Today I present the second part in a 5 part series on how to build and run a Crypto Coin Mining Rig, with this you can mine any SCRYPT based currency such as Litecoin, Dogecoin, RonPaul Coin, etc.
If you haven’t read the First Post in this Series, What to Buy, Start there.
I used a milk crate for the “case” of the computer *(If you want to see the PVC version I also built It is at the end of the post) , this offers a very cheap option for the case as you can pick them up for around $6 on Amazon or you can just keep your eye out on craigslist or garage sales, I was able to pick up a few for free from a neighbor. The milk crate also offers a very open area for cooling as you will need this since the GPU’s (Graphic Processing Units) will get VERY HOT and need a lot of cooling. You will not want to use a classic closed case like most computers have, since they will overheat and shut down (or if you are not careful burn up). You can also make your own out of steel/aluminum frame or even wood if you so choose, however a milk crate works great and is cheap.
NOTE: With a standard Milk crate size, 6 GPU (even 5) was sort of pushing it space wise (4 is fine!). So if you are planning on building a 6 GPU at any point, I would possibly look into getting a 24qt Milk crate, which are more expensive. You could also just put a metal bracer on the lip as I did and cut the sides out so you can add one or two more GPU’s.
I ended up cutting sections out of my milk crate to allow easier access to the USB and other plug ins on the Motherboard and Graphics cards as well as allow for better cooling of the GPU’s.
I cut a section out so that the power cords to the Motherboard and CPU were not in the way of the GPU’s and ziptied them to the frame so they would not come loose.
Pull the Motherboard out and set it in the milk crate whichever way it fits best, The layout for my Motherboard is above and you can see where the PCI slot for the GPU’s are, and you can see where the GPU will rest on the crate.
I also noticed that the GPU’s were heavy and pulling the side in so I bought a metal frame used for shelving for $2.44, cut and screwed it into that side and then drilled holes to put the GPUS in.
This is skipping ahead a bit, but put in the PCI riser on the GPU
On the frame of the GPU it should be pretty easy to figure out what is the attachment frame part ( SEE PHOTO ABOVE), L shaped and metal vs….nothing. Put this on the lip of the Crate.
Holding your GPU with one hand use the other to connect the other end of the Riser (small end) to the Motherboard, the First PCI slot that is closets to the CPU. As seen in the photo below.
Now move the GPU as far over as you can, you don’t want it tight tight, but so there is the tiniest bit of slack in there, don’t want it to pull out of the Motherboard if its moved at all.
Then mark on the metal where that hole is
I then keep that first GPU where it is and put a second one next to it a few inches away, then remove the first one and mark where the second hole should go, then hold the second one, pull the first GPU you just removed and place it a few inches away where the 3rd will go and continue on until you have marked where all the GPU’s will be.
Now you may have to redo these if you get to the end and notice you have 6 inches of space left over, it’s a bit of trial and error and depends on if you are running, 3,4 or 6 GPU’s. Since I am running 5 currently I only had room for a few inches between them, if you are only going with two or three or even four you will have more space between them, so you can figure that out on you own.
Then pre drill the metal holes with a small drill and then with the large bit (whatever size is needed for the screw). Some have used nails, I did at first it makes it easier to remove, however screws hold them in better.
This should go without saying, but after you get those holes marked DO NOT HAVE THE MOTHERBOARD IN THE BOTTOM WHEN YOU ARE DRILLING HOLES, CUTTING PLASTIC, ETC. You don’t want all that debris to fall on the motherboard and possibly stay in there and cause a short, or worse, your drill slips and now you have a nice gouge in the board, more than likely rendering it useless. After making the marks, pull it out and set it on the Static Bag it came in.
Now the GPU’s even with the screw may sag, so I installed a bracket about ¾ way down the GPU to hold it up, make sure it isn’t interfering with anything and hold one in (if they are all the same) to wee where to screw in your bracket. Now with a metal lip and screw you shouldn’t really need it, but I like to go overkill and it makes it easier to move them around slightly to make uniform air circulation between cards, I used some old plant pot holders for this
Once I got the right distance I screwed in both of them to get the holds in there, then I removed them since the Motherboard can’t be put in or pulled out with them installed. Now your GPU’s can rest on this.
