In a time of global crisis, pandemic, and a generally unstable political and social environment, cryptocurrencies have shown remarkable stability. Additionally, the economic downturn caused by the pandemic played into the hands of the industry by not only attracting professional cryptocurrency traders, but also revitalizing mining to generate passive income.
It is not surprising that countries with difficult political and economic situations have seen a boom in GPU card purchases in recent months. In the Abkhazia region, where all crypto activity has been illegal since 2018, citizens spent more than $ 500,000 on mining equipment over a six-month period.
Another factor that has contributed to the further popularization of mining is the strong crypto prices. Bitcoin (BTC) is up nearly a third, while Ether (ETH), the most popular currency for mining, has increased its price by $ 150 and the decentralized frenzy has caused gas charges to hit unprecedented levels.
Here’s how to design a cryptocurrency rig – and investigate whether it even needs to be done, given all the risks involved.
Components for mining equipment
A cryptocurrency mining rig consists of a computer with lots of graphics cards but no monitor. Computer cases are filled with GPU cards, a power generation unit, a motherboard, and a cooling system. When a monitor is plugged in, it can become a regular computer on which a user can open a browser or play their favorite video game.
The rig is connected to the internet and thus the blockchain network. The network works independently to carry out financial transactions with the power of the graphics cards. More precisely, a mining device consists of:
- An ordinary motherboard that can be connected to a number of connectors for GPU cards.
- A hard drive or hard drive with 100 to 250 gigabytes of storage for the cryptocurrency wallet, with an Ether wallet typically requiring 25 GB and a BTC wallet 50 GB or more.
- Multiple GPU cards that are the most important components in a rig as they are the base that defines the cryptocurrency a user will mine, along with their future profit and timeline.
- A power generation unit. A rig with four GPUs often requires more than one power supply. Usually miners would have some 750 watt units linked together.
- A power supply for GPU cards. Graphics cards are connected to the motherboard via special expansion cards, so-called “risers”. There are many different types and models of risers, but the PCI-E 1x version 006 is the most popular.
- A power switch.
- A cooling system, and it is preferable to have multiple coolers to provide additional airflow.
Another important detail is the frame for the rig. It is better to make a frame out of wood or aluminum. The size of the mining rig is slightly larger than its frame due to protruding parts, adapters and a cooling system. For example, a rig with seven GPUs is approximately 53 cm wide, 30 cm deep, and 30 cm high.
After you’ve bought all of the components in the rig, it’s time to design it. This is a fairly straightforward task for a person who is experienced with computer hardware. There are also numerous instructions on YouTube.
When a rig is ready, all that needs to be done is to install software – i. H. Select a program to mine your preferred currency. Another option is to find a mining pool, which is a popular way to go because the increasing complexity of crypto mining makes it harder to do it individually. There are also some tools available such as: B. TeamViewer for remote control and WatchDog, with which the system is automatically restarted if the program freezes.
GPU card on top
As a general rule, a rig should contain four to seven graphics cards – a number that is not beyond the limits of stable operation, although there are exceptions. Miners can connect 10 to 15 GPU cards to a motherboard, but seven is the optimal number since Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system can only recognize that number of cards. But there is a solution: special mining software based on the Linux kernel. In this case, you need to choose the right motherboard, e.g. B. an ASRock Pro BTC + series or similar.
Deciding which GPU cards are best for mining is not that easy, as the answer only depends on the amount of money the miner has. In general, it makes little sense to buy the most expensive and best performing GPUs for the price of two to three slightly weaker ones, as the cheaper ones are more likely to provide more benefit due to their low power consumption and initial cost.
The highest income in mining is currently being made with Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and AMD Radeon VII cards. It is more profitable to build a mining farm with AMD Radeon RX 580 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super cards, however, as these will pay off much faster.
Connected: The best crypto mining graphics cards for your buck
It should also be noted that AMD RX series GPU cards can be flashed by changing the RAM working time, powering down the core, and overclocking. Programs such as MSI Afterburner and Sapphire TriXX can aid in these manipulations, whereby GPU cards achieve maximum performance during the mining process.
