Mining Ethereum and Altcoins
Build Your Own GPU Mining Rig for Ethereum and Other Altcoins
With Bitcoin and other digital coins such as Ethereum and Litecoin skyrocketing in value over the past year, it is now profitable to start mining again. Building a mining rig is really like growing your own money tree. The rig will run and crank away and create wealth (in digital currency) while you sit back and reap the rewards. It takes a little tech savviness but anyone can learn how to build their own rigs.
This post covers how to build a GPU mining rig that you can use to mine scrypt-based coins such as Ethereum and ZCash. Bitcoin is different and is extremely hard to mine. You can’t mine Bitcoin profitably without having a large data center full of specialized Bitcoin miners. But it is profitable to mine Ethereum and Zcash (and many others), sell them or exchange them to Bitcoin.
A few years ago when you consider the value of the coins, the cost of hardware and the cost of electricity – mining simply wasn’t profitable. But now with Ethereum hovering around $300 and Zcash hovering around $280, payback time is a little bit under 4 months. If you consider that you’ll be able to sell the equipment back after mining is over, then ROI is 2 months or under.
If you want to calculate your payback time or ROI, use this. You can select a few digital currency and the calculator allows you to plug in things such as hashing power, power consumption, cost per KW/h.
Mining solo, while sometimes more profitable, it’s usually not the right choice for most miners. When mining solo, you are doing all the work alone which means that you’ll receive the entire block reward, the problem is that mining is also based on a luck factor, which means that if your hashpower isn’t high enough, you may never see a reward come your way. With pool mining, however, this variance is eliminated and you receive payments that correspond to the portion of the work that you have done.
MinerGate is an established smart-mining multipool that allows users to mine the most profitable cryptocurrency at the time.
MinerGate allows users to mine coins through a smart-mining option (auto switches to most profitable coin) or choosing your favorite cryptocurrency manually. Merged-mining is available for FCN and MCN, allowing you to mine two currencies at once without the loss of hashrate for the main coin.
Graphics Cards (VERY HIGH DEMAND)
When it comes to picking GPUs, you want the select the best bang for the buck. You’re looking for something with high hash rate, low cost, and low power usage. You can start with as little as 1 GPU or as much as 6 GPUs within one rig. The hash rates listed below are for Ethereum. Different coins will result in different hash rates but overall you can see the performance you’ll get from each card.
Due to the very high demand for GPUs, if you see them available make sure you grab them very quickly.
The hash rates listed below are for Ethereum. Listed from best to worst considering hash rate and power consumption.
- Radeon Rx 580 – This card can mine at 29 MH/s using 250 watts
- Radeon Rx 480 – 27 MH/s using 240 watts
- Geforce GTX 1070 – 27 MH/s mining using 200 watts
- Radeon Rx 470 – 25 MH/s using 190 watts
- Radeon R9 290x – 28 MH/s using 300 watts
- Radeon R9 280x – 25 MH/s using 250 watts
- Geforce GTX 1060 – 21 MH/s mining using 170 watts
- Radeon RX 460 – 12 MH/s using 160 watts
Due to Ethereum dipping a little bit in value, Zcash is more profitable to mine at this point. The Geforce GTX 1080 and 1080Ti were not listed up above for Ethereum mining simply because the cards do not mine Ether well given the high price tag. However, that is not a problem when mining Zcash as the high-end GTX dominates hashing.
- Geforce GTX 1080 TI – 720 Hash/s using 215 watts
- Geforce GTX 1080 – 550 Hash/s using 215 watts
- Geforce 980 TI – 490 Hash/s using 300 watts
- Geforce GTX 1070 – 460 Hash/s using 160 watts
- Geforce GTX 1060 – 300 Hash/s using 100 watts
- Radeon Rx 480 – 300 Hash/s using 150 watts
- Radeon Rx 470 – 280 Hash/s using 150 watts
- Radeon 290x – 380 Hash/s using 250 watts
- Radeon 280x – 310 Hash/s using 215 watts\
The openness of the crate also allows maximum airflow to dissipate heat. Of course, things won’t look the greatest but when your mining for profit, you want to save as much money as you can.
But if you want something cool and professional looking, you can buy mining cases such as this one.
Or buy a complete setup such as this Cyberpower PCs with Dual AMD Radeon 480s like this one.
1200W Gold Certified Power Supply (VERY HIGH DEMAND)
The standard power supply in a computer can be anywhere from 300W-500W. But when your mining and you are powering up to 6/7 GPUs, you want to make sure you have enough power. 1200W+ is what you’re looking for and you want to make sure that it is Gold or better certified for efficiency. Also, modular power supplies allow you to configure your cables individually which helps greatly when building out your rig.
Due to the very high demand for power supplies, most of the 1200W+ ones are sold out. If you see them for sale, make sure you grab them quickly.
- Silverstone Tek 1500W 80 PLUS Gold
- Silverstone Tek 1500W Silver
- Silverstone Tek 1350W
- EVGA SuperNOVA 1600 T2 80+ TITANIUM
- Thermaltake 1200-Watt 80 Plus Gold
- Thermaltake Toughpower DPS G RGB 1250W Digital 80+ Titanium
- Thermaltake Tough Power Series ATX 12V 1200
- Thermaltake SMART M 1200W
- Corsair CP-9020140-NA HX1200 1200W
- Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1200W
- EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2, 80+ GOLD 750W
- Corsair RMx Series, RM750x, 750W, Fully Modular
- Corsair HXi Series, HX750i, 750 Watt (750W), Fully Modular
- Thermaltake TOUGHPOWER 750W 80 PLUS GOLD Semi Modular
Motherboard + CPU Combination
For mining, you want to maximize the number of GPUs your motherboard will support. Most motherboards inside computers can handle 1 or 2 GPUs, you want to use ones that support up to 6. These are usually hard to find in stores so getting them online will be your best bet. As for CPU, you just want something basic such as the Celerons. Mining does not tax the CPU; all of the work is done on the GPUs.
LGA 1151 Motherboard/CPU Setup
- Biostar TB250-BTC
- Asus Prime Z270-P Motherboard – Use the AMD 16.12.2 Driver for 6 GPU stability
- Asus Prime Z270-A Motherboard – Use the AMD 16.12.2 Driver for 6 GPU stability
- Intel Celeron G3930
- Intel Pentium G4400
LGA 1150 Motherboard/CPU Setup
- Biostar TB85 Motherboard
- Asrock H81 Pro BTC Motherboard
- ASRock ATX H97 Anniversary Edition Motherboard
- ASRock ATX Z97 Anniversary Edition Motherboard
- MSI Z170A TOMAHAWK Motherboard
- Intel Celeron G1840 Processor
- Intel Celeron G3260 Processor
Single 4GB DDR3 1600Mhz RAM is all you need. Nothing more and nothing fancy.
Powered Riser Cables
In order to mount the GPUs within the crate, you’ll need riser PCI cables to extend the connection from the motherboard. Get as many PCI Express 1X to 16X Powered Riser Cables as you can to match up with the number of GPUs you have. There are many different variants, like this one or this or this.
SSD Hard Drive
You’ll need at least one box fan per rig.
If you’re into Linux, Windows 10.is a 64-bit Linux OS that mines Ethereum, Zcash, Monero, and other GPU-minable coins. If you’re a windows guy, here is
I suggest using the mining software provided by Minergate.
You’ll need a wallet to store your coins. Get a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S. It is immune to malware and nearly impossible to hack. The screens also provide extra security by verifying and displaying important wallet details. The hardware wallet also supports a wide support of coins (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Zcash, Dash, Stratis) and most importantly an attractive price tag. For more options, check out the wallet section.