Are Crypto Mining Rigs Easy to Setup?
Cryptocurrency mining is a method of contributing to a blockchain’s network security, while being financially incentivized to strengthen the network. The first crypto ever mined was Bitcoin in 2009 and with it a whole new era of digital technology was born. Since then, many new blockchains have been developed and crypto mining has become a new worldwide phenomenon.
North America and Asia are clear leaders in mining hashrate, leaving South America and Europe in the dust. Lack of interest in crypto mining in the old continent could be partly due the constant crypto regulation tensions in the EU parlament. Therefore, if you prefer to keep your investment on the right side of the EU legislation, you may choose to skip the whole process of mining and just go for the gold. For those thinking this exact thought who are unacquainted with the process of Bitcoin acquisition, there are plenty of articles on the topic of how to buy Bitcoin in Europe?
Country regulations are very important to keep in mind, regardless of whether you are opting for buying or mining crypto. Therefore, it is always advisable to do some preliminary research and if you are sitting in a cafe in Prague, this could be as simple as typing Bitcoin in the Czech Republic in your browser. Once you have all of your facts and still choose to enter the rollercoaster of crypto mining it is time to address the next important topic – are crypto mining rigs easy to setup.
What is a Crypto Mining Rig?
The term “rig” was originally used to denote a PC customized for gaming. However, in recent years, it is also applied to computers specially built for crypto mining purposes. Mining rigs are optimized to solve complex cryptographic mathematical equations, thus resulting in a hashrate. Hashrate is a measure of a computer’s computational power used by a Proof-of-Work (POW) network to handle transactions in a blockchain.
There are four types of mining methods worth mentioning.
CPU miners use a central processing unit (CPU) to generate hashrate and CPU mining capacity ranges between 8-20 kh/s. Back in the early 2010s, you could mine Bitcoin using CPU chip mining, however, as crypto mining competition got heavier CPU mining became relatively obsolete. Today, there are only a handful of coins you may mine this way, such as Zcash, Monero and Bytecoin.
GPU Miners are what most people refer to when they talk about crypto mining rigs, which is why they are the focus of this article. They utilize a graphics processing unit (GPU) for mining, which can produce up to 160 mh/s. It is important to mention that most mining rigs are built to include 6-12 GPUs, bringing the total rig hashrate up to 1900 mh/s. Most GPU miners are currently focused on Ethereum because it offers the greatest returns due to its price. However, with its transition to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) scheduled for later this year, the miners will have to find the next best coin.
The application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miners were designed in 2012 with one sole purpose in mind, which is to mine crypto. These miners are capable of computing 100 th/s, which is the equivalent of the hashrate generated by over 100k high end GPUs. However, they are built in such a way that optimizes mining of a certain coin. Needless to say, they are expensive to buy and expensive to run, however, over the last decade, ASIC miners have taken over Bitcoin mining completely.
The field-programmable gate array (FPGA) miners’ hashrate of up to 20 gh/s lies between that of GPU and ASIC miners’. Unlike the ASICs, they are not coin specific, however, they are not easy to program.
How to Build a Mining Rig?
Mining rigs can vary in performance, efficiency, scale, size and price depending on the hardware used to build it. Buying a specialized or pre-built miner is always a pricier option than pouring your knowledge, sweat and sometimes tears into building your own.
Building a crypto mining rig is not overly difficult if you have an average knowledge of computer building. A crypto mining rig, much like any computer, needs to contain a PSU, motherboard, CPU, RAM and storage. However, when it comes to Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), things start to deviate a little from an average PC.
In order for a mining rig to be profitable, it should carry more than one GPU. However, the exact number will vary depending on several variables:
- The number of PCIE ports in the motherboard – more ports will create an opportunity to mount more GPUs, which will translate into higher hashrate. Nevertheless, typical rigs contain up to 6, even though certain motherboards can support as many as 19 GPUs.
- Space in the PC cabinet
- PSU wattage GPU limit – you may be looking into the possibility of using multiple PSUs.
- Operating system GPU limit
In order to optimize the rig, it may be a good idea to take these limitations into consideration when deciding on the components.
How to Build a Bitcoin Miner?
Building a crypto mining setup to mine Bitcoin is a futile mission because it is impossible to mine Bitcoin on a personal computer. The reason being that mining Bitcoin is now an institutional game. Firstly, there is the extremely high hashrate of ASIC farms you’d be up against, followed by the fact that your financial investment would far outweigh potential rewards.
You could obtain an ASIC device of course as they are attainable ranging from US$500 to US$15,000. However, the cost of electricity to run it would likely deny you of any profits unless you live by a power plant in Kazakhstan.
Important keynotes to keep in mind when embarking on the crypto mining journey:
- It will not be cheap to build or buy a rig.
- Mining rig setup will require some fine tuning and trial and error in order to achieve the optimal hashrate to power consumption ratio.
- Power consumption has to be factored into the initial investment as running a mining rig is not exactly equivalent to keeping a nightstand light on.
- It might be a good idea to invest into external cooling solutions, especially if you consider running several GPUs or rigs, as they tend to generate a considerable amount of heat.
Finally, answering the “are crypto mining rigs easy to setup” question will come down to your knowledge of computer building. If this is an area you are comfortable with, then it is not difficult at all. However, if this would be your first tango, you may have to put some serious time into it.
Filip Kopa has an MA in Economics and Finances. When bitcoin first appeared, he thought of it as an interesting experiment. His little investments then hit a big turnover, after which he got hooked on cryptocurrencies and a new age of finance.