Category Archives: Mining

Build your own Ethereum Mining Rig, part 4: Optimization

Same hardware: before (top) and after (bottom) GPU BIOS mods. Click to enlarge.

This fourth installment of our Ethereum mining guide will focus on optimizing your rig’s performance via GPU clock speed and voltage setting tweaks to achieve maximum efficiency.

The tweaks that I outline in this article are applicable whether you’re using Linux or Windows. If you’re using the hardware that was recommended in the first part of this guide (or very similar hardware), you should expect to achieve Ether mining performance gains of 20-25%, compared to stock settings! At the same time, you’ll reduce power consumption by 10-15% (and consequently, lower GPU temperature and fan noise).

More speed for less power—how is that possible? Click “read more” to find out, in our mining performance optimization guide!

Radeon RX 5xx cards are available; RX 470 still king for ETH mining

Just a quick note that the new Radeon RX 570 and RX 580 cards have become available for purchase over the last few days. Several people have sent me messages asking if they should be considering these for their mining rigs over RX 470/480 cards. The short answer is probably not, unless you find that the 5xx cards are actually significantly cheaper than their 4xx ancestors.

The new 5xx GPUs are essentially 4xx cards with higher core clock speeds. Memory clock speeds are unchanged—and memory speed is the most important factor when it comes to Ethereum mining. The increased core clock speed comes with a corresponding increase in power consumption, which probably makes the new cards less efficient for mining when compared to the older 4xx GPUs—at least at stock settings.

Unrelated, but I’m (finally) nearly finished with part 4 of my Ethereum mining guide. I should have it posted sometime tonight or tomorrow.

Build your own Ethereum Mining Rig, part 3: Windows Setup

Ethereum & WindowsNo doubt some of you saw the Ethereum mining guide for Linux that I published last week and balked at all of that “command-line nonsense”. Linux isn’t everyone’s thing, and that’s ok—if Windows is your OS of choice, then this guide is for you!

While Linux offers some significant advantages when it comes to GPU mining, Windows does have one potentially important edge: undervolting your GPUs currently requires quite a bit less effort under Windows. If you want your mining rig to run at its maximum efficiency, you’ll want to keep power consumption to a minimum, and with Linux that generally requires flashing a custom BIOS to each GPU—whereas in Windows you can usually accomplish this at the driver level with a simple software setting.

The bad news is that if you want maximum performance out of your rig, you’ll probably eventually want to flash your GPU BIOS under either operating system, but we’ll get into that in part 4 of this guide. But if you already know that overwriting your GPU BIOS with a custom replacement is outside of your comfort zone, then sticking with Windows will at least allow you to undervolt.

So with all of that in mind, if Windows sounds like the best option for you, read on for our setup guide!

Build your own Ethereum Mining Rig, part 2: Linux Setup

In this second installment of our DIY Ethereum mining guide, we’ll look at how to install and configure Linux to setup your rig as an automated, remotely-manageable appliance. Don’t be dissuaded if you’ve never used Linux before—our step-by-step guide makes it simple!

Why Linux over Windows? First, it’s free—and saving ~$100 on the operating system is a big plus when you’re trying to maximize profitability. Other reasons include lesser hardware requirements (Linux is perfectly happy running from a USB stick plugged into ancient hardware!), simpler remote administration capabilities, and oftentimes better stability. The downside of running Linux is that video driver support isn’t on the same level as Windows, and things like GPU undervolting are trickier (but still possible via BIOS mods).

If you missed the hardware portion of our guide, make sure to check it out first. Otherwise, read on.

Build your own Ethereum Mining Rig, part 1: Hardware

Ethereum GPU mining rig testbed.

My open-frame GPU testbed, mining Ethereum on a couple Radeon RX 470 video cards.

It’s finally time for an update to my popular 2013 Litecoin mining guide! It’s four years later, and Ethereum mining is where it’s at for GPU miners, so that’s what I’ve focused on. I’ve kept the same format and detail level as my old guide, so if you were around back then, you’ll know what to expect.

If you’re new to the world of crytocurrency mining, this guide should give even an absolute beginner all of the knowledge needed to put together an efficient Ethereum (or other GPU-minable altcoin) mining rig using readily-available consumer hardware.

This guide will be broken into several parts, each focusing on a different aspect of building your first mining rig. First, let’s take a look at what you’ll need in terms of hardware to put a respectable Ethereum miner together.

Expect my Ethereum mining guide next week!

My ridiculous 8-GPU mining frame with a couple lonely Radeon RX 470 cards, mining ethereum.

Look what I’ve been up to today—the UPS guy dropped off some new hardware to play with! Unfortunately it’s not everything I that was hoping for (the popular 6+ GPU mining motherboards I mentioned in a recent post are sold out everywhere), but it’s enough to get started with.

I’m already up and mining ETH on a couple RX 470 GPUs under the latest LTS release of Xubuntu. Still lots of optimization to do, but the process was a lot less painful than my first experience with litecoin mining back in 2013.

I’m celebrating a friend’s wedding out of town this weekend, but I’ll be back next week. Look for the first sections of my detailed Ethereum mining guide then!

GPU Mining: back in style?

Ethereum 3 month price history

Ethereum: 3 month price history

Yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. =) The GPU mining craze all but died three years ago with the rise of ASIC hardware for scrypt (litecoin) miners. But if the last few weeks are any indication, it looks like we may be in for a major resurgence in popularity.

Bitcoin is currently trading at over $1200—a roughly 400% increase in the past year. Equally interesting is the performance of a couple alternative cryptocurrencies. Ethereum is at ~$32 (up 300% in the last year), with a market cap of $3 billion—about 15% of Bitcoin! Dash is at $100 (+250% over the last year, with much of that gain in the past week).

Dash is based on the X11 algorithm, which means ASIC hardware dominates its mining scene—and getting your hands on an X11-capable ASIC miner is currently fairly difficult, as they’re mostly sold out everywhere. But Ethereum is exclusively minable with modern consumer-grade video cards, and it’s currently quite profitable to do so.

Read on for some “back of the napkin” numbers regarding Ethereum GPU mining profitability, and some current hardware suggestions.

Radeon R9 280X GPU & mining: preliminary results

Now that the excellent Radeon 7950 video cards have essentially become unobtainable, I’m getting a lot of questions from people about how to get the most out of the new Radeon R9 280X in terms of mining. I managed to get my hands on a few Sapphire 280X cards this past week, and have done a little bit of experimenting.

I’ll get around to updating my guide for the 280X at some point in the next couple weeks, but if you’re looking for a good starting point as far as cgminer and undervolting settings go, read on.

Radeon 7950 GPUs are becoming scarce

Many of you have contacted me recently asking for my opinion of x brand/model of 7950 GPU, given that some of the top choices from my mining hardware guide are sold out everywhere. Thought I’d throw up a quick post with some of the best alternatives for those of you that are looking to build a rig.

Yes, the Radeon 7950 is still the best GPU mining platform (and probably will be for quite some time), assuming you don’t have access to free electricity. Click “read more” for the list.

ASRock releasing mining motherboard

ASRock announced today that they’re releasing a motherboard that is specifically targeted at GPU miners. Although ASRock is marketing it as a “bitcoin mining” motherboard, it’ll likely prove far more interesting to scypt-based coin miners (litecoin, etc), as bitcoin mining is now pretty much the realm of ASIC-based hardware.

The H81 Pro BTC has 6 PCIe slots, which means it will support a maximum of six GPUs. The remarkable feature is the inclusion of two molex power connectors on the motherboard, which should prevent the need for powered risers entirely.

It’ll be interesting to see how the board is priced.