GPU Crypto Mining
A couple months ago, a friend asked me to build a GPU crypto mining computer. As I was already mining Bitcoin, I wanted to gain some GPU mining experience as well.
GPU mining computers are much more flexible than ASIC miners when it comes to the variety of crypto which can be mined.
In March 2021, a friend of mine invested $1700 and I purchased various parts to build the mining rig. I settled on mining Ethereum, as it was the most profitable cryptocurrency to mine at the time.
Ethereum is a proof of work crypto blockchain and coin which introduced smart contracts and the ability to run decentralized applications on the blockchain.
Smart contracts are computer programs designed to carry out various functions including legal contracts and agreements, reducing the need for trusted intermediaries.
For example: Say I write a song with another music artist and we agree to split future royalties 50/50. We could write a smart contract to handle all future royalty payments. As the royalties are paid to the smart contract, the computer program would automatically handle splitting the payment to each party.
Decentralized applications, also known as DApps are applications that run on the blockchain. The application is distributed across the decentralized network making it more secure and resilient.
For example: Google is a centralized search engine application which is controlled by a single corporation. PreSearch is a decentralized search engine running on a network of distributed nodes. This decentralized and distributed network is governed by all PRE token holders. In other words the control rests with the PreSearch community who have a financial stake in the network.
Now that we understand the basics about smart contracts and decentralized apps, let’s dig in to the world of GPU crypto mining.
The first thing I learned when researching GPU mining was the massive shortage of GPU’s in the market. Prices for GPU’s were inflated 2-3x higher than the original market price. This was also true even for the lower end models.
It was crazy. I went to a local computer store and witnessed a group of people lined up waiting for the store to open. As the doors opened, they rushed inside and the first people were able to get their hands on a limited stock of GPU’s that the store had received that day. More than half of the group did not receive a GPU as they had fewer than 10 in stock.
With the current rise of crypto and blockchain popularity, the demand for GPU’s has surpassed the available supply.
The potential mining profit for each GPU varied. But if you were able to get your hands on a decent model, one could earn anywhere from $1-30+ dollars per day in mining rewards. This all depends on which coins you mine and the current market price. Some of the more advanced GPU mining computers can run 6+ GPUs simultaneously.
The potential for making serious profit was apparent.
I was able to order and build a starter rig using one NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GPU. I actually purchased a second GPU but it was falsely advertised with 6GB of memory when it actually had 3GB.
After building and testing the rig, the 3GB GPU did not have enough processing power to mine Ethereum. The 6GB GPU model was able to earn a small amount of Ethereum after running it for a week to test its operational functionality.
Assembled rig, awaiting the power supply and second GPU to arrive.
The red and black GPU pictured above is the Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB model. Reminder, this specific 3GB model does not meet the minimum requirements to mine Ethereum. I purchased this open air rack case with extra space to potentially add more GPU’s in the future.
We are up and running!
This was the final version of the Ethereum GPU mining rig before I handed it over to my friend. I’ve included the parts list if you are interested in the specific components or pricing.
One thing to note here, I had to install a power switch from a spare machine to turn it on and off. There was no power switch included in the case or with the motherboard. If you were to build a mining rig using a normal computer case, the power switch would typically be preinstalled into the case.
List of Components
BIOSTAR TB250-BTC – I purchased this used from eBay with a CPU and RAM included. – $280.00 (Used)
Tigo 32 GB SSD Hard Drive (16GB model pictured above) – $46.46 (Used)
I already had this hard drive on hand, it is not included in the price list below.
Corsair HX1000i – $463.54 (New)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB – $318.00 (Used)
Gigabyte GeForce GTX Mini 1060 6GB (Actually 3GB) – $357.30 (Used)
GPU Riser Accessories:
FebSmart PCI-E Risers 6 PIN Powered PCIE Extension Cable GPU Riser (x6) – $88.15 (New)
6 GPU Open Air Mining Case Rig Aluminum Stackable Frame Miner Rack – US $138.60 (New)
I shopped around quite a bit to get these prices. I could have easily paid much more to save time. Some parts were used, others were new as noted.
From my research and shopping, I gathered that most low end GPUs were selling for $400-600 at a minimum. These prices were inflated one and a half to two times the original value of the GPU.
If you were to purchase a mid grade or upper tier GPU, expect to pay at least 2-3 times more.
Once all the parts were assembled, I installed the latest version of Ubuntu Linux using a bootable flash drive. After installing the operating system, I tested two different crypto mining software applications. I settled with phoenix-miner as I was able to run it straight from the command line.
The image below is an example of what phoenix-miner looks like. This image is not from the rig I built.
phoenix-miner running from the Linux command line
During the configuration process and continued research, I decided to connect the GPU mining rig to Nanopool. The fees were lower than some of the other bigger Ethereum mining pools.
It took the better part of a day building and tinkering to fully configure the Ubuntu Linux box to operate as an Ethereum miner. I don’t have actual screenshots of this process because I don’t have access to this rig anymore.
My two cents from this specific experience:
Plan for at least 6-12 hours to build and configure a Linux Ethereum miner once you have acquired all the components.
If you are not comfortable with Linux or using the command line, I do not recommend attempting to build an Ethereum mining rig with a similar configuration.
I ran this GPU mining rig for a week and it earned about $20 in Ethereum. This revenue doesn’t include the electricity cost. I had a blast building configuring the GPU mining rig. It was pretty cool to monitor it while it earned crypto. All that being said, I learned a great deal.
Original Post – https://www.konjotech.com/2021/06/29/gpu-crypto-mining/
Ethereum – https://ethereum.org/
PreSearch – https://presearch.org
Ubuntu Linux – https://ubuntu.com
Nanopool – https://nanopool.org
phoenix-miner – https://github.com/nanopool/phoenix-miner/releases
phoenix-miner command line image – https://phoenixminer.org/documentation/Introduction/
Crypto mining is also not investment advice, financial advice, or trading advice. Please conduct your own due diligence and research before making any investments. This article is covers one specific crypto mining example. It is not a comprehensive list or specific purchasing advice for any specific miner, company, manufacturer, or component. If you choose to invest in crypto mining equipment, please conduct your own thorough research to determine the best crypto mining solutions in order to meet your specific requirements. Please understand the risks involved before investing in crypto mining.
Crypto mining is not easy. If you think you can just plug in a machine, leave it running, and get rich quick, you are mistaken. Mining requires daily discipline, planning power requirements, regular temperature checks, noise considerations, managing heat output, tweaking to ensure optimal performance, maintenance of computer hardware, and technical knowledge for initial setup and mining pool configuration.