Budget Litecoin Mining Rig – Under $1k

You might have read our previous article, detailing how to build a 4 GPU Litecoin mining rig, but maybe you don’t want to invest that much money in a rig just yet. No worries! In today’s post, I’ll show you how you can assemble your own 1,350+Kh/s Litecoin mining rig for under $1,000.  As of the date this guide was updated (2/20/2014), a 3 GPU Litecoin mining rig like this, can generate over $150 USD worth of Litecoins or $230 USD worth of Dogecoin per month. Click here, for a pre-configured Litecoin mining calculator or here for a Dogecoin mining calculator. You’ll just have to enter your local power company rate to calculate your net profits. As you can see, using the best scrypt mining hardware currently available on the market, we can build a fairly low risk investment in the future of crypto-currency. Let’s get started!

Mining Hardware List

Essentially, a Litecoin mining rig is a custom-built PC with parts chosen for maximum hash rates (determines how fast you can mine) and minimal overall cost. Here are the parts you’ll need to build this budget sub-$1,000 rig.

  • Power Supply – $140  –  Corsair 850 Watt Gold Rated PSU.
  • Motherboard – $95 – ASUS M5A97. This motherboard has two of the 16x PCI-e slots  and two of the 1x PCI-e slots. All four slots can be used for mining GPU’s.  If it is out of stock, this one or this one are good alternatives.budget-litecoin-bitcoin-mining-rig
  • GPUs – $600 (3x $200)  –  AMD Radeon R9 270 –  If the R9 270 is out of stock, the R9 270x costs just a bit more for slightly more hashing power and will still work with everything else in this setup. For specific configuration details be sure to read this litecoin mining hardware comparison.
  • Powered Risers – $30 (3x $10) Use 1x to 16x powered risers suspended above the motherboard with proper spacing for cooling the cards. You can get away with non-powered risers for rigs with up to 3 GPU’s, but I usually recommend going with powered risers if the price is similar as it reduces the strain on your motherboard.
  • CPU – $35 – AMD Sempron 145 Processor Since CPU specs have no effect on mining efficiency, we’ve chosen the cheapest option here.
  • RAM  – $40  – 4GB Kingston DDR3 RAM
  • Hard Drive –  $40  –  32GB Solid State Drive or boot BAMT from a fast USB thumb drive)
  • Case – $6 – Plastic Milk Crate (you might be able to pick one of these up at your local office supply store for less)
  • Power Switch  –  $6  – A basic Motherboard Power Switch does the trick, making it easier to start up your mining rig.
  • Extra Cooling  –  $30  –  Box Fan (good supplemental cooling for a mining rig, as it pushes all that hot air away from the cards)
  • Operating System  –  $0-$90  –  Windows 7 is my preference, but if you’re familiar with Linux you can of course download it for free (some folks consider Linux to be the best OS for litecoin mining, since it keeps your overall costs down, improving your litecoin mining ROI or return-on-investment). If you will be loading the operating system from a CD or DVD, a $29 external USB powered DVD drive will come in handy.
  • Monitor, Mouse and Keyboard (to install the OS and configure the mining software, no need to buy more than one set since you only use this for setup)

Total Cost: ~$980 minus the extra cooling and optional operating system costs.


Putting it all Together – Assembling your Budget Litecoin Mining Rig

  1. Un-package everything (be sure to keep original packaging for future re-sale or warranty work)
  2. Install the Sempron 145 CPU and RAM on the motherboard (the processor comes with a good heatsink and fan assembly; it’s a question I am often asked).
  3. Plug in the hard drive or optionally a USB thumb drive.
  4. Insert the graphics cards in the 16x PCI-e slots on the risers and plug the risers into the motherboard.
  5. Plug in all power supply connections
  6. Place motherboard in plastic milk crate.
  7. Connect mouse/monitor/keyboard and an internet connection (You can use a USB WiFi adapter, however in my experience, a hard wired ethernet cable connection to your modem/router will have fewer ‘stale shares’ when mining Litecoin).
  8. Check all connections once more
  9. Start up your rig! Install the operating system, latest graphics card drivers, and  mining software. Make sure the fans are doing their job. Start the mining software, tweak for maximum hash rates and mine some Litecoin!


A word on Bitcoin mining:
Several people come to this site every day, looking for directions to build a Bitcoin mining rig. Unfortunately, GPU-based Bitcoin mining rigs are no longer profitable, due to the introduction of ASIC miners. You could buy an ASIC, but to be honest, you won’t make much due to the intense competition in that market. I’d recommend just buying the coin outright through Coinbase (as I do, using dollar cost averaging).Sign up through that link, and they’ll reward you with $5 worth of Bitcoin to get you started as a way of saying thanks for buying your first coin through them!


