Welcome All to the GPUMining Crash Course!
With the increase in prices in cryptocurrency, a lot of people are getting back into mining and a lot of people are brand new to the concept overall. So, I quickly wrote this crash course to help you understand what to expect and how to successfully mine your first cryptocurrency. This crash course isn't gonna have all of the fluff you'd see in a normal publication. This is just everything you need to know to get up and running on your first cryptocurrency mining rig.
What is cryptocurrency mining?
One of the main things about cryptocurrencies is that they are "decentralized". Sounds great, but WTF does that even mean? Well, the easiest way to explain it is...
You know how if you want to send your friend/family money digitally, you can do so through your bank. Your bank likely takes a transaction fee and in a few days they will transfer the money. Since cryptocurrencies are decentralized, they don't have a bank or organization to fulfill the transfer of money. Instead, they outsource the computing power of their cryptocurrency network to miners (soon to be you). These miners are verifying transactions, securing the blockchain, and powering the cryptocurrency's specific network among other things. As an incentive, the miners collect transaction fees on the transactions that they verify and collect block rewards while new currency is still being introduced into the ecosystem.
What kind of rig should I build?
You can mine cryptocurrencies using your CPU, GPU, FPGA, or ASIC, but this is a GPU Mining subreddit, so I will cater this to GPUs.
For building a great all-around GPU rig, there are two models of GPUs that I'd recommend:
Both of these GPUs have solid hashrates across most mining algorithms and for a decent price! You should be able to find both of these kinds of GPUs used for around $200-$250 each, which is a great price if you know what happened during the last mining craze! ($200 GPUs were out of stock everywhere and people were reselling them for $600+ each)
There are also plenty of great AMD GPUs for mining, but I've worked mostly with Nvidia so that's why both of my recommendations are Nvidia and not AMD.
Other parts to your rig that you'll need are listed below. Most of these can be pieces of crap and are just needed to make the rig actually run, but the one spot you DON'T want to cheap out on is the power supply unit. A decent power supply unit will keep your home from burning down while also keeping your rigs up and running smoothly. Here are my recommendations:
- Motherboard - This Motherboard can hold up to 6 GPUs (considered a full rig) with the use of risers. It is decently priced and will fit nearly any mining rig upgrades that you make in the future.
- CPU - You really just need the most basic CPU you can find, it's not very essential to mining unless you're CPU mining, but even then... CPU mining isn't very profitable for how expensive CPUs can be.
- RAM - All you really need is about 4GB to keep this thing running. If you want more, go for it, but it's not neccessary in most cases.
- Power Switch - Doesn't need to be fancy, just needs to turn the thing on and off
- PowerSupply - Don't cheap out here! Pay for a quality PSU and save yourself the headache and be safe with a solid PSU. Get a GOLD quality PSU at a MINIMUM! Platinum is good too, but probably unnecessary. The linked 1300w PSU will support most 6 GPU rigs, if you're going for higher tier GPUs like a 1080ti and above or if you're having more than 6 GPUs on a single rig then you'll need something stronger.
- GPU Risers - I use this kind. They work and they're not shitty. They do require 6pin for power. Use a Molex converter if needed, but going 6pin directly from your PSU is best. Your 8+6pin will probably be a little bit short, so you'll need some 6pin extenders. EVGA will sell them you for a few bucks each, but you have to call as they're not listed on the site. DON'T YOU DARE THINK OF USING A SATA CONNECTION UNLESS YOU WANT YOUR ENTIRE MINING OPERATION TO BURN DOWN AND TAKE EVERYTHING ELSE WITH IT! SATA IS NOT RATED FOR THE POWER THAT YOU NEED!!!!
- Kilowatt Meter - So that you can monitor your power consumption from the wall (much more accurate than trying to calculate each piece of hardware individually). Also helps when overclocking for a higher efficiency.
- 120GB Solid State Drive - SSDs are pretty damn cheap now. Just get it instead of your prehistoric HDD. Also, make sure you get AT LEAST 120GB! Many of the popular cryptocurrencies like BEAM and GRIN will demand quite a bit of virtual memory, so you'll need the extra space on your SSD to compensate for that.
