These are the parts you will need to have on hand to complete your build. We have included some recommendations and reasoning behind each. These recommendations are only that – recommendations. They are not written in stone.
1) A Mining chassis – aka open air mining ‘case’
First things first. Do not buy a regular case for you new mining monster. Do not buy the typical open air test-bed. You will want to either build or buy a dedicated mining chassis. We usually build our own from wood, but the Vehedda8 GPU mining case is a good choice. Terrible instructions, but a good case that will get the job done – and can be stacked for later expansion. These can be found on Amazon, at most PC enthusiast parts online stores, but we recommend Bleev.in. These are good people to deal with and their prices are very reasonable.
2) Two 850watt Power Supplies.
Do not buy one monster PSU. They are a waste of money. But two smaller 850s. They can be EVGA, Corsair, Seasonic. Etc. But they need to be from a reputable company. We like Seasonic Focus+ Gold and Platinum 850w power supplies – no need for Titanium. Which ever model you choose, we strongly recommend picking one model and sticking with it. You do not want to swap the PSU and use a different brand’s cables. Bad things can happen. Plan on buying only this model for all your builds in the future… as the extra cables from a ‘normal’ build will come in handy for future mining builds!
3) Dual PSU adapter cable.
These adapters allow one system to control two power supplies. They are cheap and worth their weight in gold. No need for ‘Add2PSU’ type adapters. Get the bog standard dual 24pin adapters. Thermaltake’s are good and cheap. Amazon Basics also work. Some will recommend even going cheaper and simply using a paper clip to make the second work, but we do not recommend this to novices. A dual header 24pin adapter will allow the second PSU to start up without you having to be there – which comes in handy after a power outage! Plus there is no risk of fire hazards. Be safe, spend the couple dollars.
4) 8 120mm fans. Fans are critical to a builds long term stability.
While the manufacture does not really matter we recommend looking at Fluid Dynamic Bearing based models. Ignore Sleeve Bearing. They wear out faster and are louder. A decent choice is Artic Cooling’s F12. At a couple bucks a pop they are reliable, cheap, and move enough air to get the job done without sounding like jet engines. No need for Noctua or uber-expensive fans. Budget in an extra fan (you will need 7 for the above chassis listed) so that if one does fail you can replace it ASAP. Cooling is critical. Do not skimp on spare parts.
5) 8 way fan hub.
Silverstone makes a very decent fan hub that allows you to power all those fans via a simple SATA cable. Buy it. Its worth its weight in saved cables… and ignore the Molex powered versions as you will have better use of those precious cables at some point in the future.
6) 1 – 6 (or even 8) Video Cards.
We recommend starting with NVIDA as they are easier to source, require less power and provide a good ROI. AMD are great choices as well but right now are harder to find. If the opposite is true – go AMD. It doesn’t really matter beyond sticking to one or the other as you just want to have to install either NV or AMD drivers. Doing both is not for the novice / first build. Instead of thinking in brands think of in cooling potential. Steer clear of Founder Edition / blower style models and go with robust 2 or 3 fan-based models. They run cooler and have generally have fewer heat related issues because of it.
Good options are GTX 1070 or above… but in a pinch 1060’s 6GB (not 3GB) are a decent choice. Just understand that processing density will become an issue later as you add more and more mining rigs. IE 2 1060s = 1 1080 (ish don’t take this as written in stone as each have different coins they work best at). We also recommend sticking with one type for your first build. You can mix and match 1060/1070/1080/ti’s but for your first build pick a model and stick with it for now. IE plan on buying say six 1070’s over X months. A good place to start, and are highly recommend is ASUS and their STRIX series, EVGA and their FTW3 series… and many others. These two companies in particular offer a good warranty, good cooling, good performance and do so at a (usually) reasonable price.
7) 8 or more PCIE risers PLUS necessary adapters.
You will want to budget in 1.3 times the number you will need. E.G. you are planning a 6 GPU rig have 8 on hand. Planning a 8 GPU rig? Have 11 on hand. They do fail. Most that fail…. fail right out of the box. Yes they are one of the largest migraine inducing part in a mining build… but they are worth it.
Do NOT use the 6-pin to SATA cable they usually come with. Throw them out. They are dangerous and should never be used. Instead plan on having either 7 Molex to 6-pin adapters, or seven 6-pin extension cables. These rarely fail, but having an extra is never a bad idea.
