Building a GPU Mining Rig: Part 2 – Installation and Setup

Welcome to Part 2 of our article on building a GPU mining. In Part 1, we looked at the components required to build our mining rig. We’ll now show you how to build a mining rig step by step, including images and illustrations where possible.

Section 1 – Installing the CPU and Memory Modules on to the Motherboard

ASRock H110 Motherboard Intel Pentium G440 CPU Corsair Vengence DDR4 Memory Module

Our opening section explains how to install the CPU and memory modules on to your mining rig motherboard. See Fig.1 for a schematic of the ASRock H110 motherboard layout.

1. Unpack the Intel Skylake processor and ASRock H110 motherboard.

2. Locate the motherboard’s CPU socket and use the metallic clasp to open the hinged socket cover.

3. Insert the CPU into the socket, ensuring that it aligns correctly. Then, gently but firmly close the cover over the processor, fastening the clasp back in place.
* NB: You shouldn’t have to worry about applying thermal paste as the vast majority of Intel processor fans are already treated with a heat-resistant compound.

4. Attach the CPU fan and heat-sink that came with the Intel processor using the four screw-holes located on the motherboard.

5. Plug the CPU fan’s power cable into the 4-pin socket (CHA_Fan1). (Fig.1)

6. Locate the 288-pin DIMM slots on your motherboard, labelled DDR4_a1 and DDR4_b1. (Fig.1)

7. Unpack your memory module. Release the fasteners located at each end of the DIMM slot. Slide the memory module into place, ensuring that its lines up properly. Once installed, clip the fasteners back in place.


Section 2 – Arranging the Motherboard, PSUs and Graphics Card Risers on the Mining Frame

ASRock H110 Motherboard Corsair 1500i PSU GPU Riser Kit USB Stackable Crypto Mining Rig

It’s important to securely attach the various mining rig components to your frame for obvious reasons. Thankfully, most good mining frames include a variety of fasteners and screws to help keep all the peripherals in place – refer to the mining rig manufacturer’s installation guide for more information.

1. Place your motherboard on the bottom shelf/allocated space of your mining frame.

2. Arrange your PSUs either side of the motherboard.

3. In the shelf/space above the motherboard and PSUs, place your 13 riser cards side by side.


Section 3 – Connecting the PSUs, Dual Power Adapter and Motherboard

Corsair 1500i PSU PSU Dual Adapter ASRock H110 Motherboard

You’re now ready to begin linking some of the components together. For the following steps, PSU1 will be the PSU located to the left of the motherboard. PSU2 will be located to the right.

1. To help power the motherboard, plug PSU1’s MOLEX cables in to the following connectors on the motherboard: PCIE_PWR1 and PCIE_PWR2. (Fig.1)

2. To power the motherboard and CPU, locate PSU1’s SATA and ATX (8-pin) cables and plug them into the following connectors: SATA_POW1 and ATX12V. (Fig.1)

3. Connect the dual power adapter’s 24-pin ATX cable to the motherboard’s ATX Power connector: ATXPWR1. (Fig.1)

4. Connect PSU1’s 24-pin ATX cable to the 24-pin ATX connector (female) on the dual power adapter.

5. Connect PSU2’s 24-pin ATX cable to the 24-pin ATX connector (female) on the dual power adapter.


Section 4 – Connecting the PSUs, GPUs and Risers to the Motherboard

ASRock H110 Motherboard Corsair 1500i PSU GPU Riser Kit USB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1970 AMD Radeon RX Vega 64

In this section, we insert the graphics cards into the risers and connect them to the PSUs.

1. Insert the graphics cards, one by one, into the risers that you’ve lined up above the motherboard and PSUs.

2. Connect PSU1’s 4-pin MOLEX connectors to the 4-pin MOLEX connectors located on each riser. (Fig.2)

3. Connect PSU1’s PCI-E eight pin power connectors to the actual graphics card. (Fig.3)

4. Do this for the first six on PSU1, then connect PSU2 using the exact same method for the final seven risers.


Section 5 – Connecting the First Graphics Card Kit (Riser and Graphics Card) to the Motherboard

ASRock H110 Motherboard GPU Riser Kit USB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1970 AMD Radeon RX Vega 64

Now it’s time to install the first graphics card kit (GPU and riser) into the PCI-e slot. We’ll only connect one to help avoid potential detection issues, before installing the OS System. Once the OS is installed, we repeat the same procedure for the remaining riser kits.