Electricity in question
In over 10 years the mining industry has transformed from something incomprehensible and cheap to a professional high-tech company that has high barriers to entry not only for equipment but also for its maintenance.
After purchasing mining equipment, paying electricity bills while it is in operation becomes one of the main expenses that directly affects profitability. The energy consumption of a mining device consists of the following components:
- GPU cards consume between 360 and 1500 watts for a rig with six to seven cards, depending on the power and mining algorithm.
- The motherboard, the power supply unit, the hard disk and the RAM consume up to 100 watts.
- The cooling system consumes between 20 watts and several kilowatts when using air conditioning.
How can a miner reduce electricity costs? The main consumers of electricity are the GPU cards, and with the right settings, it can significantly reduce power consumption during mining. For example, when mining ether, the main thing is to overclock the video memory. The most optimal operating mode for GPU cards is to set the core voltage to around 830 to 850 millivolts for AMD cards and 650 to 850 millivolts for Nvidia cards. By lowering the voltage at the core of the card, not only does it reduce power consumption, it also decreases the amount of heat, which has a beneficial effect on the device.
Power generating units can also use less electricity if they have a “Gold” certificate. This means that they save a large amount of electricity (around 15%) compared to power units that lack them. Another option is to convert hard drives to solid-state drives, which speeds up the loading of the operating system and reduces the power consumption of each rig by five to 15 watts. In addition, modern RAM (DDR4 or DDR3L instead of DDR3) and processors can reduce consumption by another 10 to 20 watts.
A miner can also reduce consumption in a slightly more complicated way, such as by finding cheaper electricity tariffs – for example, by installing oil rigs, which lower tariffs for consumers with electric stoves or electric heating and lower nightly rates. If possible, miners can even reach a power station that is producing electricity to find out if it has overcapacity. Some miners can build their own solar or wind farms and use them for mining, but not everyone can afford such an investment.
Mining in the cloud
Given the unstable economy, some may want to join the crypto mining community but cannot because of the high initial costs involved. This is where “hosted mining” comes into play, in which cryptocurrencies are mined via a remote connection to rented devices. Philip Salter, operations manager at Genesis Mining – a cloud mining provider – told Cointelegraph:
“As mining becomes more competitive, margins decrease and it is more difficult for homeworkers to compete. Miners need to get every drop of efficiency they can, and that means growing the business (economies of scale) and doing it somewhere where electricity is insanely cheap. […] Mining in the cloud seems like the only viable option for many. “
Hosted mining begins with a user choosing a compute capacity provider. Then they make agreements with the company to connect to their devices. After paying for the computer capacity, miners get access to remote mining of cryptocurrencies through rented equipment. So users only need a computer and a fast internet connection to function. Hosted mining commissions will be charged according to the agreements established between the parties.
This type of mining has a number of advantages, e.g. B. that no start-up capital is required, no equipment has to be connected by yourself, there are no costs for maintenance and electricity, that the connection can be disconnected from work at any time and no special technical knowledge and skills are required.
Cloud mining also carries risks, mostly because, like any fledgling industry, many fraudulent actors are trying to take the funds of ignorant users. When choosing a platform, users should invest time and carefully study its history and ratings.
Also, hosted mining brings a lower income compared to mining with your own equipment. However, this is a possible option for those who really want to get involved in mining, as in any case no one is giving up the possibility of passive income, even if it isn’t too significant.
Build it yourself
In summary, it can be said that mining today is an attractive way to generate some income. If hosted mining is impractical for some reason, setting up a personal rig isn’t all that difficult. This requires an initial investment and a little time to figure out how the system works.
Randy Ready, CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Mining Rig Rentals – a hardware mining rental platform – thinks building your own system is certainly more interesting, adding, “I suggest using a small rig and possibly To get bigger once you are comfortable with mining and have a stable profit. “
Disclaimer of liability. Cointelegraph does not endorse any product content on this site. We aim to provide you with all the important information we can get. However, readers should do their own research before taking any business-related action and assuming full responsibility for their decisions. Nor can this article be viewed as investment advice.