So you want to build an Ethereum (ETH) Mining Rig. I decided to build one to see what I could achieve. I have wanted to mine cryptocurrency for a long time but have not had the time to dedicate to it. With all the hype lately, I thought I better jump in with both feet before I completely miss the bus.
There are plenty of people online stating that it is too late to make any money mining cryptocurrency, but I think they are wrong. In the coming months, I will be posting my financials on my personal blog should you care to follow along and see if mining Ethereum is working out for me.
I started researching the mining of Ethereum a thought I had it all figured out when it came time to build a rig. Though I did have success without many issues, there were some minor problems I came across. I mentioned in my build video that I would include these notes to help anyone else who wanted to build a similar rig to mine. If you have not yet seen the video, here it is.
Here is the parts list for my AMD RX 580 Ethereum Mining Rig:
1 x Intel G3930 7th Gen Celeron Desktop Processor: http://amzn.to/2BBHHN2
1 x ASUS PRIME Z270-A LGA1151 ATX Motherboard: http://amzn.to/2BbsdOY
1 x Ballistix Sport LT 8GB DDR4 2666 MT/s (PC4-21300) RAM: http://amzn.to/2BUlypa
6 x MSI VGA Graphic Cards RX 580 GAMING X 8G: http://amzn.to/2C39QJH
1x Corsair HXi Series, HX1200i, 1200 Watt Power Supply: http://amzn.to/2klDMJb
1x SanDisk SSD PLUS 120GB Solid State Drive: http://amzn.to/2B4WAGj
1x Mailiya 6-Pack PCIe Riser Adapters: http://amzn.to/2BTVQkG
1x GPU Mining Case Rig: http://amzn.to/2l3wrC4
1x Windows 10 Home Edition USB: http://amzn.to/2C3RVTd
Sapphire 11265-05-20G Radeon PULSE RX 580 8GB: http://amzn.to/2C3wRMw
P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor: http://amzn.to/2Bt5e1T
Whether or not you have ever built a computer before, building a mining rig is not really that hard. The assembly process is the simple part, getting it configured can be easy too if you go about it in the right order.
Once you have your mining rig assembled you need to get it set up. The setup and optimization of your mining rig is where the profitability comes from. Turning it on and mining will not result in very high hash rates. The hash rate is the rate at which your mining rig can process incoming jobs from the mining pool.
For a beginner, I recommend installing Windows. There is mining software that runs on Linux, but most beginners are going to be more familiar with Windows than Linux. I will eventually switch to Linux because there is more control available remotely when running Linux than Windows. Plus if the power goes out, a Linux system can easily reboot and start mining again where it would take a bit more to configure Windows to do that.
Get Windows installed and install all of the drivers for your motherboard. You can get those from the manufactures website of your motherboard. If you purchase the Asus Prime Z270-A like I used, just go here.
The first mistake I made was installing the wrong firmware. AMD produces Blockchain specific drivers for mining.
1stMiningRig.Com has instructions on how to install the AMD RX 580 drivers for mining. You will also need to download Claymore Miner, which is linked on their site as well.
I suggest you get your rig set up with a single GPU before you install all six. Some have had success installing all of the GPUs right away, but getting it running on one means it will have no issues running on all six.
Motherboard Bios Settings
You will need to make a few changes to the motherboard bios. The stock settings on the bios will only support up to four GPUs and also runs the PCIe slots Gen3. We need support for six cards and the PCIe slots to run Gen2. The following video walks you through that process. It’s a little long and I have found that settings set to “auto” don’t have to be forced into Gen2, but it doesn’t hurt to force them into Gen2.
I also recommend disabling onboard video on the motherboard. How to do that is also outlined in this video.
Once you have completed the changes to the motherboard bios settings you can restart and confirm everything still works. Once that is confirmed, shut down and add in the remaining five GPUs. Restart and confirm in your device manager that you have six cards active.
Most people use MSI Afterburner as their overclock manager. I found MSI Afterburner harder to use than ASUS GPU Tweak II. You can use ASUS GPU Tweak II on AMD cards but it is suggested to use MSI Afterburner for overclocking.
