- Ethereum Mining
- The What And The Why Of Crypto Mining
- How An Ethereum Mining Rig Differs From An Ordinary Computer
- The Best GPUs
- The Best GPU Cases
- The Best Motherboards
- The Best Power Supplies
Building an Ethereum mining rig is like growing money on your own privately owned tree. Once the rig is ready, your mining will compete against thousands of rigs of other miners to win the hash and, hopefully, create wealth in the digital currency of, in this case, Ethereum. All this while you sit back and reap the rewards. The process bears a level of tech-savviness, but ultimately anyone can learn how to build their rigs. That paradigm is the beauty of cryptocurrency and the community at large. Even with Ethereum prices currently down from all-time highs, it’s important to remember that mining difficulty adjusts. Even today, mining Ethereum is profitable if you see yourself as a long-term hodler.
This guide will show you step-by-step instructions on building your own Ethereum mining rig in 2022 and how to start earning passive income in this new age.
What is Mining? Why Does Ethereum Need to be Mined?
Mining is the metaphorical glue that holds Ethereum’s decentralized applications together by ensuring that it comes to a consensus on each change to any applications running on the network. Essentially, mining helps verify and validate transactions within Ethereum’s network. In other words, mining is the process of creating a block of transactions to be added to Ethereum’s blockchain. Ethereum, like Bitcoin, currently uses a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism. Mining is the lifeblood of proof-of-work. Ethereum miners – computers running software – use their time and computation power to process transactions and produce blocks.
So, for all that, what do miners get?
Simple – Ethereum, which presently is hovering around $4,000. That sounds great, but money, unfortunately, doesn’t just grow on trees. Forgive the ongoing metaphor, but you need water to keep the tree alive and produce fruit. In the case of mining, the fruit is Ethereum, and the water is electricity. The cost varies from buying the hardware necessary to build and maintain a mining rig to the electrical cost of powering the mining rig. Suppose you are mining in a pool that typically charges a flat % fee for each block generated by the pool. You also need to be aware of the potential cost of equipment to support the mining rig like ventilation, space, energy monitoring software, electrical wiring, etc. As the mining requires a higher hash rate, you need to purchase a better GPU or ASICs mining rig, which may cost you over $2000.
Here is a helpful mining calculator that displays your expected earnings in Ether and Dollars. The calculations are based on the assumption that all conditions (difficulty and prices) remain below and do not consider the uncle block rewards. Any electricity cost below $0.12 kW/h is profitable, and prices below $0.06 make it truly viable. Many developed countries have electricity prices over $0.20. In such countries, home mining Ethereum may take a long time to see profits.
So, why does everyone continue to mine in the face of all that? Doesn’t it become unprofitable? Yes and no.
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Yes, mining Ethereum can be unprofitable depending on your timeline. With the proper setup, it can earn about 0.348 ETH/month, which is roughly $1,522. Obviously, with price fluctuations, this average monthly cost will change. A single Nvidia RTX 3080, costing around $700, can generate roughly $6.10 worth of Ethereum per day. Add in the difficulty of competing miners that see spikes resulting in the number of Ether coins diminishing. Your reward may counteract the cost of electricity and cooling. Though mining has started to be unprofitable, people tend to stop mining or move to another coin. Once that happens, difficulty drops down, and Ethereum becomes profitable again to mine.
Another reason why people continue mining even when it’s unprofitable to mine Ethereum is because of their belief that Ethereum will be worth much more in the future. Even though ETH is worth around $4000-$4500 now in 2022, in 2-3 years, they might be worth $10,000-$12,000. So even if mining now is unprofitable, the coins will rise in value as time goes on. Here is another mining calculator that lets you input the number of each GPU you have, your electricity costs, and the coins you want to consider mining. Mining Ethereum is still profitable if your electricity cost is around $0.15 and your GPU has a decent hash rate. Think GTX 1070 or better. Overall, though the price may see you in the red at first, the end game profit is almost a given, considering the amount of adoption we see around the globe.
How Is An Ethereum Mining Rig Different From A Normal Computer?
It looks incredible, right? A mining rig comprises the same components as a standard desktop computer. Considering the amount of computing power needed to mine ETH at a profitable speed, there are some differences. In a regular desktop computer, you kind of have a good balance between CPU, RAM, GPU, and HD. With gaming computers, you have higher clocked versions of CPU, loads of RAM, one or two GPUs, and SDDs. The more action, the more the rig will need under the hood.
The key component for mining Ethereum is a graphics card with over four GB of video memory (VRAM). Ethereum mining is very VRAM intensive, and you essentially can’t mine with less than five GB of VRAM anymore. This is one of the ways the Ethereum network stays resistant to centralized mining, which is the point of it all! The most important factor of any GPU for crypto mining is efficiency. You want a high hash rate for as little electricity as possible. Take the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti with a hash rate of 60MH/s, VRAM of 8GB GDDR6, thermal design power (TDP) of 200W, and a power input of 1x 12-pin PCIe. With how the markets swing and your level of comfort regarding risk/reward, buying the cheapest GPU for crypto mining that may not be the fastest but still yields ETH may be the right move, however conservative.
