The creation of Bitcoin in 2008 was the beginning of the cryptocurrency craze. To put simply, cryptocurrency is a digital currency. Encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency. Crypto uses a technology called blockchain, which is decentralized. Every computer on the network confirms each transaction. Today, people are “mining” or “hashing” for the cryptocurrency using supercomputers.
If you’ve built a PC in the past, creating a cryptocurrency mining rig shouldn’t be too hard. This article will help break down how these crypto mining supercomputer rigs are built, and also fill you in on the risks of building a mining rig.
Risks of building a crypto mining rig
There are different risks involved in building a mining rig, but one of the most prominent risks is the cost of investment. The average cost of a ready-built mining rig like an Antminer S9 can cost anywhere between $700-$2000. The estimated cost to mine a single bitcoin (currently worth $11,962) is estimated to be about $4,758 in electricity costs in the US. Doing some quick math, for a basic ready-built rig and after mining one bitcoin, you have invested a total of just under $13,000. You would need mine another .17 bitcoin to just break even.
If you decide to build a rig, there are three main costs you will have to take into account: hardware costs, software costs, and you would still need to factor in electricity.
Building a Mining Rig
Buying a preassembled mining rig is quite expensive, but will save you time. But if you are looking for a new hobby, building a crypto mining rig could be a fun project if you’re into building things from the bottom up. We will breakdown what you will need for your very own rig.
The first thing you will need is a Rig frame. We recommend using an aluminum frame. Metal frames are more rigid and are not flammable like wood frames. It also conducts electricity well, which is important since all the components of your rig should be grounded.
The next is the Motherboard. Your motherboard should be able to hold between 4 and 8 video cards. Make sure you get a motherboard with at least 4 PCI-E ports. Some of the most popular motherboards are based on P45, P43, and P35 chipsets. A good example of these is the Asus P5Q and the Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3L. Or you can go with a less expensive option with the Z270-based Gigabyte GA-Z270P-D3. This motherboard still powers 6 GPUs, and you can find it for less than $100.
You will also need a Processor. If you are looking for something basic, a Celeron G3900 processor and Core 2 Duo E7300 CPU for P45, P43, and P35 based rigs can support a basic Z270 configuration. An Athlon X3 445 is a good choice for AMD platforms with 970A chipset. Multiprocessors (Intel Core i3, i5, i7) CPUs for Z270 are also a good choice especially if you are mining on the Cryptonight algorithm such as Monero.
You will also need plenty of RAM. The more RAM you have the better your system will run. We recommend at least 4GB. An inexpensive option is the DDR3, which you can find around $5 per gigabyte. Do some research and make sure the motherboard you have selected supports the RAM you choose.
Storage is another important part of your crypto mining rig. Although the hashing power of your system isn’t influenced by the size and the speed of the storage—it is still imperative for your system to record information. Any 50GB hard drive should be enough for these purposes. A Solid State Drive isn’t necessary for this, so we suggest opting for a traditional HDD instead.
You will need a good Power Supply. The unit will require an 80 Plus certified power supply. This is a higher efficiency power supply, which is vital for crypto mining. Power supplies are class rated: Plus, Plus Bronze, Plus Silver, Plus Gold, and Plus Platinum. We suggest getting a Gold rated power supply for mining. Corsair makes some great options for Plus Gold.
The most important piece for a mining rig is Video Cards. A Graphics Processing Units or GPUs will do all the heavy lifting for your rig. This is where you should be spending the bulk of your money. Nvidia and AMD are good options and both have their share of benefits and weaknesses.
The benefits of a GPU mining rig will outweigh a CPU rig. A GPU mining rig will be more expensive than a CPU, but it will have a higher hashing power. It will also support mining a wide variety of cryptocurrencies that have differing hashing algorithms. It will also be more profitable in the end.
Nvidia video cards need more energy but are great for the ease of use. Nvidia cards are less likely to have issues with cooling and are easier to tune. AMD cards are less popular with gamers, which makes them harder to sell when you decide to stop mining or want to upgrade to a different card. A good option is the Nvidia GTX series. The RX580 mines aft a 30Mash/s, while the GTX 1060 can do about 22 Mhash/s. You can find these cards around $350- $400 each.
Buying a Preassembled Mining Rig
If you have experience building computers or you’re looking for a new hobby, building a mining rig can be fun. But if you are looking to get mining as quickly as possible, buying a preassembled rig can be your best option. This will be more expensive, but it will save you time and money (in a sense that you can start making your money back fast). Different companies will build a rig for you, and depending on what specifications you choose, you will spend anywhere between $5000 – $20,000. If you don’t have experience building and want to mine as quickly as possible, we suggest going this route.
Creative Ways People Are Mining Cryptocurrency
Not everyone has the expendable income to build or buy a crypto mining rig. This is why people are finding creative ways to mine cryptocurrency. One of the most interesting ways is called “cryptojacking”. This is a scam that can be found on thousands of websites.
Click here for more information and how to protect yourself from cryptojackers.
Conclusion: Is it worth it?
Cryptocurrency has only been around for 11 years, and the craze is still alive. New data center cooling methods have been implemented over the years just to keep up with crypto mining. Liquid immersion cooling has been more popular and more in demand since the craze started.
We don’t know the lasting nature of cryptocurrency in our society, in fact, there is only so much cryptocurrency that will be available to mine. But we do know that the currency is extremely valuable and can be a nice payday if you are patient enough to mine for it.