55 thoughts on “Budget Litecoin Mining Rig – Under $1k

  1. Matt

    I really want to build one of these rigs and get my feet wet. Do people generally join a mining pool or simply solo mine these coins? Which way would be more profitable?

  2. Tom

    How many cards can I add eventually? Lets say I start with 3, how many can I add more?

    And what limits this? Do I need better motherboard to attach more cards? If yes, which one should I get to attach the maximum number of cards.

      1. Mattie

        Good machine, built to spec above. Power supply is the limiting factor on adding 4th gpu. Prices were a little more closer to $1200. Am able to mine 4000+ DOGE a day after getting it configured, two environment variables are essential with cgminer… Handles multi pool nicely, jury is out on which strategy is best with pplns pools.

  3. Amrit

    Thanks for such an awesome post Josh. I bought all these exact parts, and I’m putting them together. I’ve been having really struggling with it over the past 4 days. Do you have a photo of this rig setup?

    Either I have a faulty motherboard because only 1 of the 4 PCIe slots showing me any signs of life, or I’m doing something stupid… because when I connect a GPU to that 1 PCIe slot, then the fan of the GPU spins, but I get no output on the monitor.

    Has anyone else had this problem?

    Thanks Josh and other commenters here.

    1. Amrit

      Thanks for the reply dude. I don’t have the UD3H mother board. I have the ASUS M5A97.

      I’m getting no output from the GPU at all.

      Looking forward to your reply.

    2. Josh Post author

      Hi Amrit, I would try swapping the GPU to ensure it isn’t the GPU at fault. Also, try re-setting your BIOS to default. If neither of those solutions work, you may need to short the presence pin as shown in this guide: http://www.gobitgo.com/articles/1001/How-To-Correctly-Use-and-Install-PCI-E-Riser-Cables/

      Also, feel free to ask this support question over on the GPU mining subreddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/gpumining. I’m on there fairly often as well as thousands of fellow miners that may have run across the same issue and can help you troubleshoot.

  4. Andy

    Do you know how much power a 270 draws? I’ve been seeing different numbers online and wanted to be sure. Ideally I’d like to run 4 of them on the 850.

  5. D

    First off, thank you. Your website has been a big help and I appreciate the time and effort you put forth in creating it.

    Now, I’ve followed your hardware guide to building a budget mining rig to the letter. Current setup is as follows.

    Corsair 850 Watt Gold Rated PSU
    ASUS M5A97 motherboard
    (3) – AMD Radeon R9 270
    AMD Sempron 145 Processor
    4GB Kingston DDR3 RAM
    Windows 7 64 bit
    cgminer 3.72
    Catalyst Software Suit 13.12 (latest drivers)
    v2.7 of the Catalyst App SDK

    I’m using 1x to 16x risers, and getting a hashrate of around 450 each on 2 cards but the third I can only get 65. From what I’ve read, it seems like the card isn’t getting enough power. I know it isn’t the card itself or the slot, because I’ve swapped them into different slots and no matter what, the third card ends up being 65.

    Is it possible that the 850w PS isn’t enough for (3) R9 270’s?

    1. Josh Post author

      It is unlikely to be the PSU. I would try re-installing the driver in device manager. I had this happen once on a 4 GPU rig, and re-installing the card fixed this issue.

  6. Andy


    Thankyou for your very informative article.

    A question : is mining with a pool the best option and will it return the figures you suggest above?

    Is mining solo a bad option with a start-up and low GPU collective speed, ie many rigs together?


    1. Josh Post author

      If you are mining any of the popular alt-currencies, mining with a pool is advisable. You would need a mining farm with a lot of rigs to have a chance at solo mining.

  7. Michael

    I just bought this but am only starting out with one R9 280x. Do I still need a riser with the ASUS M5A97, or can I just plug it straight in? I haven’t bought risers yet and want to get started ASAP.

  8. Ziko

    Hi! I’ve got a Asus P5B motherboard. I am very new to this, and am wondering wether it could be used to make a 4 rig with the he 7950? I also just have a 500W power supply, so I probably would need an additional one? Thanks in advance:)

    1. Josh Post author

      The ASUS P5B motherboard has three PCIE 1x and one PCIE 16x slots. This means you could run a maximum of 4 GPU’s on 1x to 16x powered risers. If you want to run four 7950’s, I would recommend adding a 750 watt gold rated PSU to your existing 500 watt unit with an add2psu adapter. Run the board and 2 cards off the 750 watt PSU and run the remaining 2 cards off the 500 watt PSU.

    1. Josh Post author

      Fan noise is pretty loud. Most people put these rigs in their basement, garage or other non-lived-in space due to noise.


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