they can vary widely in cost. You also have to consider efficiency (how much one card hashes versus how much electric it uses). Do your homework and find the best options for you and the coins you currently want to mine. Generally speaking you will need to choose AMD or NVIDIA. Folks can argue either way, it’s mostly a Ford/Chevy type argument. Both are useful in their own ways. AMD’s are generally more accessible when it comes to pricing.
Once you pick a GPU model you will need to find them at the best price you can get. Remember the lower your investment cost in the rig the quicker it can ROI (return on investment). The flipside is to be sure you don’t sacrifice quality for price, because buying something twice because the first one breaks, or having your rig constantly going down will cost you valuable mining time and therefor profitability. It’s best to keep those rigs running smooth 24/7. This is all personal choice and depends on your comfort level and budget, but remember downtime costs you money because of the missed mining time.
What Other Parts Are Required?
To get those newly acquired GPU’s humming along you also need some version of the following: A motherboard, a PSU (power supply unit), a CPU, RAM, a USB/SSD/HDD or other memory device. Then you can add creature comforts as desired like a power button, mouse, keyboard, monitor, etc. The cool thing about mining rigs is that the GPU’s are your main workhorse where you need to spend money. For the rest of the rig you can get away with pretty low-end stuff.
When choosing a motherboard, plan ahead. Make sure to buy something that you can expand your rig in the future with. I would suggest a mobo that has at least 6 PCIE slots on it. This is a simple way to be ready to upgrade in the future if you just buy a MOBO with a few extra slots.
For the power supply, I would also consider buying one with power to spare. Do some research on what your GPUs will draw, then also remember to account for power used to run the motherboard and CPU as well and include a margin for error. You really don’t want to use over about 70% of the PSU’s max rated power consistently. The good thing about PSU’s when it comes to expansion is that you can add a second PSU to the same rig very easily with a simple cheap part (an Add2PSU or some version of that).
For the CPU and RAM, feel free to buy cheap unless you plan to CPU mine on the rig as well. It is possible to setup a rig that mines one coin with the GPUs and a second coin with the CPU. However CPU mining can create issues with your rig in my experience, so just be cautious. It can definitely be done, but it can also create another way that your rig can fail and shutdown or restart, and remember downtime is your enemy. So the minor addition to profitability from CPU mining on your rig may not be worth the added risk of downtime if it causes you problems. For ram, just grab a cheap 4GB stick and that’s all you will need. Anything else is overkill and a waste of money honestly for most home mining applications.
There you have it. That’s all you need to get started with the basics of building a GPU miner. Whether you are ready to build one mining rig, or fill a warehouse with them, www.Miners-Warehouse.com is a great place to source your gear and find good deals on electric and hosting pricing. Send us a message today and we will be happy to help you get started.