Continuing our CryptoCurrency Starter Series, today with Part 2, we select the hardware components for our mining PC. Join us as we start to build our mining PC.
Solid State Drive
Graphics Card / GPU
At the heart of our mining system will be our Motherboard. We will be using the MSI H310 F Pro mining motherboard.
This board has a number of features that make it a perfect choice, including:
13 PCIe slots, making it capable of hosting up to 13 GPUs
Dedicated on-board power distribution, making cabling and power management much easier
Dedicated on-board status lights and LEDs, enabling faster diagnosis of faults and outages
PowerSync connectors, enabling multiple power supplies to be used in tandem
This motherboard is currently available for $160-$199.
The processor will be driving the motherboard, and we'll be selecting the eighth-generation Intel Core i3 8100 for duty in this build. It's a capable processor, at a good value price, and isn't overkill for a mining system.
This processor is currently available for $209.
We don't need any fancy RGB gaming RAM for a mining PC. We're going to select good value RAM in a quantity to enable Windows 10 to run at a reasonable pace, and have enough capacity to support us into the future as we add more GPUs to our mining machine. If you're on a tight budget, you could start with 4 GB of RAM; but we recommend all new PCs start with 8 GB of RAM.
We'll be using the good quality Kingston DDR4-2400MHz RAM for our mining build. The motherboard has two RAM slots, and can support up to 32 GB of RAM. If you're starting on a budget, you can buy 4 GB of RAM, but we highly recommend starting with 8 GB.
4 GB of the Kingston DDR4-2400 RAM is available for $55.
If you're starting with 8GB, you could buy two 4 GB sticks (2 x $55 = $110), or you could buy one 8 GB stick with prices varying between $90 and $130.
Solid State Drive:
While you could use a standard hard drive instead of a solid state drive, you'll find everything will perform better and faster with a modern solid state drive. We recommend keeping Windows happy, and with the price of SSDs currently dropping, some of the cheaper SSDs are more affordable than the HDD options.
Looking at our motherboard, there's no M.2 socket because we have used up all our board space with the 13 PCIe ports for the GPUs. As there's no M.2 socket, we'll need to use one of the on-board SATA ports to connect our SSD.
Limiting our choice of SSD to those of the SATA variety, we'll be selecting the currently-available and very affordable Kingston AS400SSD-120, giving us 120GB of storage for Windows and other software for just $35.
Unless you're running your rig on ferret-power, you'll be using electricity. We always recommend electricity.
Remembering that we're starting our mining PC with two GPUs, we need to be able to power those two GPUs, as well as the motherboard, SSD, and other accessories.
As we grow our mining PC with additional GPUs, we can add more power supplies, because our choice of the MSI motherboard allows us to integrate up to five power supplies.
We'll be needing a power supply capable of powering an ATX board, and at least two GPUs.
We'll also be recommending that you choose a fully-modular power supply, to make cable management easier when we have more and more GPUs connected to power, later in the build.
To get started, we'll be selecting the SilverStone ST60F-PB 600W Bronze Modular power supply, currently available for $99. It's efficient, affordable, powerful enough for our use case, and rated for Bronze power efficiency.
You have a couple of choices here.
If your mining PC is going to have one, two, or up to four GPUs, then you can select a standard ATX mid-tower case.
If your mining PC is going to grow up into a beast, with the maximum 13 GPUs supported by this motherboard, then you'll either want more than one case, or an open case.
Small Build Case:
If you're having one, two, three, or four GPUs maximum in your miner, then you can select an ATX mid-tower or ATX full-tower case.
One or two GPUs: SilverStone RedLine RL06 mid-tower ATX case for $99; or
Three to four GPUs: SilverStone TJ04B-EW tower ATX case for $175.
The TJ case isn't pretty, but it has the 8 expansion slots we need to host 4 double-slot GPUs.
If you've got a little more money to spend, we recommend:
Three to four GPUs: SilverStone Mammoth MM01 full tower ATX case at $479.
If you're looking at using more than four GPUs, then you'll either want to use more than one case, linked by cables, or use an open case.
If you're using multiple cases, you can buy more than one case of those mentioned above.
Alternatively, you can choose an open case from the next section.
Large Build Case:
if you're using more than four GPUs, then you're going to need either more than one case from the Small Build list above, linked by cables, or you're going to need an open case.
Our choice for the open case option is the:
Two or more of the stackable ThermalTake Core X9 EATX Cubes at $225 each or
One or Two of the ThermalTake "The Tower 900" cases at $320 each or
One or Two of the Praxis Testbench / WetBench open cases at US$184 / AU$220. These can be imported via Amazon.com.au for around AU$200-$230.
If you're going for more of a DIY aesthetic, or if you're looking for a cheaper case, you can go budget with one of the self-build mining rig cases, but we don't recommend them, as they tend to make cabling an absolute nightmare, and not electrically-safe for home use in Australia.
Components used in this Step:
Motherboard: MSI H310-F Pro mining motherboard
Processor: Intel Core i3-8100
Solid State Drive: Kingston AS400SSD-120 (120GB drive)
Power Supply: SilverStone ST60F-PB 600W Bronze Modular power supply
One to Four GPUs:
SilverStone RedLine RL06 mid-tower ATX case for $99; or
SilverStone TJ04B-EW tower ATX case for $175; or
SilverStone Mammoth MM01 full tower ATX case at $479; or
Five or More GPUs:
Two or more of the stackable ThermalTake Core X9 EATX Cubes at $225 each; or
One or Two of the ThermalTake "The Tower 900" cases at $320 each; or
One or Two of the Praxis Testbench / WetBench open cases at US$184 / AU$220
Graphics Card / GPU:
We've decided to move the Graphics Card section to its own article located here.
In our next article, we'll be assembling the components we bought in this series.
After that, we'll be talking about installing Windows, and the recommended mining software to run your mining PC.
Until next time,
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