So, before you make your purchases and start mining, ask yourself some questions. Just like when you’re investing, it’s good to DYOR.
Do you want to pay more upfront now and potentially earn higher returns? Or do you feel the mining scene will dissipate slightly with lower returns and wish to spend only a tiny amount on a GPU to make a little extra on the side?
If you believe cryptocurrency is the future, mining makes sense.
Picking The Parts For An Ethereum Mining Rig
Graphic Cards (GPUs) for Mining
When it comes to picking GPUs, you want the select the best bang for the buck. You’re looking for something with a high hash rate, low cost, and low power usage. You can start with as little as 1 GPU or as many as 8 GPUs within one rig. It all depends on what you are willing to invest and your profit margins.
For mining, the best balance for each GPU is to have a high hash rate (the speed at which it can mine) with low power consumption.
Below are some of the best GPUs for mining Ethereum on the market right now.
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti — Best overall: 60MH/s, 200W TDP, 8GB GDDR6 VRAM, $399 MSRP.
- AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT — Runner-up: 54MH/s, 225W TDP, 8GB GDDR6 VRAM, $399 MSRP.
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 — Best value: 36MH/s, 225W TDP, 8GB GDDR6 VRAM, $499 MSRP.
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 — Best performance: 121MH/s, 350W TDP, 24GB GDDR6X VRAM, $1,499 MSRP.
- AMD Radeon RX 580 — Best budget AMD: 28MH/s, 185W TDP, 8GB GDDR5 VRAM, $229 MSRP.
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER — Best budget NVIDIA: 26MH/s, 125W TDP, 6GB GDDR6 VRAM, $229 MSRP.
You can choose to build your mining rig with a nice custom case, or you can save money by opting for a plastic storage crate or milk crate. Both work just as well. The only difference is the case is sleeker. You’re saving money on aesthetics here, so if you’re not one to show off, good on you.
If you want something cool and professional-looking, take a look at these. Buying a professionally-made mining frame has many benefits for your cryptocurrency mining business. They let you efficiently organize all of your graphics cards and mining rig components and make the whole process of building a mining rig a breeze. By purchasing a factory-made mining rig, you’ll also achieve a much better airflow and cooling of your components, as most of them allow you to install additional cooling fans. They ensure that your GPUs are adequately separated from one another.
The best cases for mining make room for plenty of GPUs, risers cables and provide adequate cooling with minimal noise.
The standard power supply in a desktop computer can be anywhere from 300W-500W. But when you’re mining and powering up to 6-8 GPUs, you want to make sure you have enough power. 1200W – 2000W is what you should be aiming for. Mining requires a lot of computing power, usually provided by multiple graphics cards that work in tandem.
Besides just wattage, you want to make sure you arm yourself with the most efficient power supply as well. Gold, Platinum, or Titanium are the best for efficiency and, in the long run, will pay the difference in cost based on the savings in electricity.
- Corsair AX1600i – One of the most potent consumer desktop power supplies on the market.
- Corsair HX1200i – Great for a small crypto-mining rig.
- EVGA SuperNova 1000G+ – More affordable than the ones with higher efficiencies and higher wattages, but it does not compromise on the quality and the reliability of internal components
Or another option is to use dual power supplies with less wattage and combine them with an adapter cable like this Thermaltake Cable.
Motherboard + CPU Combination
You want to maximize the number of GPUs your motherboard will support for mining. Most motherboards inside computers can handle 1 or 2 GPUs, and you want to use ones that support up to 6, 7 in some cases up to 18! These are usually hard to find in stores, so getting them online will be your best bet. As for CPU, you just want something basic such as the Celerons or whatever will support your motherboard and GPU mining.
