As you may already know, it’s no longer possible to mine Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies using a CPU (Central Processing Unit) and make profit because ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) have taken over. But there are just as many cryptocurrencies that are resistant to ASIC mining, including Ethereum, Ubiq, and Zcash, and such cryptocurrencies can be mined with GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) mining rigs.
What Are GPU Mining Rigs?
A GPU mining rig is a special computer put together for the sole purpose of mining cryptocurrencies using GPUs. As such, a GPU mining rig can look like a regular personal computer, have the same hardware components as a regular personal computer, and even run the same operating system as a regular personal computer.
However, most GPU mining rigs have more than one GPU (sometimes as many as 6 or 8 or even more), and they are housed inside special mining cases optimized for efficient cooling. It’s also typical for a mining rig to have more than one PSU (Power Supply Unit) because the total power consumption of a GPU mining rig often exceeds 1,000 watts.
How Much Money Can I Make?
How much money you can make with a GPU mining rig depends on the hardware configuration of your rig, the price of the individual components, your cost of electricity, and which cryptocurrencies you decide to mine with your rig.
We recommend you use this online mining calculator to calculate which cryptocurrencies are the most profitable to mine. Typically, Ethereum is at the very top, followed by Ubiq and then Zcash.
What Should I Buy?
To build a GPU mining rig, you will need to purchase several hardware components. Start by deciding how many GPUs you would like your mining rig to have. If only two, any regular desktop PC case will do. If more, then you’ll need a special mining case, such as this aluminum stackable open mining case for up to 8 GPUs.
Right now, the best GPUs for mining in terms of value are the AMD RX 480 and the Nvidia GTX 1070 Founders Edition. Again, use the online mining calculator recommended above to calculate which of the two GPUs is more profitable for your cryptocurrency of choice.
You’ll also need a motherboard with enough PCI Express connectors for all your GPUs. There are now special mining motherboards, such as the ASRock H110 Pro BTC+ (up to 13 GPUs) or the ASUS B250 Mining Expert (up to 19 GPUs), but you can also use a regular desktop motherboard, such as the ASUS PRIME Z270-A.
In most cases, you won’t plug your GPUs directly into the motherboard. Instead, you will use PCI Express risers so that you can mount your GPUs on rails for better cooling and as a way how to overcome space restrictions. A pro tip: use hot glue to secure your PCI Express risers and the cables that connect to them.
The PSU of choice for most miners is the EVGA 1000 GQ, which is an 80 PLUS Gold certified power supply with heavy-duty protections and a large and quiet fan with fluid dynamic bearings.
Other hardware components, such as the CPU and RAM, are not too important, and you shouldn’t feel bad if you decide to save money on them. Any modern Intel Pentium CPU, such as the G4560, should work fine. Just make sure that it’s compatible with your motherboard.
How Do I Start?
With your GPU mining rig ready to go, we recommend you buy and set up the ethOS 64-bit Linux mining distribution, which supports Ethereum, Zcash, Monero, and other GPU-minable coins. Of course, you can get by without a specialized mining operating system, but we guarantee that ethOS will pay for itself multiple times in the long run.
ethOS supports up to 16 AMD RX or Nvidia GPUs, it can automatically assign IP address and hostname, has built-in GPU overheat protection, features automatic reporting and remote configuration, and, above all, is extremely lightweight and works with all CPUs made in the last 5 generations on only 2 GB of RAM.