Build your own Ethereum Mining Rig, part 5: FAQ

In this fifth and final installment of our Ethereum mining rig guide, I answer some common questions about setting up your own rig, profit expectations, and mining in general. If you’ve read the rest of the guide and still have some unanswered questions, you might find what you’re looking for here.

Hit the “read more” button for the FAQ!

Deal: EVGA 850 watt PSU for $91

Amazon has EVGA SuperNOVA G2 850 watt gold-rated power supplies on sale right now for $91. These are very highly-rated efficient units, and a good choice if you’re looking to build a mining rig composed of 3-4 RX 470 GPUs (PSUs are most efficient when delivering roughly half of their rated maximum power, which puts this unit in the sweet spot for a 3-4 GPU rig).

While this unit is technically capable of powering 6x undervolted RX 470 cards, you’ll be running it near its maximum capacity, which will hurt its effective efficiency quite a bit. I still strongly recommend a 1200+ watt PSU for 6 GPU rigs.

Litecoin available to trade on Coinbase

Coinbase, widely regarded as one of the largest and most trustworthy cryptocurrency exchanges, has finally added support for Litecoin as of a few minutes ago. Their LTC price is currently all over the place—immediately rising to nearly $35 before backing down into the low $20s (other exchanges are listing LTC at around $20). It’ll be interesting to watch the price over the next few hours/days.

Bitcoin price hits all-time high

Bitcoin has gained about 15% in value over the past week, putting it at over $1,450 on Coinbase currently. That’s higher than any point since its inception!

Ethereum and Litecoin are both also doing quite well. ETH is up roughly 50% compared to just one week ago, and LTC has nearly quadrupled in value since the start of 2017.

What’s driving the recent spike in cryptocurrency valuation? Other than the imminent SegWit activation for Litecoin, there doesn’t seem to be any big news that should be driving prices up at this pace. Are people reacting to political uncertainty around the world by converting some of their fiat currency into digital cash? I’m honestly not sure—but it’s certainly interesting to follow!

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!

Coinbase CEO confirms Litecoin support coming

Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, has confirmed via Twitter that Litecoin support is finally on the way. A recent press release hinted that Coinbase might be eyeing LTC, but this is the first time Armstrong has publicly acknowledged implementation plans. No time frame was mentioned, but this is good news for Litecoin regardless!

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.