8) 1 Motherboard.
A good choice is the ASUS Z270-P it may not say ‘miner’ in its name but it is more than good enough for 6 GPU builds. IE Dedicated mining motherboards are a great choice for more advanced miners, but this is your first build. Six GPU’s is enough. If you so choose later it can actually support 8 video cards, but for a first build you do not want to complicate things with M.2 to PCIe adapters. Stick with using only the ‘actual’ PCIe slots.
9) 8-16GB of RAM.
This will be highly controversial as some recommend as little as 4GB but most issues we have run into was because of not enough RAM. The difference in price between 4GB and 8GB is NN and the difference in 8GB to 16GB is XX. This is not enough to concern you… as the cost of extra RAM is less than the cost of a larger Solid State Drive. With 16GB you can get away with a smaller SSD and not have it eat its NAND in short order. Plus if one stick (or a motherboard DIMM) dies you will still have 8GB of working RAM… not 4GB. Do not be penny wise but pound foolish. An excellent choice, and the one we highly recommend, is Ballistix Sport DDR4-2400 16GB (2×8) kit. There plug and play simplicity combined with a good heatsink and good RAM ICs make them perfect for your needs. With mining remember capacity trumps speed – as all DDR4 speeds is more than enough for mining.
As a tip, if you plan on building a second mining rig a 4 stick 32GB kit makes it even closer in price to 8GB per rig. Plan a head… and in a pinch will allow you to build and use four rigs from one kit. Thanks to Ballistix we have used a 32GB kit for these articles and would like to thank Ballistix for their support.
10) 500GB SSD.
No need for a 1TB SSD, but we would recommend against 250GB capacity versions. You can get away with 250GB’er but the MX500 500GB is bloody reasonable… and costs more like a last generation 240GB than the typical 500GB capacity model. It is our number one choice for a wide range of builds – including mining.
Just about any CPU will do. Since we are using an older Z270 motherboard, older i3 and Pentium’s for it are downright cheap these days. Contrary to common wisdom, we would not go much below the Pentium level. This recommendation is based on future proofing. Yes the various Intel U models are even cheaper, and have lower TDPs, but much like the RAM we much rather spend a few extra dollars for the CPU and have it last multiple GPU generations than have to source out a newer more powerful CPU later.
Basically, the amount of central processing power for mining is not that great but when going above 6 GPUS the U models can start actually start to bottleneck things on certain algorithms. In the future this bottleneck will only get worse when dealing with even more powerful GPUs. Remember the CPU is controlling the PCIe lanes and has to send the data to the video cards for the hashing magic to happen. So if you do decide to swap out the Z270-A for a true (B250) ‘mining’ motherboard later a decent CPU will easily handle 8+ cards. Thus, a cheap i3 may indeed be the better long term investment.
12) CPU cooler.
Yes, your Intel stock cooler will work… but they are not exactly great coolers. For the sake of 10 -15 dollars having a backup is not a bad plan. Thermaltake Gravity i2 and Artic Cooling Alpine Pro are both good to great choices (Alpine is the one we usually use) for peace of mind. Since they cool better, thanks to their larger heatsinks and 92mm fans, we recommend using one of these and keeping the stock Intel as your backup. Spare parts will be a reoccurring them in these articles.
13) Windows 10 OS.
Yes, you can use a custom flavored version of Linux… but for a first build Windows 10 is fine. Hypothetically speaking you do not even need to purchase it. Instead download and install it from Microsoft’s website and live with the ‘not authenticated’ label – as once you are up and running it still will work well beyond the trial period. Do not use Windows 7. Windows 10 has no problems with 8 GPUs. Get 10. Use it. Learn to (not loathe but) ‘love’ it.
14) We have dedicated an entire article to MultiPoolMiner application.
This is the application you will be using. It works great and is actively being developed – so it gets better every revision. Considering it is ‘free’ it’s a no-brainer.
15) Zip ties.
A bag of small and a bag of large (10 inches or bigger) will be one of your secret weapons. These things are worth their weight in gold. Consider them the miners equivalent of ducktape – the handyman’s helper of choice!
16) Keyboard, mouse, monitor…. various tech related tools (screwdriver, beer, aspirin… patience).
You should already have these parts as you already have built a custom system before.