To save power, you can underclock the GPU to use less energy. The real power comes in overclocking the memory on the GPU. The GPUs I used allow for overclocking of the GPU Memory and the power that goes to that memory. I increased the power to the max allowed and overclocked the memory to 80% of the allowed amount. I found that anything over 80% makes the system unstable and does not result in a better hash rate.
GPU Bios Mods
If you want the max output from your GPUs you will have to modify the bios of your cards. This likely voids the warranty so be aware of that. The bios mod is a simple change, but it has to be done just right. Depending on your card, you may have different memory types and the bios mod is specific to the memory type of your card. There are a lot of tutorials on how to modify the bios so I will include a video on that below. What you want to make sure and do is keep track of the bios for each card. I labeled my GPUs and made sure the stock and modified bios files stay in order. If you ever need to flash the bios back to stock on any of your GPUs you want to make sure you use the stock file you saved before modding the bios. Each bios rom is unique to the card because of the unique identifier of the card.
You will need to set up an Ethereum Wallet that the mining pool will pay into. I recommend you set up a new email address that nobody knows about. The reason being is that if someone accessed your email address, they could get access to your wallet with the right information. In the next section, you will set up that wallet. It is very important that you follow the instructions on how to secure your wallet info. Your public wallet ID is not that important to protect as it is public information once you join a pool. However, showing someone your public wallet ID lets them see it’s value. It’s just like showing someone how much cash is in your wallet. It brings attention to your wallet.
I recommend printing a paper wallet to keep somewhere safe. The paper wallet will have your private key on it which is what gets you access to manage that wallet. Without it, you can’t do anything with the value of your wallet. You can also invest in a hardware wallet. I recommend the Ledger Nano S. A hardware wallet can hold value offline. It has a public wallet ID that you can use to be paid to by the pool you mine for. It is safe because nobody can access it without having the physical wallet and the code to get into it.
Create an Ethereum Wallet
If you are not going to use a hardware wallet, for now, go to MyEtherWallet and set up a wallet. The website does a good job of walking you through the process to help you keep your info safe. As the website states, you do not want to ever click a link that takes you to their website. Simply type in myetherwallet.com into your web browser and go through the process.
Join a Mining Pool
Once your rig is complete, you need to join a mining pool to mine Ethereum. I joined Nanopool. They have pools for a variety of different cryptocurrencies but so far I have only mined Ethereum. Go to the Nanopool website and click Quick Start for Ethereum. That will walk you through what you need to do to get started. The Nanopool website will generate two files that you will replace in your Claymore Miner folder. Nanopool asks for an email address so take my advice from above and use an email address nobody knows about.
Once you have replaced the files downloaded from Nanopool into Claymore Miner you are ready to mine. If you have completed all of the steps above correctly, you should be mining around 28-30 Mh/s per card with a total of around 160-180 Mh/s for the entire rig. At the time I am writing this, that should result in around $650/mo.
Continue to Optimize
You will need to monitor the energy consumption of your rig. This is why I listed the Power Consumption Meter as part of the build. If you live somewhere where electricity is expensive, your profit margin will be thin. I live in California, so electricity is not very cheap. Right now there is a profit margin for me. The rig has a cost of about $20/wk to run but it mines about $140 in ETH per week. That means each year the rig will make about $6200 not including any increase in value to ETH over that time.
As mentioned in my video, I paid for my mining rig using 0% financing on my Amazon card so I am essentially out of pocket no money to start mining. I can pay down the cost of the parts over the next 12 months using profit from the rig itself. Most likely I will just leave my ETH in my wallet and pay for it with other income. It is best to leave as much of your ETH in your wallet as possible so it can continue to grow in value.
My rig is located in my office. It sounds like a small box fan, but it actually keeps my office warm. I have not had to run the heater yet even though it has been 32 degrees Fahrenheit each night outside. That is saving me at least $150 in gas and electricity each month which will more than offset the cost to run one mining rig.
This was a fun project. I had my moments of frustration getting it optimized, but it is running smoothly now. I have a couple of additional videos on the topic of mining that I will post soon to StateofTech, so make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel to get updates.
If my video and this article helped, please consider sharing it with someone. Using the links above to purchase your parts helps support our efforts, so I appreciate your clicks.
Thanks again and please leave any questions or comments in the comments section below. Happy Mining!