How to build your mining rigs and the different algorithms
By Inkarias - 2020-11-03
In a time of global crisis, pandemic, and a generally unstable political and social environment, cryptocurrencies have been incredibly strong with a remarkable stability. Additionally, the pandemic-induced economic slowdown has played in the hands of the industry by not only attracting professional cryptocurrency traders, but also reviving crypto-mining via proof-of-work consensus as a means of generating passive income over time. Depending on where the miner is located across the globe, this income can represent a daily living with the right market conditions.
What is a mining rig
A cryptocurrency mining rig consists of a computer that has many graphics cards but no monitor. Computer cases are filled with GPU cards, a power generation unit, a motherboard and a cooling system. If a monitor is connected, it can become an ordinary computer on which a user can open a browser or play their favorite video game. The platform is then connected to the Internet and therefore to the blockchain network as a whole. The network works by itself to conduct monetary transactions using the power of graphics cards. To be more precise, a mining rig consists of:
A regular motherboard, which has the ability to connect to a number of connectors for GPU cards. This is the masterpiece of the whole infrastructure
A hard drive, or HDD, with at least 100-250 gigabytes of memory to hold/load the cryptocurrency wallet, with an Ether wallet typically occupying 25 GB and a BTC wallet requiring 50 GB or more. The allocated space is an important factor for the success of a mining rig in the crypto field.
Multiple GPU cards, which are the most important components of a platform as they are the basis that defines the cryptocurrency a user will mine, as well as its future profit and timing.
An electricity production unit. A platform with four GPUs often requires more than one PSU. Usually miners have a few 750-watt units connected together.
A power adapter for GPU cards. Video cards are connected to the motherboard using special expansion cards called risers. There are many types and models possible. A power switch and one cooling system will be required as well. However, it is way better to have multiple coolers to provide additional airflow for the entire system.
The last important detail is the frame of the platform. It is better to make a frame from wood or aluminium. The size of the mining rig will be slightly larger than its chassis due to protruding corners, adapters, and a cooling system. After purchasing all the components of the platform, it is time to install it, which is an easy task for someone who is experienced with computer hardware. For non-techies, a wide variety of guides in different languages can be found across Internet. Finally, when a platform is ready, all that needs to be done is to install software, that is, choose a program to mine the preferred currency. Another way is to find a mining pool, which is a popular way to mine as it becomes more and more difficult to do it individually due to the increasing complexity of mining crypto. There are also tools available such as TeamViewer, for remote control, and WatchDog, which automatically reboots the system if the program crashes.
As a general rule, a rig should include four to seven video cards although there are exceptions with some not home-made designs already offered on sale by big companies. In case of a self-made rig, miners can connect 10 to 15 GPU cards to a motherboard, but seven is the optimal number because recent operating systems can only detect that number of cards. The last solution to expand is to use specialized mining software based on the Linux kernel.
About power consumption
In more than 10 years, the mining industry has grown from something incomprehensible and rather cheap to a professional, high-tech enterprise that involves high barriers to entry, not only for equipment but also for its maintenance as well. After the purchase of mining equipment, the payment of the cost of electricity during its operation becomes the main expense that directly affects profitability. The energy consumption of a mining rig includes the following:
- GPU cards, depending on power and mining algorithm, consume between 360 watts and 1,500 watts for a six to seven card deck.
- The motherboard, PSU, hard drive, and RAM consume up to 100 watts.
- The cooling system uses from 20 watts to several kilowatts when using air conditioning systems.
The main consumers of power are GPU cards, and with the right settings, power consumption during mining can be significantly reduced. For example, when mining Ether, the key is to overclock the video memory. Depending on the chosen coin to mine and the associated algorithm, the best profitability can be reached with different rig settings or even different mining equipment’s, more specialized in a specific type.
Profitability tool and the different algorithms
For a miner, the profitability of mining can be entirely prepared by using https://whattomine.com/ to check the real income after electricity costs deduction.
Furthermore, over the years, many companies have oriented their production of equipment to meet a certain type of customer targeting a specific algorithm. With the age and the ever-growing presence of projects based on a proof-of-work system, a multitude of algorithms are now still accessible to the public. Depending on the miner’s choice, home-made or professionally created rigs can be necessary. More information about specificities are available directly on the rig’s constructor sites. In the case of home-made equipment, the list of possibilities is quite similar but imply a possibly less important profitability.