First - Is Mining For You?
Cryptocurrency is exciting, full of potential, and just beginning to show what it is capable of. Because of this, it offers regular people (non-investors) the opportunity to get in on at the forefront of a potentially incredibly lucrative opportunity. I want to educate people on what I have learned as both an investor and miner. This specific article features the parts required to build the miner I use. If you want, you can skip right to the part list, but I would recommend reading through.
Forget Mining… Is Cryptocurrency for You?
I know, you came here to figure out how to mine and I will help you with that. Before I do so, I want to make sure you are prepared for the risks involved. In the short time I have been involved in cryptocurrency, I have watched Bitcoin more than triple, others return over ten times their value, and witnessed my miners stay incredible stable while they continue to generate money with little effort from me. It has been great. But, I also know, in the back of my head, that this could all go to zero at any time. I could lose my entire investment. I don’t believe that will happen. I believe it will stay around for a very long time. Although, with knowing it could collapse, I have not put a dollar in I can’t afford to lose. I beg you to do the same. I don’t want people getting hurt. You know your financial situation and if you can afford to do this. I hope you do. But please, don’t risk what you can't lose.
Mining Versus Investing
The miner I built cost around 6,000 (you don’t have to spend that much). Depending on various factors, the time to recoup that cost is 6 – 12 months. The idea is to build a miner, generate enough to pay off your investment, and then continue to generate coins for only the cost of electricity. As coin prices climb, this can quickly build into a very profitable situation. Although, what if you put that 6,000 into cryptocurrency as an investment and it grew at incredible rate? That may make it a better investment than waiting for your miners to generate coins. This would require the market to continue to rise at a very sharp rate, but it could happen. Also, for mining to be profitable, you need to put some time into it. You need to make sure your miners are always up. You also need to make sure they are running as efficiently as possible. Point is, do your homework. Depending on how you think cryptocurrency is going to do, you could make cases for direct investing or mining.
Still Want the Miner?
I have enjoyed the mining process. It has been relatively smooth. It took a minute to find the rights settings for everything, but once I did, I have barely touched my miners. They sit there and keep making money. Money that seems to gain value by the minute. If you are serious about this, I would stick to the part list I have provided. I had a friend who I provided this list to and he decided to change up various pieces. His first couple months were very frustrating as he troubleshot problem after problem. The parts in my list are high quality, stable, and work well together. Stability is king in mining so I would stick with what we know works.
Here You Go!
With 7 PCIE slots, this board supports many cards easily with risers. I have seen where others have run 8 1080ti video cards through this board. More importantly, it is widely used by miners and is proven as a stable, capable, and well-priced option. With mining, it is worth paying extra to have stable and easy to manage tech behind your operation.
Processor performance does not impact mining performance. You need something strong enough to run the OS and that is it. We want a cheap, stable, option that get the job done. The Celeron does exactly that. Simple enough!
Much like memory and CPU, the hard drive performance is not critical for mining. The good news is, these days SSD options are cheap and provide great performance. This does allow for quicker system boot times to get back to mining, which is not critical but nice.
Now we are talking about mining! Risers basically allow you to take the PCIe port and extend it out to a new location. You plug a small 1x card in the PCIe port on your motherboard. Your video card plugs into the PCIe floating board and then a USB cable connects the two boards. All required pieces come in the kit linked here. Now, you may be wondering why we use risers. This is done for a few reasons. First, you would be hard pressed to fit 6 or 7 video cards into the motherboard and case if using one. More importantly is heat. The video cards generate a substantial amount of heat. Having adequate spacing for heat dissipation and air flow is critical. If not, you are going to have card failures and performance problems that keep your miner from being profitable. One thing to note with these risers is to not go cheap. Cheaper options are known to break and cause all sorts of problems. The version linked here have shown good results. One may be bad here and there, but for the most part they work well. All 6 of mine have worked fine from day one.
Another component critical to mining is the power supply. There are a couple things you need to take into consideration. First, the quality of power supply. I would not go extremely cheap, but you also probably do not need top of the line. Within the eVGA line, you can choose from bronze or lower all the way to titanium 2. The rating indicates the efficiency of the power supply and how much electricity is wasted. Considering these miners draw a lot of power and run non-stop, paying extra for an efficient power supply may save you money down the road. I did get the T2 but I recommend getting at least a gold rated power supply. Second, is the wattage of the power supply. You need enough watts to power your system. Each 1080ti video card by default uses 250 watts. I lower them down to around 175 per card for better mining efficiency. Each riser uses power as well plus the other components to your computer. Basically, you need to determine beforehand how many graphics cards you are going want to max out at. If you are going to max the system out, I recommend getting the 1600 watt power supply, otherwise size accordingly. As an example, my rig with 5 cards using 5 risers and a box fan blowing air through it was using just over 1,000 watts.
The heart of this operation, the GPU. There are numerous directions you could go here, so do your homework. For myself personally, I only use one card, the EVGA 1080 ti. It is the top NVIDIA card. It is the most expensive NVIDIA card. It is also the card mostly likely to stay profitable the longest. There are many things you need to considering when picking out a GPU. First, what do you want to mine? AMD and NVIDIA specialize in different coins. Even different models within these manufactures vary dramatically in their mining coin to coin. Another thing is that mining difficulty increases over time. For example, when you start, you may be mining .1 of a certain coin every day. Three months later and you may be mining only .7. This right here is the reason I go for the top of the line. I don’t want to purchase a card and start to feel like it needs to be replaced shortly after purchasing it. I want cards that are at the top of the food chain and will continue to be successful for decent amount of time. For me, the 1080 ti is this card. With it you are able to lower the power consumption while staying close to full performance. You also have the flexibility to mine many coins and adapt to the environment. With so much memory, memory limitations or concerns related to mining are a distant though. As of now, it also has maintained a very strong resale value if you decide to discontinue mining. I have not a single concern with my choice to use this card.
This miner does not go in a case. It needs to be open air so it can cool better than being contained in a case. Because of this, you don’t have a power button to push. Many options exist, but you are building a miner. Get a cool power button!