Our maiden Tips and Guides article is a tale of two posts. In Part 1, we explain how to build a 13 GPU mining rig from scratch, identifying every single component required while offering our own recommendations. In Part 2, we’ll take you through the installation and set-up process step-by-step, using our recommended hardware.
GPU Rigs v ASIC Rigs
ASIC crypto mining rigs offer a significant amount of hashing power that can’t really be matched by GPUs setups. With that said, its still possible to use GPU mining rigs to mine for alt-coins such as Ethereum.
It’s should be of no surprise then, that pre-built GPU mining rigs have started to hit the market. These certainly take the hassle out of sourcing hardware for home-made projects, but it’s still a good idea to get a proper understanding of the actual hardware involved. What better way than to build a GPU mining rig from scratch.
Our GPU Mining Rig
Our gpu mining rig will consist of 13 graphics cards. For reasons explained later, we’ll be using both NVIDIA and AMD cards. Stable hosting of this many GPUs on a single motherboard has only recently made possible with the release of the AS Rock H110.
This is why the H110 is the only component that we strongly recommend you purchase – that is if you want a 13 graphic card rig. If you’ve decided to use less cards, then this guide should still be of help.
What Hardware and Software is Required?
The prospect of building a GPU mining rig might seem rather daunting at first. But breaking the project down into sections will make the process easier and allow you to focus clearly on the task at hand.
Although some background knowledge would help, it’s still possible to build a crypto rig without having expert knowledge.
Here’s a list of the hardare and software you’re going to need. We’ll assume you’re already in possession of a mouse, monitor and keyboard – a PC toolkit would also be useful.
- Operating System (OS)
- Rig Frame for 13 graphics cards with Pre-Installed Fans
- Central Processing Unit (CPU) 1151 Socket
- SSD Hard Drive
- Power Supply Unit (PSU) 1500w x 2
- 8GB DDR4 Memory
- USB Flash Drive for Windows Installer
- Ethernet Network Cable
- 5 x NVIDIA Graphics Cards
- 8 x AMD Graphics Cards
- 13 x PSI-E Riser Kits USB
- Dual Power PSU Cable
Hardware and Software – Our Recommendations
So what components are we going to use for our GPU mining rig? Well, the hardware we’ve chosen is extremely capable and works well with the AS Rock motherboard. However, there are plenty of alternatives out there – if you decide to add different components, be sure to make like-for-like replacements in order to avoid compatibility issues.
The ASRock H110 Pro BTC+ is specifically designed for GPU crypto mining rigs. It features an LGA 1151 socket (important for our choice of CPU), is reasonably priced and of course supports up to 13 graphics cards.
Although our motherboard can handle 13 GPUs, Windows 10 limits the number of NVIDIA GPUs which can be used with its OS. To get around this, we’ll use five NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1070 cards and eight AMD RX Vega 56 cards. The Geforce 1070 has some pedigree when it comes to mining and draws just 150watts.
The AMD RX Vega 56 graphics cards will be used in concert with the GeForce GTX 1070. Like the GeForce 1070, the RX Vega offers considerable processing power without being a power hog. It too draws just 150w from the wall.
Buy the AMD+RX+Vega+56
There’s really no need to break the bank when it comes to the CPU. Obviously they’re important, but it’s the GPUs which will be doing most of the work. We’ve chosen the Intel Pentium G4400 3.3 GHz Dual-Core Processor. It offers more than enough power and is a good match for our ASRock H110 motherboard.
Buy the Intel Pentium G4400 Processor
We’re going to need some sort of operating system (OS) to run the mining software. Our motherboard manufacturers, ASRock, recommend using Windows 10 64 Bit, so this is what we’ll go with. While it may be possible to use a different version of Windows, why take the risk?
Buy Windows 10 64-bit
We don’t have to spend much on the boot drive for our OS because speed and storage capacity aren’t that important to us. A basic solid state drive (SSD) such as the Samsung 860 EVO, will easily meet our requirements, but there are plenty of alternatives out there.
Buy the Samsung 860 EVO SSD
A minimum 2400w is needed to power our rig so we’ll use two 1500w PSUs. We also need a lot of connectors for our graphics cards, which is why we’ve picked the Corsair 1500i. It’s modular which means that its connectors are separate – very useful when connecting multiple peripherals.
Buy the Corsair AX1500i Power Supply Unit
Our ASRock H110M-HDV Motherboard uses 4GB and 8GB DDR4 memory modules. So in order to run our OS smoothly (Windows 10) we recommend purchasing either a single 8GB module or two 4GB versions. Although we’ve selected Corsair memory modules, any kind of DDR4 memory should suffice.
Buy DDR4 Memory Module
A 8GB USB flash drive will be used to store the installation media, so that we can put Windows 10 on the SSD boot drive. A SanDisk USB flash drive is more than adequate but feel free to choose your own version – there are plenty of options out there.
Buy the SanDisk Cruzer Blade 8GB USB Flash Drive
An internet connection is required to download the latest drivers and updates for our GPUs, motherboard and OS. For ease of use we’ll use an ethernet cable although a Wi-Fi dongle would also be sufficient.
Buy the Ugreen Ethernet Cable
It’s obviously not going to be possible to install 13 graphics cards directly on to our motherboard. Instead, we use riser cards. These are small circuit boards with PSI slots that extend the functionality of the actual slots on the motherboard. For stable signal transfer, we strongly recommend using USB risers.
Buy the Marktol PCI-E Riser Adapter Card
You’re going to need a dual power adapter for the two PSUs so that they start up at the same time. These can be picked up for less than £5, as is the case with the version we’ve chosen.
Buy the Pro 24-Pin Dual PSU Cable
For the mining rig to receive proper ventilation, we recommend purchasing a stackable open-air frame with pre-installed fans. The frame we’ve chosen features both and is able to accommodate up 12 GPUs (there’s room for 13 as well). It also includes built-in fans which will help regulate heat.
Buy LAWOHO Open Air Mining Rig
This concludes Part 1 of our mining rig guide. In part 2, we’ll take you through the gpu mining installation process, step-by-step.
Part 2 – Step-by-Step Installation Guide Coming Soon! >>