Sep 1, 2017

What Hardware Do I Buy to Start Mining?



GPU mining requires at least the following hardware:
  • A motherboard
  • A CPU
  • RAM
  • A hard drive
  • A power supply
  • An operating system
  • Graphics card(s)
Optional additional hardware:
  • Risers
  • A case / open-air build
  • mouse / keyboard / monitor
  • PC power reset switch
  • Motherboard Standoffs
  • A Wifi USB adapter
  • Case fans
  • Remote AC power outlet

Check Newegg, Microcenter, eBay, etc as well. Also check out /r/buildapcsales/ for deals.)



Recommended Motherboards

Mobo cost is a major consideration here. As is # of PCIE slots. Your GPU's can mine in any PCIE slot (x1, x4, x16, etc). Most mobo M.2 slots are also compatible to GPU mine with, but are more finicky. 

Aside from graphics cards, this will be your biggest decision:

Brand Model PCIE slots Video output CPU socket RAM compatibility Link
ASRock H110 Pro BTC+ 13 DVI/HDMI 1151 DDR4 Here
ASUS B250 Mining Expert 19 HDMI 1151 DDR4 Here
Gigabyte GA-B250-Fintech 12 DVI/VGA 1151 DDR4 ✪ New
Biostar TB250-BTC D+ Mining 8 HDMI 1151 SO-DIMM DDR4 ✪ New
ASUS Prime Z270-P 6 + 2 M.2 DVI/HDMI 1151 DDR4 Here
ASUS ROG Strix B250H Gaming 6 + 2 M.2 DVI/HDMI 1151 DDR4 Here
ASUS Prime B250-Plus 4 + 2 M.2 DVI/HDMI/VGA 1151 DDR4 Here
MSI Z170A Gaming Pro Carbon 7 + 1 M.2 DVI/HDMI 1151 DDR4 Here
MSI Z270 Gaming M7 6 + 2 M.2 HDMI 1151 DDR4 Here
ASUS Prime Z270-A 7 + 2 M.2 Display Port/DVI/HDMI 1151 DDR4 Here
MSI Z170A SLI Plus 6 + 1 M.2 DVI/HDMI/VGA 1151 DDR4 Here
Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 6 none AM3 DDR3 Here
Biostar TB85 6 DVI/VGA 1150 DDR3 Here
Biostar TB250-BTC 6 DVI 1151 DDR4 Here
Biostar TB350-BTC 6 DVI AM4 DDR4 Here
ASRock H81 Pro BTC 6 HDMI 1150 DDR3 Here


Recommended CPU's

Pick a CPU that is compatible with the mobo you've selected from above. Intel is preferred here from both price-to-performance ratio and power consumption/heat.

Brand Model CPU socket Link
Intel Celeron G1840 1150 Here
Intel Core I3-4170 1150 Here
Intel Celeron G3900 1151 Here
Intel Pentium G4400 1151 Here
Intel Core I3-7100 1151 Here
AMD A6-9500 AM4 Here
AMD A8-9600 AM4 Here
AMD X4-950 AM4 Here


Recommended RAM

This is easy. Grab minimum 4GB of cheap RAM. Going with 2 x 2GB or 8GB won't hurt. If building a rig with multiple Vega cards and/or more than 8 GPU's, get 8GB RAM.

Brand Size Type Link
Ballistix 4GB DDR4 Here
Kingston 4GB DDR4 Here
Patriot 4GB DDR3 Here
Kingston 4GB DDR3 Here
Crucial 8GB DDR4 Here
Corsair 8GB DDR4 Here


Recommended Hard Drives

Another fairly easy decision here. A solid state drive (SSD) is preferred, and you are more than fine with 120GB capacity. For 3 to 4 cards or less on Windows, you can get by with a 60GB SSD. If building a rig with multiple Vega cards, get at least 250GB capacity.

Brand Model Size Link
Samsung 750 EVO 120GB Here
Samsung 850 EVO 120GB Here
Samsung 850 EVO 250GB Here
Sandisk SSD Plus 120GB Here
PNY CS1311 120GB Here
Corsair Force LS 60GB Here


Recommended Power Supplies

General rule of thumb when predicting total power supply needed is to take your GPU power consumptions per whattomine.com then add 100-150W to that number for all other components (CPU, fans, etc). So 6 x 750ti is about 500W, 6 x 480's is about 1000W, 6 x 1080ti is about 1300W. Since your PSU will be running ideally 24/7, employ the 80% rule - don't run your PSU at more than roughly 80% of its max capacity.

Efficiency here is key as well - get a PSU rated Gold or better (Gold/Platinum/Titanium). Modular PSU's are preferred, as well as ones with as many VGA ports as possible.

EVGA G2's are often considered the mining standard.

Update to say I've done a ton of work to put together this:

Brand Model Modular Capacity VGA ports Rating Link
EVGA Supernova 550 G2 Fully 550W 2 Gold Here
EVGA Supernova 850 G2 Fully 850W 4 Gold Here
EVGA Supernova 1600 G2 Fully 1600W 9 Gold Here
EVGA Supernova 1000 G3 Fully 1000W 5 Gold Here
Corsair HX750i Fully 750W 5 Platinum Here
Corsair HX1200i Fully 1200W 6 Platinum Here
Seasonic SSR-750TD Fully 750W 6 Titanium Here

Above PSU's are but a few from a long list of good PSU's. Do yourself a favor and check out my complete list of PSU recommendations.