I put down paper bowls to stand the Motherboard up on since the PCI Riser Cables would not stretch far enough if the motherboard was sitting on the bottom of the milkcrate. This also allows for more circulation below the motherboard, however you can buy the 12 inch risers if you so choose to, I have 6 inch, but the 12 inch will allow even more airflow between the motherboard and GPU’s. This is a better option if you are building a custom case from metal frame, wood, etc. as it will help with cooling. I may do this in the future but at the moment the Milkcrate works fine.
Grounding and its necessity depends on who you talk to, some say its ABSOLUTELY necessary, some say they have never done it except in special circumstances. I erred on the side of caution and built my own grounding cord.
I first got an anti-static wristband (you can pick up for around $6) and then I grabbed some spare CATV Cable from the garage. You can use cord that has copper line in it as long as it is long enough to reach from where you ground it to where you are working (obviously, but check first!). I then stripped one end about 6 inches to the copper and one end about an inch or two. BE CAREFUL WHEN STRIPPING THAT YOU DON’T CUT THE COPPER IN HALF!
I then wrapped the 6 inch piece of copper around the metal on the cold water pipe under the sink and the other end was clamped with my anti-static wristbands alligator clamp. Now you can also cut down on static electricity by not wearing socks on carpet; as you know rubbing your socks on carpet will build up a charge, so don’t do it if it’s possible. The amount of static electricity needed to fry the circuits on a computer is so small you wont even know you did it. Chances are you will be fine without this, but why take the chance?
The Motherboard should be sitting on the Static Bag you laid it on after getting the GPU spacing from earlier.
You don’t have to do the hardware installation on the Motherboard in any particular order as it all has to be done before you turn it on.
Consult the manual that came with the Motherboard and/or Internet to see the Layout of the Motherboard and what is labeled what so you are putting your components in the right place
I first installed the CPU (Central Processing Unit), this is the brains of the computer, what INTEL sells, etc.
I used a Intel Celeron 2.6mhz Processor, which is not powerful, but a miner doesn’t need a fast one, as all the work is done in the GPU’s.
Take the Processor out of the package, being careful not to touch the underside of the Processor, which you can see is different from the topside which is smooth.
On my Motherboard there was a latch that you had to pull out and up to open, with a plastic case that was removed BEFORE YOU CLAMPED DOWN THE CPU.
Once that was flipped up I placed the CPU, flat/shiny side up lining up the indents on the CPU with the indents on the Motherboard.
Then I clamped it down, its ok if it seems to need a little force, as long as its right side down and lined up with the indents, this is normal.
Then I installed the CPU Fan, which contains 4 little posts that are pushed down in the corresponding holes around the CPU.
There is a cord that runs around this and goes to the CPU fan plug on the motherboard, make sure that this cord can reach it no problem, and then press down on the posts until you hear a click then turn them in the direction of the arrows that you see on the posts.
You now have installed the CPU
There is only need for one RAM (4gb for Windows ) so all you need to do is find one of the Slots for RAM and press it in until you hear it click.
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NOW YOU CAN PLACE THE MOTHERBOARD ON THE BOWLS ON THE BOTTOM OF THE MILKCRATE.
YOU SHOULD HAVE ALL HOLES DRILLED AND EVERYTHING CUT OUT.
IF FOR SOME REASON YOU CONTINUE ON THE INSTALLATION AND FIND THAT YOU NEED TO CUT MORE OUT AFTER EVERYTHING IS IN…PULL IT OUT THEN MAKE THE CUTS AND THEN PUT IT BACK IN.
It sucks but don’t mess around with damaging/destroying thousands of dollars of equipment to save you 5 minutes. Be patient.
This is your Power Supply Unit, I used a LEPA 1600w (because I will be creating a 6 GPU system eventually, the models I listed in Chapter 1 for a 4 GPU system will work fine), you will also want to consult the “layout” of what goes where, however It should be labeled.
DO NOT PLUG IN THE PSU AC CORD INTO THE WALL YET!
Leave it unplugged until you are ready to turn it on, you can FRY your system or components by having it on and plugging /unplugging it.