1. Insert the USB cable provided with your riser kit into its USB connector (See manufacturer installation guide).

2. Then attach the other end of the cable to the USB connector mounted on the small PCI-E adapter card (See manufacturer installation guide).

3. Now connect the small PCI-E adapter to the large PCI-E connector on the motherboard: PCIE2. (Fig.1)


Section 6 – Connecting the SSD Boot Drive to the Motherboard

ASRock H110 Motherboard Samsung EVO SSD Hard Drive

We’ll now connect the SSD Boot Drive to the motherboard so that we can install the Windows 10 operating system. See our post about downloading Windows 10 installer to a USB flash drive for further information.

1. Plug the SATA cable that came with your SSD into one of the SATA connectors on the motherboard. There are four which are located near the CPU and labelled: SATA3_0_1 and SATA3_2_3. It doesn’t matter which connector you choose. (Fig.1)

2. Take a male SATA connector that came with your power supply unit (PSU) and connect it to your SSD Drive. (See manufacturer installation guide)

3. Ensure that the SSD is secure before proceeding. Use the fasteners that game with your motherboard or the SSD unit itself.


Section 7 – Adding a Monitor, Mouse, Keyboard and Ethernet Cable to the Motherboard

ASRock H110 Motherboard Standard Mouse Standard Keyboard Standard Monitor Ugreen Ethernet Cable

Before we add the remaining 12 graphics card riser kits, we need to add a mouse, keyboard, monitor and connect an ethernet cable for internet access. The flash drive we used to download the Windows 10 installation files also needs to be plugged in.

1. Plug your mouse and keyboard into the USB ports on the motherboard. (Fig.4)

2. Plug the Ethernet cable into the LAN RJ-45 Port on the motherboard. (Fig.1)

3. Plug your monitor into the DVI1 port. (Fig.4)

4. Insert the Windows 10 USB flash drive into one of the motherboards USB ports – it doesn’t matter which. (Fig.4)


Section 8 – Powering up the Motherboard and Installing Windows 10

ASRock H110 Motherboard Windows 10 64-Bit

We start this section by powering up the motherboard. The ASRock H110 Pro BTC+ features a reset button (RSTBTN1) and power button (PWRBTN1). These are located on the edge of the motherboard, next to the 288-pin DIMM slots in which the memory module is installed. To install Windows 10, we’ll need to access the motherboard’s own operating system: UEFI.

1. Ensure the motherboard is connected to a power supply and press PWRBTN1. (Fig.5)

2. Once presented with the ASRock splash screen, press F11. This will take you to the boot menu window.

3. Scroll down to the bottom of the boot menu window and select CSM (Compatibility Support Module) to reveal its sub-menu. Then click ‘Launch Storage OpRom Policy’ and set it to UEFI Only.

4. Navigate to the Storage Configuration screen and check that the SATA mode is set to either AHCI or RAID. It should be set to AHCI by default so you can probably leave as is. Save and Exit.

5. Go back into the UEFI boot menu and find the entry for your Windows USB flash drive. It will look something like this:

UEFI: <Name of your USB drive>

NB: Do not select the entry with AHCI as its prefix. It MUST start with prefix: UEFI

6. Save and Exit. Your Windows installation should now begin – just follow the on-screen instructions and enter your Windows 10 product key when requested.

7. Once Windows 10 is installed, navigate to Device Manage to check that the OS has detected the first graphics card.

8. Download the latest Windows 10 updates and graphics card drivers.

9. Should no problems arise, shut down Windows 10 and remove the flash drive used for its installation.


Section 9 – Connecting the Remaining NVIDIA and AMD Graphics Card Riser Kits

GPU Riser Kit USB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1970 AMD Radeon RX Vega 64

You can now install the remaining 4 NVIDIA graphics cards and 8 AMD graphics cards into the PCI-e slots on the motherboard. As with the first GPUs we installed, be sure to connect the PSU to the riser AND the actual graphics card.