You can utilize multiple PSU's with an adapter like this (recommended) or hardware like Add2PSU or make your own connector.

Link to much more information on cabling, wiring setup diagram, maximum wattage, etc.


Operating System

Lots to consider here. Windows 10 Pro, EthOS, SimpleMining OS, Linux/Ubuntu.



Recommended Graphics Cards

The meat of mining. And the most expensive part, of course. This decision is entirely based on the user and the preferred coins to mine. Current popular cards are the AMD 480, 580 and Vega, and the Nvidia 10-series (1060, 1070, 1070ti, 1080, 1080ti). All 3rd party manufacturers (ASUS, EVGA, MSI, etc.) produce roughly the same hashrates, so your main consideration here is typically cost. Heat dissipation is worth considering for many rigs - more fans on the card means better heat dissipation, and quieter rigs. A smaller card form factor (like a 1070 mini) can be placed into smaller rigs but has worse heat dissipation. Considering card blower style - aftermarket cards typically run quieter and cooler than "reference" cards, but are also typically larger.

Carefully note how many power connectors are required for the card you choose. More power connectors are generally not preferred and lead to cable headaches - opt for something with a single 8-pin connection over 8-pin + 6-pin or even 2 x 8-pin power requirements when possible. 

Cards go in and out of stock all the time, so it is important to shop around different vendors and keep your eyes peeled for deals!

(EVGA has by far the best warranty support of any manufacturer; XFX brand cards are not recommended)
Make Model Mfg Memory Form Fans Blower Style Link
AMD 480 Sapphire 4GB regular 2 aftermarket Here
AMD 480 Sapphire 8GB regular 1 reference Here
AMD 580 MSI 4GB regular 2 aftermarket Here
AMD 580 MSI 8GB regular 2 aftermarket Here
AMD 580 ASUS 8GB regular 3 aftermarket Here
AMD VEGA 56 Gigabyte 8GB regular 1 reference Here
AMD VEGA 56 Sapphire 8GB regular 1 reference Here
Nvidia 1060 EVGA 3GB mini 1 aftermarket Here
Nvidia 1060 EVGA 6GB regular 2 reference Here
Nvidia 1060 MSI 6GB mini 1 aftermarket Here
Nvidia 1070 ASUS 8GB regular 3 aftermarket Here
Nvidia 1070 PNY 8GB regular 1 reference Here
Nvidia 1070ti EVGA 8GB regular 2 aftermarket Here
Nvidia 1070ti Zotac 8GB mini 2 aftermarket Here
Nvidia 1080 EVGA 8GB regular 2 aftermarket Here
Nvidia 1080ti EVGA 11GB regular 1 aftermarket Here
Detailed card comparison and ratings:
Top hash power: Nvidia GTX 1080TI | Top energy efficient: Nvidia GTX 1070TI | Fastest ROI: AMD RX 570


Recommended Risers

Rigs with more than 2-3 cards nearly always must have powered risers, one per card.
You have three best options here, simply depending on how many PSU connectors you have available:

V008S capable of being powered by 6-pin, molex, or SATA connector Ubit's V008S with LED MintCell powered by molex connector

Don't use SATA risers. Throw away the SATA adapter cables that all risers come with!!


Note: Using a single 16x ribbon cable and the rest as 1x risers often helps with stability.


Cases

The choice is yours. A typical computer case even for smaller rigs is not recommended due to poor air flow. A 4U server case or open air rig is preferred especially for larger builds. If purchasing a case, ensure the case and your motherboard have compatible form factors (ATX/mini-ATX/CEB, etc). When looking for open air frames, consider building your own.
Style Material Capacity Stackable Link
Server Case aluminum 6 GPU yes Here
Server Case aluminum 6 GPU yes Here
Open Air aluminum 6 GPU yes Here
Open Air aluminum & acrylic 6 GPU yes Here
Open Air steel 8 GPU no Here
Open Air aluminum 8 GPU yes Here
Open Air aluminum 14 GPU yes Here


PC Power/Reset Switch

Turns the computer on/off/resets. A computer case typically comes with this, but if you are building an open air rig you'll need something like this or this.



Motherboard Standoffs

Standoffs aren't required by any means, but they protect your motherboard from damage and improve heat dissipation - Here.



Wifi Adapter

The choice is entirely yours. A direct ethernet connection is preferred, but not always possible. A cheap USB dongle like this one is sufficient.



Case Fans

Loud but mighty - case fans push the heat away from your GPU's. Open air rigs often don't need them, but case builds usually do. Fans come in various sizes and strengths. Choose the right size (80mm, 120mm, etc) as appropriate.

The Arctic F12 is recommended as it's not too loud, but plenty strong. Noctua fans are good middle of the road, between Arctics and Deltas. The Delta 23 is recommended for builds where sound isn't an issue - it is loud but very powerful.


Remote AC Power Outlets aka Smart Plugs

Bottom of the Nice-But-Not-Required build list is a way to remotely power cycle your rig.
  • The Wemo Insight is preferred because it can function with IFTTT support and monitors watt usage.
  • Alternatively, the Etekcity Smart Plugs do not work with IFTTT but are much cheaper.
  • A Kill-a-Watt is useful for monitoring wattage use, but doesn't have remote power cycling capabilities.
Note: Smart plugs are typically rated for no more than 1200-1500W total power.