My PSU had these two slots to power the CPU and Motherboard, you will plug those two ends into the cpu and then plug them into the corresponding slots on the Motherboard.
This should be labeled on the Motherboard in Shorthand, but consult the layout as well, but since there are only two slots on the Motherboard (most likely) that can take these two plugs and they are different sizes it should be pretty intuitive and easy to guess what goes where!
These cords may not “click”, but you can tell when they are in, then pull them throw the slot you cut for them and zip tie them in so they are not in the way of the GPU’s (place a couple GPU’s where they would go and make sure that they don’t rest on the power cords, you will want the power cords to have some give in them so they are not being tugged on and pull out of the Motherboard and shut the whole system down, but not looping so high they hit the GPU. The rubbing of the GPU can end up rubbing through (after along time) into the power cord. A bad day.
SSD (Single State Drive)
I used a 32 gb SSD (Solid State Drive), this is easy to install.
Pull out the SATA cord and plug it in the SSD, this will be the 90 degree L side (cords may vary)
I just wanted to make sure the Straight plug went into the motherboard for ease of use and space saving. It doesn’t matter for function which side goes in where.
Then mount the SSD on your case using zip ties or it can lay on the desk, whatever is easiest for you.
Now plug in the SSD to the MOLEX power cord. The side for the drive will be any one of the multiple MOLEX 4 PIN on the PSU (See layout above). Then plug it into the PSU
Now you are almost ready to start up. Do not install the GPU’s yet, just leave them in their boxes, but you can plug in the GPU power cords to the PSU
The power cords will look like this
Plug the 12 pin connector into the PSU in the GPU Slots (Consult Layout and markings on your PSU, above is marked Red/orange). The orange end (6 pin + 2 pin, for my PSU, yours may vary) will plug into the GPU.
For the next Chapter you will need to have a DVD drive, I picked up a cheap one off Amazon for around $30 that plugs in to the USB, you won’t need it after the installation of windows. You will also need to have a spare monitor, keyboard and mouse.
Once you get everything done, these DO NOT need to be kept on the system unless you have them extra and just feel like keeping them on there. You can actually install remote desktop programs so you can control your miner from your laptop wherever you are at the moment.
I had a spare monitor, keyboard and mouse laying around, but you can use the ones from your desktop for this, don’t need to buy them.
Make sure your monitor has a DVI CABLE, the reason being is that your GPU cards have a DVI Female connector. If your monitor Does NOT and uses a VGA (smaller and blue), you can buy this…
VGA to DVI ADAPTOR, as this will be needed to plug into the motherboard first when installing software and later into the GPU’s.
If you don’t know what connector your monitor uses look at the pictures below
VGA cord (SMALL AND BLUE)
DVI CORD (LARGER AND WHITE)
Now Plug in your monitor to the DVI Slot (Shown above, your layout may vary) on the Motherboard, and plug in your Keyboard and MOUSE into the USB Slots on the Motherboard (if you are using a USB Wifi connector plug that in as well, However ETHERNET is better)
If you are using a hardwire Ethernet connection for your internet plug that in as well
You may also find that there are only a couple USB ports on your motherboard but you need more than that to plug everything in. You can purchase a USB HUB online for under $20 and this gives you multiple USB slots and only takes up one slot on the USB port on the Motherboard.
Stay Tuned and Friday I will Present the 3rd part of this 5 part series, Operating System and Software Installation.
* I Mentioned the PVC Case I built at the beginning of the post here it is*
I wont go into detail how I built it, just give you dimensions
You will need about 2 8′ long sections of 1/2″ PVC Pipe
Cute them into these dimensions
- 4- 2 foot sections (For Length)*Study Photo
- 4 6″ sections (For Height)
- 4- 2″ pieces (length from “T” ‘s a front, first level and back side for height second level)
- 2- 6 1/2″ pieces (to attach first level front to the back from the “T” ‘s)
You will also need
- 4 – “T’ joiners
- 8- 90 degree joiners
- PVC Glue
- Cardboard/Wood for bottom panel for Motherboard to Rest on
*Photo and plans courtesy of wilsafris.wordpress.com*
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