- Something to put your rig on - This one seems to be popular, but pretty much anything will do. I literally used a shoe rack and zip ties. You just need something that will give the GPUs airflow to breathe and keep the rig organized as a whole.
- Windows 10/Linux Operating System - Pretty self explanatory here. Don't go with any of the MAC OS or Apple Products. They're extremely over priced and nearly useless in the mining world.
She's built, now what?
Now you need to do a few things. I am a Windows miner, so I will be speaking to Windows here:
- Update Windows - Do all of the updates. Just do it.
- Update Drivers - Go to the EVGA website and download GeForce experience. It will keep your GPU drivers up to date.
- Go to Windows Device Manager and make sure all of your GPUs show up under "Display Adapters". If it is there, but it isn't showing the Name/Model of the GPU as the name, right click it and select "Update Driver". This should fix it.
Assuming you've done all of this, you're ready to download a mining application.
There are tons to choose from! Claymore, Phoenix, EWBF, LolMiner, etc... It can be overwhelming pretty quickly since they all have different algorithm support, speeds, efficiencies, and a whole lot more. On top of that, in order to get them running you need to set up batch files to call the proper exe, point you to the correct pool, and a whole bunch of other stuff that can be confusing to a new user. Not to mention, you will probably need a separate miner, config file, batch file, etc. for each different algorithm that you're interested in mining on.
Instead, I recommend that you download a miner management software that will take care of most of this tedious work for you. There are a few in the sidebar, but the /GPUMining
favorite is AIOMiner
. It was developed by our very own community member, xixspiderxix
with the intention of making mining as easy as possible to do and without any fees. It supports over 100 different algorithms, so you'll be able to mine nearly ANY cryptocurrency you'd like. Just download it from their website and it will take you through a quick tutorial to help you get set up! You can also connect your rig to their website for remote monitoring and control. You've probably seen a few of their posts around this subreddit.
Other Windows mining softwares include:
Note: Many mining softwares have fees built into them. Most are around 1%, but can go as high as 5% or greater! You want a mining software with little or no fees at all so that you get to keep as much cryptocurrency as possible. These fees aren't something you actively pay, the software will automatically take it by mining on the developers behalf for a given amount of time and then switching back to mining on your own behalf. So, please be diligent in the software that you evaluate and make sure it is reputable.
- many more you can find from google searching
I keep hearing about NiceHash. What is that?
The asshole of the mining industry. Jk, but not really.
NiceHash is a software program that allows you to sell your rig's hashing power to someone on their marketplace. They market themselves as profitable mining, but you're not really mining. You're selling your power in exchange for Bitcoin.
They did a great job telling people that with them, you're always mining the most profitable coin, but that's just not true. Since it is a mining marketplace, they make you mine whatever their most expensive contract is. If their contracts are below market prices, then you're not operating as efficiently and profitably as you could be.
NiceHash also has a sketchy history, which continues to this day. In 2017, they were hacked and lost $65M worth of Bitcoin. No one got paid out for MONTHS and many of their executives conveniently resigned. Their platform is also used to destroy cryptocurrencies. Since people are able to purchase mining power on their platform, people have used their platform to purchase enough mining power to control individual cryptocurrencies and duplicate coins, which increased the malicious user's wealth while completely destroying the integrity of the coin's blockchain. HoriZEN (formerly ZenCash), Ethereum Classic, and many other great cryptocurrencies have been the victim of NiceHash's platform.
For this and many other reasons, we highly recommend that you stay AWAY from Nicehash. We understand that it is extremely easy to use and you get paid in bitcoin, but they are destroying the industry with their greed and lack of motivation to change their platform for the protection of cryptocurrencies.
This is pretty much everything you need to know to get started. We covered the hardware, setting up the software, which software to use, and AIOMiner's
tutorial will get you up to speed on how to actually mine the cryptocurrency that you want better than I can explain it, so I'll leave that part to them.
If you have any questions on this crash course, please leave a comment below where myself and other community members will be able to help you out.
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