Despite the global crisis and pandemics bedeviling the world, cryptocurrencies have shown remarkable resilience and stability. More so, the covid-19 pandemic has proven to be a blessing in disguise as the economic downturn caused by the pandemic has forced many people to consider cryptocurrency, particularly cryptocurrency mining since it provides opportunities to generate passive income.
Today, it isn’t surprising to see countries experiencing unfavorable economic situations enjoying a boom in the sales of GPU cards. For example, a region like Abkhazia, where bitcoin activities have been deemed illegal since 2018, has witnessed a boom in the last couple of months. Stats show that citizens in this region have spent a whopping $500,000 on mining equipment in the last six months.
Another critical factor that has made crypto mining attractive is the skyrocketing price of digital assets. For instance, Bitcoin has appreciated by almost a third, while Ethereum, which is pretty famous for mining, has added thousands of dollars to its price in the last couple of months.
Now that we have given you a bit of background, here is how anyone can design a cryptocurrency rig. Also, we have provided some insight on whether it is a path you should take, especially considering all of the risks that come with it.
Mining rig components: What you should know
If you want to mine any cryptocurrency of your choice successfully, you need to have a crypto mining rig. And for those who have no idea about this, it will interest you to know that a crypto mining rig features a powerful computer with many robust graphics cards. The difference between the mining rig and your everyday computer is that this one doesn’t have a monitor.
Computer cases for crypto mining rigs are filled with GPU cards, a motherboard, a power generating unit, and of course, a cooling system. Connecting a monitor to this setup will convert it to a regular computer you can use to surf the internet or play your favorite games.
When fully set up, you’ll need to connect the mining rig first to the internet and then to the blockchain. The mining rig is expected to work on its own, conducting monetary transactions by leveraging the graphics card’s power. Here is a detailed breakdown to give you a better understanding of what a mining rig consists of:
- A crypto rig features a standard motherboard that is powerful enough to be linked to other connectors for GPU cards.
- It features a hard disk or HDD of between 100 to 250 gigabytes. This memory capacity is vital for housing the cryptocurrency wallet. For instance, an Ethereum wallet usually takes up 25GB of memory space, while a BTC wallet requires at least 50 GB or more.
- A crypto mining rig houses several GPU cards. Without mincing words, this is the most critical component in a mining rig, especially since it is the primary determinant of the type of digital asset a user can mine. It also plays a crucial role in determining the amount of profit you can make.
- A power generating unit is another integral component of a mining rig. Typically, a mining rig with four GPUs will require setting up more than one power unit. Most miners usually set up a few 750-watt units to power their mining rig.
- A mining rig also features a powerful adapter for GPU cards. These video cards are linked to the motherboard via special extension cards called risers. The most popular is the PCI-E 1x version 006.
- A mining rig features a power switch.
- There is a robust cooling system that provides additional airflow to keep your setup running optimally.
Another critical component of your mining rig is the frame of the rig itself. From experience, we know that it is better to build a frame out of wood or aluminum. Keep in mind that the size of the mining rig is most of the time slightly larger than the frame itself, and that’s not surprising given that the rig features adapters, protruding parts, and a cooling system. For instance, a seven GPU rig will measure 21 inches in width, 12 inches in depth, and 12 inches in height.
Once you have bought all the important components of your rig, the next thing you’ll need to do is design it. And if you have experience with computer hardware, this should be a fairly easy task. And in case you’re confused, you can turn your attention to some YouTube videos to help guide you.
Once you have successfully built your rig, the next thing is to install all the important software. By software, we mean choosing a program that can be deployed to mine the digital asset of your choice. And if that’s proving too complicated, you can simply join a mining pool, which is another very popular way to mine digital assets.
Let us also quickly add that it is becoming harder to mine cryptocurrency on an individual basis, and that’s because of the increasing complexity in digital asset mining. When building your mining rig, also keep in mind that you can leverage powerful tools like Teamviewer, which is important for remote control, and WatchDog, a brilliant tool that automatically restarts your system whenever it freezes.
Best GPU cards for mining
As a rule of thumb, one mining rig should house between four to seven video cards. Even though there are some exceptions, these number of video cards wouldn’t go beyond the frame of a stable operation. While miners can connect between 10 to 15 GPU cards to a single motherboard, seven is ideal. More so, Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system is only built to recognize this number of cards. If you’d like to take this up a notch, we recommend opting for specialized mining software based on the Linux kernel. To do this, you’ll have to opt for the correct motherboard. Something from ASRock Pro BTC+ or a similar series should get the job done.
Determining which GPU is perfect for mining isn’t as straightforward as you imagine. This is because it all depends on how much you’re willing to invest in your mining rig. To be honest with you, it doesn’t make any sense to buy the most expensive GPUs for the price of two to three slightly weaker ones. The truth is the somewhat weaker ones will deliver more benefits, especially if you factor in their low initial cost and low power consumption.
The highest income from mining is achieved via Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. Also, the powerful Radeon VII cards aren’t doing so badly. However, setting up a mining farm powered by AMD Radeon RX 580 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super cards is more profitable.
