Components, building process, and recommendations
Your GPU mining rig setup will determine how much hashrate you generate, and thus, your potential mining profitability. The better the equipment, the more efficiently you’ll mine any cryptocurrency. However, many people don’t even know where to start. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
The basics of GPU mining
GPU mining uses graphic cards, just like the ones you use on a regular gaming PC. These graphic cards and other components form what we call a mining rig: a customized computer built especially for mining crypto.
In mining rigs, it’s the GPUs that do all the hard work, which is making the calculations and guesses to find blocks. Thus, each rig has several of them. The amount and power of your graphic cards will be fundamental in achieving maximum hashpower.
However, they’re not the only essential component. A mining rig must be well equipped and accordingly powered to make its performance optimum.
We must remind you that mining rigs are costly to build and consume a considerable amount of energy, so please consider that before jumping into assembling your machines.
Components needed to build a mining rig
Finding and choosing the proper hardware for mining can be an overwhelming process, so try to be patient and take your time for every decision.
A fully-equipped rig, prepared for maximum output, would have all these components:
- A central processing unit (CPU): Being critical in regular PCs, CPUs are less so in mining rigs. When difficulty was much lower, a CPU used to be enough to mine crypto — even Bitcoin — decently. But now, their processing power and speed are pretty much useless. Nevertheless, having a good CPU will generally improve a rig’s performance and prevent errors.
- A motherboard: Motherboards are vital components in any computer, and mining rigs are no exception. They act as an interface between all the other parts, integrating them all. A good motherboard will maximize performance and help all components run smoothly, so spare no expenses. Also, make sure the model you choose is compatible with all other pieces, especially GPUs.
- A hard drive: You’ll need a storage unit where you can install your mining software, as well as the blockchain’s data. Luckily, you don’t need a huge memory to get started with mining, and hard drives are one of the most manageable components to replace or upgrade. You can go with an economical option to get started and kick it up a notch on the go. Additionally, joining a mining pool reduces the memory needed considerably.
- A random-access memory (RAM): Another component in which you can save some money. You don’t need a lot of RAM to mine crypto with GPUs, as it doesn’t affect hashrate. RAM’s functions in mining are limited to running the OS and the software.
- Several graphic processing units (GPU) or graphic cards: As we said before, GPUs are undoubtedly the most crucial component to increase hashpower. They determine the efficiency and the profitability of your rig, so you should go for top-notch quality here. Remember, along with performance and motherboard compatibility, you must consider power consumption.
- A power supply: These components convert electrical energy from the power grid to the correct voltage and frequency of your machine. In mining, they essentially regulate the amount of energy your rig receives to avoid overloading and shortages. This will depend on the amount of GPUs and what components you choose to build your rig with, so it should be one of the last things to pick up.
- A frame to hold everything together and in place: You’re not planning to have all this expensive equipment lying around on the floor, are you? Make sure you have a big enough frame or case to hold your components neatly. It should also be open, so it doesn’t retain heat.
- A cooling system (optional): Depending on the location and type of facilities you’re going to mine in, you may require a strong cooling system. Controlling the equipment’s temperature is essential to spare the machines and ensure stable performance, avoid overheating and damage to the hardware, and increase lifespan. This equipment is expensive, and burning your GPUs can quickly put you out of business.
- Risers (recommended): Risers are adapters that allow you to move GPUs away from the motherboard and other components. They also enable miners to build larger rigs, as they free up space on the motherboard. Most people hang their GPUs from the frames, increasing airflow, and reducing the overheating risk.
The GPU mining rig building process
Once you have all the components you need, you’ll have to put them all together.
The first thing to consider is choosing the right place to install your brand new mining machine. The ideal spot would be open and spacious, with a good airflow to dissipate heat and far away from any flammable items to reduce fire hazards.
Once you’ve selected the spot, you can start assembling your brand new mining rig.
Important: Before you start, be sure to check manufacturer instructions and guidelines to protect the components.
- As we said, the motherboard will integrate all the components together, so that’s where you should start. First, place the motherboard on a table or platform wher you have plenty of space and are comfortable with.
- Place the CPU chip on the motherboard. There should be a dedicated socket for it. Follow the instructions to make sure that everything is in place.
- Place the RAM memory unit. There should be small brackets at the sides to hold it in place. Open them delicately and push the RAM unit into the socket. They should click back to their position once the unit fits correctly.
- Carefully fix the motherboard to the frame using a screwdriver. There should be a dedicated space for it depending on the frame you’re using.
- Connect the power supply to the motherboard.
- Connect the hard drive to to the motherboard (and the power supply if needed).
- Place the graphic cards on the frame. Again, there should be a dedicated space for them. If there’s not, choose a spot where they are firm and have good airflow. We recommend using risers to elevate and fix them on the upper part of the frame, over the other components.
- If you have risers, connect them to the graphic cards. Plug the adapters on the motherboard and connect them through the USB cable.
- Connect your GPUs to the power supply.
- Check steps 1–9 again and make sure everything is properly placed, fixed, and connected.
- Connect the monitor, mouse, and keyboard.
Congratulations! That’s it. You now have a fully equipped GPU mining rig. All you need to do now is installing the mining software and start mining.
Building a mining rig takes time and dedication, but it doesn’t require advanced computer knowledge. Anyone can do it if you follow instructions and manuals carefully and double check that everything is safely in place.
We hope this guide helps you assemble your GPU rig so you can start mining and earning crypto. If you have any questions, we encourage you to ask it in the comments.
On the other hand, if you are still unsure about what mining hardware you should get, we recommend you read our comparison article: ASICs and GPU mining rigs; which one is better?