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- Asus B250 Mining Expert – The world’s first 19 GPU mining motherboard – Form factor: ATXGPU Support: 19Processors supported: 7th and 6th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron (Socket 1151)Slots: 1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16, 18 x PCI Express 2.0 x1, 2 x DDR4 DIMM
- ASRock H110 Pro BTC+ – Support for 13 graphics cards – Form factor: ATXGPU Support: 13Processors supported: 7th and 6th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron (Socket 1151)Slots: 1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16, 12 x PCI Express 2.0 x1, 2 x DDR4 DIMM
- ASUS Prime Z390-P LGA1151 – The budget mining motherboard – Form factor: ATXGPU Support: 2Processors supported: 8th/9th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Intel Pentium/ Intel Celeron (LGA1151 socket)Slots: 2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16, 4 x PCI Express 3.0 x1, 2 x DDR4 DIMM
- Biostar TB250-BTC Pro – A fantastic price for a fantastic mining motherboard – Form factor: ATXGPU Support: 12Processors supported: 7th/6th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Intel Pentium/ Intel Celeron (LGA1151 socket)Slots: 1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16, 11 x PCI Express 2.0 x1, 2 x DDR4 DIMM
- MSI Z170A Gaming Pro Carbon – A gaming and mining motherboard – Form factor: ATXGPU Support: 7Processors supported: 7th/6th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Intel Pentium/ Intel Celeron (LGA1151 socket)Slots: 3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16, 4 x PCI Express 2.0 x1, 4 x DDR4 DIMM
Higher RAM does not mean that you get a better mining performance, so we recommend using anywhere between 8GB and 16GB of RAM. When deciding what size RAM best suits your needs, look at the operating system for the mining and whether or not virtual memory is used. If you use ethOS, you can comfortably use 4GB RAM, but if you use Windows without virtual memory, you should be using at least 8GB RAM. You can use RAM from any significant supplier, but it is always good practice to ensure it is compatible with your motherboard.
Powered Riser Cables
To mount the GPUs within the crate or case, you’ll need riser PCI cables to extend the PCI-e connection from the motherboard. Get as many PCIE Express 1X to 16X Powered Riser Cables as you can to match the number of GPUs you have. And there are other variants, like these.
SSD Hard Drive
You don’t need to buy an SSD with vast amounts of storage, which means it’s not too difficult to keep the prices low. We recommend an SSD for mining with a minimum capacity of 500GB for Windows installs or Linux.
You’ll need a primary Monitor and Mouse/Keyboard combo to configure all the software and mining settings. Also, don’t forget about a Kill A Watt usage monitor.
You’ll need at least one box fan per rig to ensure the GPUs do not overheat. Overheating could lead to your rig malfunctioning or even breaking altogether to make sure to keep everything cool. You don’t want all that hard work and expenses to go to waste!
If you’re into Linux, Eth OS is a 64-bit Linux OS that mines Ethereum, Zcash, Monero, and other GPU-minable coins. If you’re a windows guy, here is Windows 10. If you’re going to be using Windows, you’ll need mining software.
(Bonus) Gaming Computers
In case you are having a hard time finding individual GPUs and/or you are not the savviest builder of computers, you may want to consider fully built gaming computers that you can use to mine also.
- Alienware Aurora R11 Gaming Desktop – Best Performance for Cost – CPU: Intel i7-10700KFGraphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB GDDR6RAM: 16GB DDR4 XMPStorage: 512GB SSD + 1TB SATA HDD
- MSI MPG Trident AS 10SC-1208US SFF Gaming Desktop – A Great Mining PC for Mining 24/7 – CPU: Intel Core i7-10700FGraphics: GeForce RTX 2060 SuperRAM: 16GBStorage: 1TB SSD
Build an Ethereum Mining Rig Step-by-Step
Ok, so now that you have all the parts, how do you put it all together? If you’ve built your desktop computer before, this will be easy. If not, then take a look at this awesome video on YouTube that shows you how to put it all together step by step.
You’ll Need an Ethereum Wallet
Potential miners should be looking at two types of wallets – hot wallets and cold wallets. They all depend on you, the miner, and your level of risk management and ease with which you are trying to handle your coins.
Hot wallets are connected to the internet and are usually installed into our devices such as a computer or phone, exchange wallets are also included in this category.
Cold wallets are precisely the opposite of the ones mentioned above; these are not connected to the internet at all and don’t need to interact with any website or device.
Pros of Hot wallets: easy to make transactions from anywhere globally; easy to check the balance; accessible from any device or website.
Cons of Hot wallets: easy to lose access to because of wrong passwords or forgotten phrases; easily exposed to hackers and other users of the devices they are installed on; if the device is stolen or damaged, there are rarely any backups saved by the users.
Pros of Cold wallets: perfect to store coins in a safe place and no need to carry them around you; the wallet is owned by you, and only you know the keys and passphrase.
Cons of Cold wallets: hard to make quick transactions; setup can be complicated for most beginners.
We suggest getting a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano. It is immune to malware and nearly impossible to hack.
The screens also provide extra security by verifying and displaying important wallet details. The hardware wallet also supports comprehensive support of coins (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Zcash, Dash, Stratis) and, most notably, an attractive price tag for new miners.
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What Kind Of Miner Are You?
Now that you have all the information you need to start mining Ethereum, the sky limits what type and how many rigs you have. Do you want to stick to being a beginner, or do you want to become a farmer? 🙂 Building mining rigs are computer nerd’s version of building a car. It is incredibly satisfying and, as we know, rewarding. Ensure that wherever you plan on running the mining rig has enough airflow. GPUs running at 100% 24/7 generate a ton of heat!
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