1. Insert the USB cable provided with your riser kit into its USB connector.

2. Then attach the other end of the cable to the USB connector mounted on the small PCI-E adapter card.

3. Now connect the small PCI-E adapter to the following connector on the motherboard: PCIE2. (Fig.1)


Section 10 – Post-Installation/Setup Tasks

Installing Mining Software

Our motherboard manufacturer, ASRock, recommends using GUIMiner for Windows 10 installations. It can be downloaded directly from their site https://guiminer.org but is limited to Bitcoin mining projects.

For a wider choice of cryptocurrencies, you’ll need to install Linux on the motherboard instead of Windows 10 and download the ethos operating system. This will enable you to mine for coins such as Ethereum, Zcash, Monero and other cryptocurrencies. We’ll soon be including a guide on installing Linux and ethOS so be sure to check back.

Windows 10 Settings

For convenience and ease of use, there are a number of non-critical settings that you might want to change in Windows 10:

Disable Automatic Login

Having to login each time Windows starts is fine for regular PC use. But when you’re mining for cryptocurrencies it’s going to be rather annoying. Here’s how you turn it off:

1. Open settings from the Windows 10 startup menu

2. Select Accounts

3. Select Sign-in Options from the left pane and click Never from the Require Sign-in list.

Disable Hibernation Mode

1. Open settings from the Windows 10 startup menu

2. Select Power and Sleep from left pane

3. In the Sleep drop-down box select Never

There are more settings in Windows 10 that can be configured to get the best out of your mining hardware. However, those are for another post!

Downloading the latest GPU Drivers

Now that Windows 10 is installed, download the latest drivers for your GPU. You’ll then need to access device manager to check if each graphics card has been detected by Windows 10.

NVIDIA Drivers – http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx

AMD Drivers – http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx

This completes our installation guide. With all going well, you should now have a better understanding of how to build a GPU mining rig, not to mention a rather powerful and sophisticated piece of kit.


Useful Links

Here’s a list of resources which should prove very helpful in your efforts to build a GPU mining rig.

ASRock H110 Pro BTC+ Motherboard

Manual/User Guide
ftp://asrock.cn/manual/BTC/H110% 20Pro%20BTC+.pdf
https://static.raru.co.za/pdf/5998015-5438-user-manual.pdf

ASRock H110 Pro BTC+ Installation/Setup Information
https://www.asrock.com/microsite/H110ProBTC+

ASRock Support FAQ
http://www.asrock.com/support/faq.asp?c=General


Intel Pentium G4400 Skylake Processor

Manual for Intel 1151 Socket Processors
https://www.intel.com/content/dam/support/us/en/documents/processors/core/Instructions-LGA-1151-1150-1155-1156.pdf


NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Graphics Card

User Guide/Manual
https://www.nvidia.com/content/geforce-gtx/GTX_1070_User_Guide.pdf


AMD RX Vega 56 Graphics Card

User Guide/Manual
https://download.gigabyte.eu/FileList/Manual/manual_amd_e_107.pdf


Samsung SSD Drive 860 Series

Installation Guide
https://www.samsung.com/us/business/support/owners/product/860-evo-series-500gb


Corsair AX1500i Series 1500W Power Supply

Manual
https://www.corsair.com/corsairmedia/sys_master/productcontent/AX1500i_Manual.pdf


Image Sources

Fig.1 sourced from:
https://static.raru.co.za/pdf/5998015-5438-user-manual.pdf

Fig.2 sourced from:
https://www.asrock.com/microsite/H110ProBTC+/

Fig.3 sourced from:
https://www.nvidia.com/content/geforce-gtx/GTX_1070_User_Guide.pdf

Fig.4 sourced from:
https://www.asrock.com/MB/Intel/H110%20Pro%20BTC+/

Fig.5 sourced from:
https://www.asrock.com/microsite/H110ProBTC+/

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