Let us also add at this point that AMD RX series GPU cards can be flashed. All you have to do is tweak the working time of the RAM, followed by downvolting the core and overclocking it. Great programs like Sapphire TriXX and MSI Afterburner can help you make these permutations. Once successfully done, your GPU cards will work at an optimum during the mining process.
Crypto mining and electricity
Within the last decade, the crypto mining industry has evolved from something incomprehensible and cheap to a high-tech, highly professional venture. Unfortunately, this industry has a high barrier to entry, caused by the cost of equipment as well as the cost of its maintenance.
After buying the mining equipment, the next thing you’re going to worry about is the cost of electricity to run the mining rig. Since this is going to be a continuous process, it is going to play a significant role in determining your profitability. Here is a breakdown of the energy consumption of one mining rig:
- Depending on the power and mining algorithm, your GPU cards should consume between 360 to 1500 watts, especially if you have a mining rig with six to seven cards.
- The motherboard, hard drive, power unit, and RAM will consume nearly 100 watts.
- The cooling system will use between 20 watts. When using an air condition system, which is a must, by the way, you’ll use up to several kilowatts of electricity.
Now, we are sure you’ll be asking how you can reduce the cost of electricity? Well, we have some tips that should help. Here is the catch, the main consumers of electricity are obviously the GPU cards. Thankfully, with a little tweaking, you can reduce electricity consumption during the mining process significantly. For instance, when mining Ethereum, a good thing to do is to overclock the video memory.
For an optimal operating mode for your GPU cards, it’s best to set the core voltage to between 830 and 850 millivolts, if you’re using AMD cards. For Nvidia cards, you can tweak the core voltage to between 650 and 850 millivolts.
In addition to reducing the power consumption, lowering the voltage on the core of the card will help decrease the amount of heat, which does a lot of good to your equipment.
Another way to cut down electricity costs for your mining operation is to opt for power generating units with a gold certificate. Power generating units with this certification saves nearly 15 percent on electricity as compared to power units that don’t have the gold certification. Another brilliant way is to change your HDDs to SSD. The cool thing about doing this is that it will increase the speed of loading and cut down the power consumption of each rig by 5 to 15 watts. Let us also add that newer RAMs such as DDR4 and DDR3L and processors can drastically reduce power consumption by a whopping 20 watts.
If you’re interested in more options for reducing electricity costs, it will interest you to know that you can do that by finding more economical electricity tariffs. For instance, you can set up your mining rigs in a location where there are reduced tariffs for consumers using electric stoves or electric heating. Also, you can reach out to a power plant generating electricity and ask them if they have surplus capacity.
And if you want to take things up a notch, you can build your own solar or wind farms to generate electricity for your mining operation. While this may sound pretty expensive when you factor in the initial cost, at the end of the day, it will prove to be a cheaper option.
Crypto cloud mining
The unstable economy coupled with the high initial cost associated with mining has prevented many people from exploring the crypto mining industry. That said, hosted mining is providing opportunities for people to explore digital asset mining. This type of operation allows people to mine cryptocurrency via a remote connection and equipment rented out. Here is what Philip Salter, the head of operations at Genesis mining had to say about cloud mining:
“Since mining is becoming more competitive, margins are shrinking and it’s harder for home miners to compete. Miners need to get every drop of efficiency they can, and that means growing the operation (economies of scale) and doing it somewhere where electricity is insanely cheap. […] Mining in the cloud seems like the only viable option for many.”
With hosted mining, a user only has to choose a provider of computational capacity. Once that’s done, they can come to an arrangement that involves connecting to the company’s mining equipment for a fee. After paying the agreed fees, miners get seamless access to the remote mining equipment. What this simply means is that users only need to have a computer and a robust internet connection. Keep in mind that hosted mining commissions are typically charged in line with the agreements signed by both parties.
And yes, hosted mining has a couple of benefits. For instance, you do not require an insane start-up capital to kick off cloud mining. Also, you won’t need to connect to the equipment directly, as everything can be done remotely. More so, you won’t have to worry about the cost of maintenance or electricity as the cloud mining company handles this aspect. Then there is the ability to disconnect from work at any time, as well as not needing special technical knowledge or skill to leverage this mining option.
Unfortunately, cloud mining also has many disadvantages. And that’s because like every new industry, there are always malicious actors looking to swindle users of their hard-earned money. To this end, you must do your due diligence before choosing a cloud mining platform. A good place to start is to look at reviews and history.
Another thing we would like to point out is that hosted mining doesn’t bring in as much money as you’d make when using your own mining rig. Nevertheless, this option is great for people looking to explore crypto mining without digging too deep into their savings.
Build it yourself
In a nutshell, we are sure you’ll agree after reading today’s post that mining is becoming an attractive option for earning passive income. If for any reason you find setting up a hosted mining challenging or you’d prefer something that delivers more returns, then you should go-ahead to set up your own mining rig. That said, going this route will require an initial investment and extra time to understand how the system operates.